Discussion of The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost, and an original poem

The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost

 

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 undergrowth;

 

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.

 

I feel like this poem represents my life so well. I’ve experienced so many forks in the road; I have so many interests. I’ve tried Chinese Medicine, hairdressing, skin care, insurance sales, tax preparation, veterinary medicine, and phlebotomy, to name a few. It’s easy to look back and think, “What would have happened had I taken the other road?”

As Frost’s poem implies, the roads are basically all the same. There’s no way to see around the corner, knowing what the result of any one choice will be. We make our choices, “way leads on to way,” and we follow the path our choices lay before us.  Only when we look back on our lives do we try to impose a sense of order on it all, claiming that the path we chose was somehow pre-ordained, more special than any other choice. My belief is that, given our individual characters, talents, gifts, and circumstances, whatever path we take will land us in essentially the same place.

There was an episode of Friends that illustrates what I mean. In the episode, they go back, and the show imagines what would have happened had their paths been different. There were some changes, such as Monica still being fat, and Rachel dating Joey before Ross. But ultimately, they all end up basically exactly where they had been before.

So, when I look back on my life, I see that my consistent loves are spirituality, writing/literature, art, and physical fitness. Through all the other diversions and detours, these four core passions have remained the same. And, so, as an ode to Robert Frost, here’s my version of The Road Less Traveled. I call it:

To All the Roads I’ve Traveled

an ode to Robert Frost

Many streets diverged in a bustling city

And, sorry, I could not travel them all

Being one soul, so long I pondered

And stood on the edge of one

 

Looking down each, as far as could imagine

Where weak eyes lost the view and blurred

And, taking one, t’was just as good,

And possibly more lucrative, pleasant would prove,

 

Because it sparkled, bright asphalt freshly paved,

Though ‘side from name and zoning laws,

Each street glittered much the same.

After tiring of one, ‘nother street down I wandered,

 

Lively and lost, shoes consumed like children’s erasers

Daylight fantasies, other streets smiling, teasing

One by one embracing each street’s charms

Till worn-out, satisfied, returned to first loves

 

Never one to limit self to One Love

Looking back, the dear ones rise to mind

Four roads diverged in a city

I took each and every one of them

And that has made all the difference.

–Raven Burnes

A Poem About How Women Should Stop Dieting

I wrote on Facebook the other day, asking – rhetorically, of course – why being happy always seemed to lead to me gaining weight. I joked that I wanted to find some way to lie to my body that I was miserable. Ha ha.

Later, though, I thought about what I’d said. What’s wrong with me, that being happy is kind of a bad thing simply because I’ve gained five pounds. No one even knows that but me. And, certainly, no one cares. What is this internal tyranny over women that suckers even a (I like to think) conscious woman into putting body size and general happiness on equal planes. Would I really rather be sad and skinny than happy and fat? Isn’t that sick?

Coincidentally (or, as I view it, serendipitously) I watched a YouTube video on the health benefits of eating one meal a day. Many Muslims also advise one meal a day. Many Buddhist monks recommend one meal a day. Trying this for a while could be a way to not only lose the “happy pounds” and further improve my health, but, more importantly, to spend less time preparing food and washing dishes. There are other things I’d rather be doing. The weight itself no longer matters to me. There are too many critical issues going on in our society for anybody – especially any intelligent being – to be wasting time worrying about five or ten pounds.

The Divine Feminine is needed now more than ever. With the separation and categorization of people into little groups to oppress and demonize. With our health care system at the hands of a Twitter-junkie who cares for no one but himself. With our planet heating up, and our water supply drying up. We need Woke Women everywhere to be about it.

This poem is primarily a reminder to myself. It is also an invitation to other people – especially all who identify with the Feminine Spirit – to use your talents, your voices, your bodies, your minds, and your spirits to uplift the planet.

So, here it is…

Die It

They asked her

which she’d rather have,

sexy steamy night

with stranger,

or

sweet, easy piece of

dreamy cheesecake.

Surprised

I was not

when, of course,

devilish dessert

earned her body’s lust.

Deprived of carnal passion –

no woman ever,

but fashion,

commercialized, capricious eyes,

and masculine wish for

sole supremacy,

Reduce

sunshine-colored pink topped cupcake

to armed adversary, scary

fat-throwing attacker.

Beauteous baby building digs

Decreased

not by accurate concern for

maternal magic, but

Fear

of feminine largesse.

The best most can expect –

five to ten pounds

Less?

While fleshy souls,

Lost,

scream soundlessly inside

cells bereaved, in need –

not of packaged poison

in food clothing – but

Insurrection, mutiny

This is me!

Head to knee,

ass to feet,

take the scale and weigh

the mass of heart

as I love you

squeeze you

high into sunset sky

build up this ball of blue

till it cools

the winds of ill will

killing it through and through.

Weigh

the song I sing to

little ones wondering

why we won’t willify what we want

when so much to do

goes undone

Wasted

time, dieting to hide

the light this world is pining for,

Eat.

And eat well,

Gas for the next phase

of feminine triumph

Please don’t buy into

Diets,

Goddess, your one-pointed

Presence is Spirit’s imperative Essence.

 

 

A Poem About Blackness

BECAUSE I DON’T ACCEPT THE RULES OF COLORISM

 

Dancing streams of moonbeams

Slip past partially open

Curtains,

Hit tear-stained pillow,

Patting you while

I watch you

Sleep.

Slapped in the face

You felt

When they ingested

Noxious, self-loathing

Pills of dubious privilege,

Then spewed them back at you,

Making you cringe

At the skin you’re in.

Glassy, priceless,

Ebony shelter,

Delicious as it is dark.

Dark like

The Womb that warms

Us all

From Greatest to the Least.

Nine-month lease

Until released into

Bloody white hospitals,

Strangers jostling to

Label us,

Limit us,

Prohibit us.

Dark like the soul

That knows its own worth,

Till told to

Take its place –

A false space –

Pinching a girth

Too expansive to erase.

Dark like

Healthy earth

Nourishing ungrateful,

Hateful parasites

Flourishing while

Teaching

Us

To categorize,

Ostracize,

Euthanize

That Darkness.

Beautiful

As it is elusive.

Confusing to those

Who lack the eyes to see,

The skin to feel

That which Darkness,

In all its forms,

Can do when it’s free.

Rest, little one,

While I whisper

Terms of Truth,

Secret self-names

Fallen

From family tree

Honey Vat

Night Soldier

Onyx Star

Sable Lady

Toasted Queen

Ginger Goddess

Hazel Pride

Drink these signs.

Sing them in your dreams,

Since the Darkness

They

Call cursed

Is Splendor

They

Can’t control.

Let these signs

Flood your insides,

Fill your bones.

Cuz the names

They’ve given us

Are not our Own.