Two Roads Diverge in a Yellow Wood

30 July 2004

Two roads once diverged in a yellow wood,

And the poet, with sensitivity, thoughtfulness, and care,

Took the one that was grassy and wanted ware.

He took the one less traveled by,

He recalls reflectively with a sigh.

The first road, traveled by many and most,

Is pedestrian, thoughtless, and basically lost,

Going, as it does, to the chaos of city streets,

Going, as it were, nowhere,

Mass transit of the worst sort.

The second road, the one less traveled,

(but not by much the poet says)

Goes off the beaten path a hair,

Where street lights may not be fully lit,

Suburban sensitivity, thoughtfulness, and care.

Oh this road less traveled,

Where personal life finds its way,

Toward fulfillment — perhaps a bit less gay,

Then the glaring city lights, with their carnival pistache,

And manic speed crazed heights.

All the difference this has made,

With thoughtful inwardness has laid,

The ground of personal bourgeois life,

The self-indulgence of a mind,

Traveled apart from the daily grind.

The poet leaves the rest behind,

Humanity in its city of shame,

Lost in trackless streets of blame,

Aimless amidst an ugly urban blight.

And unconcerned with living that is right.

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,”

And travelers must choose,

The grand way, of emptiness and booze,

Or the less traveled way — the self-indulgence of the bourgeois,

An artistry of self that one can never lose.

The wood surrounds — perhaps a yellow wood of magic and of mystery,

But for the poet the wood encompasses two paths,

A stage-setting for the drama of roads,

A prop for a plug for the road less taken, a backdrop for the path

Of sensitivity, thoughtfulness, and care.

Bushwhacking is not an option here,

Only two roads, and the backdrop of dramatis artificiales,

Do not leave these roads no matter what!

Only that other road with its aimless city nights, and one-way trash-can alleys,

Go apart to the subtle ways of mind, and be your glorious self.

And those who now anthologize this poem of roads,

In endless editions for drowsy college freshmen,

Hung-over from an alcoholic night of electric music,

And glaring city lights,

Rest assured, dreaming in their professorial beds,

With hopes that some sensitive soul,

Not submerged entirely in the mass,

Not hopelessly far on the road not taken,

Not drowned in the digital chaos of city streets and urban haze,

May choose to walk this road of praise.

And become themselves, perhaps,

A bourgeois college professor,

Or at best a personal confessor,

In poetry or secret spirituality,

Making all the difference for authentic personality.

Bushwhacking not an option here,

For there are only two roads,

And the professors seek to draw the children into that grace,

Of those few souls who find their bourgeois satisfaction,

In walking apart from the maddening race.

“I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be,”

cries another poet — and all agree,

We were never meant to be,

A prince — except one such, who asked,

Why we forever lie on our backs, talking about the fall of man,

And refuse to get up.

Who will blaze a trail of meaning for the Earth?

Who will leave the road, and plunge,

Into the yellow wood of wilderness magic and rugged mystery?

Who will lead us from the chaos of electric urban nights,

And the despair of bourgeois self-indulgence?

For the yellow wood is only a stage prop,

For those who are not Prince Hamlet,

Who see two roads diverging in the wood,

And imagination does not recall,

That someone ever walked these woods before the roads.

Who will blaze our trail today?

Who will bushwhack in the wilderness, crying out,

To bring humanity, and the Earth,

Into the city of meaning,

Into the holy city of Jerusalem?

The yellow wood is there, a forest primeval,

More real, with leafy ways and sunlit clearings,

And tangled thickets of a world yet unexplored,

A wilderness the heart of which,

Intimates our final destiny and our home.

And we can leave the roads at any time,

And blaze a trail — not to chaos or bourgeois self-indulgence,

But to the holy city of the Eschaton,

At the heart of the yellow wood itself,

A new dawning over the green forest

— a sacred home for humankind.

*     *     *     *     *     *