Tag Archives: Robert Frost

#376: Poem on April 2, 2021

Happy 2nd of April, friends, and the second day of National Poetry Month. The sun is out. And after a full day of looking at a computer screen, teaching kids and grading their work from a distance, and spewing imaginary lectures to recalcitrant seniors in IB English, I had to take a break. I sat outside in the back yard holding what I would like to say was a cherished notebook but in reality was a stupid smart phone, and with today’s prompt from Napowrimo in my head, I began using voice-to-text to compose a poem. You can’t tell the microphone to make a line break–I mean, you can, but the phrase “make a line break” would be scattered all over your poem. So I ended up with a nice block of text that I could turn, and have turned, into lines–once I got back behind a computer screen. We must suffer, at least a little bit, for our art. Without further ado, here’s the NaPoWriMo prompt:

“In the world of well-known poems, maybe there’s no gem quite so hoary as Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken.” Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem about your own road not taken – about a choice of yours that has “made all the difference,” and what might have happened had you made a different choice.”

And here’s the poem:

Poem on April 2

I could have had a career managing a
7-Eleven. No kidding. I could have
lived out of a van and toured as a musician
all year round. Maybe, I could have
been a rock star.
I could have never married.
I could have waited to get married
until I was an adult,
or at least, more of one.
I could have become a father
before I was an adult,
or at least, less of one.
I could have chosen not to be a father.
One large swerving or even
a small tiny move along the way
and my son may never have been born
or some other kid may have been born
in his stead. Some accident, or some
significant nudge this way or that
might have changed
everything and I would never
have known the difference.
Two roads diverged in a wood.
I could have taken the road less traveled,
the rougher one, the rockier, the riskier one,
but in actual fact, it never occurred to me
that I was choosing between roads.
There seemed to be one road
and I was just going down that road.
Nietzsche said that free will is an error.
My choices, even the bad ones,
even the utterly stupid choices I have made,
everything I have done or did not do
brought me right here. And again,
Nietzsche might have said that
I could not have acted otherwise.
And, I’ll be damned, I think:
he would have been right, again.


Filed under Poetry

#62: Leaves


I love the trees but hate the leaves.
Each fall the oaks bury us several times over.
You see that big pile surrounded
by mostly green grass?
In a week there will be no green grass;
in a day, perhaps, if there’s a wind,
there will be no green grass
and the process will begin again
of raking and piling and moving the piles
onto a tarp and moving the tarp full of leaves
again and again and again
into another pile until the pile must be moved
into a trailer or a truck bed for hauling
where it once more must be scooped away,
and the whole time we’re hoping against hope
that it won’t rain, sogging up the works,
adding still more weight to this burden.
A bumper crop, you might say, every year.
The leaves have never failed us, not once,
and “a crop is a crop,” says Robert Frost,
“and who’s to say where the harvest will stop?”
I don’t care how great a poet he was,
if he were alive and in my yard and saying these things
I would just want to kick him in the shins.

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Filed under Literature, Poetry