Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken” hung on the wall of the house in which I grew up. Here it is, so that I can remember it as one of the influential details of my life.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergroth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Have a great Valentine’s Day. Keep it simple. That’s what I’m doing. And getting some work done on my paper. How romantic.
Without much to say, I’ll leave you with the following Robert Frost poem that asks you to set aside your love and experience the heartbreak of two lovers unfit for one another – a warm mature woman and a dashing, but fleeting man. What more is to be expected from winter wind?
Wind and Window Flower
Lovers, forget your love,
And list to the love of these,
She a window flower,
And he a winter breeze.
When the frosty window veil
Was melted down at noon,
And the caged yellow bird
Hung over her in tune,
He marked her through the pane,
He could not help but mark,
And only passed her by,
To come again at dark.
He was a winter wind,
Concerned with ice and snow,
Dead weeds and unmated birds,
And little of love could know.
But he sighed upon the sill,
He gave the sash a shake,
As witness all within
Who lay that night awake.
Perchance he half prevailed
To win her for the flight
From the firelit looking-glass
And warm stove-window light.
But the flower leaned aside
And thought of naught to say,
And morning found the breeze
A hundred miles away.
In England a long time ago someone important decided that the buildings should be made of brick and mortar instead of wood. In order to support the increased weight of the upper floors, wider walls were needed. To avoid significant loss of square footage on the lower lever because of thicker walls, “party walls” shared by neighbors were erected. Each neighbor had a duty to maintain the wall and to refrain from damaging the integrity of the “party wall.”
New England’s adoption of the “party walls” approach to fences and other such developments between property owners was the inspiration for Robert Frost’s poem, “Mending Wall,” which ends with, “Good fences make good neighbors.” (link)