Tuesday poem: Now all roads …

I’m reading a wonderful book: ‘Now All Roads Lead To France’ by Matthew Hollis, about the last years of the poet, Edward Thomas. It’s a glorious achievement; careful, full of insights and emotional power, and as gripping as a thriller. Adam Foulks’s review quotation on the back cover has it about right: “It tells the story of a compelling figure from a half-forgotten England whose influence on contemporary writing seems to grow and grow.” Carol Ann Duffy’s says in part: “The care and diligence which Matthew Hollis brings to the duty of biography gives his prose the quality of light…” I’m loving it; can’t put it down; don’t want to finish it. If you want to read some of the recent reviews, you can find them here.

The book has reminded me of the great friendship between Edward Thomas and Robert Frost, in honour of which I’m posting a Frost poem; one he wrote in 1916 with Thomas in mind, as he explained in the 1950s:

“One stanza of ‘The Road Not Taken’ was written while I was sitting on a sofa in the middle of England: was found three or four years later, and I couldn’t bear not to finish it. I wasn’t thinking about myself there, but about a friend who had gone off to war, a person who, whichever road he went, would be sorry he didn’t go the other. He was hard on himself that way.”

The Road Not Taken
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.

For more Tuesday poems you can look at the main Tuesday Poem page where a poem is posted each week. Further poems can be found on the blogs of the Tuesday poet members in the sidebar.

2 Responses to “Tuesday poem: Now all roads …”

  1. Kathleen Jones Says:

    Lovely post – the poem is one of my favourites with its underlying disquiet and sense of longing and loss.
    I’ve just ordered the book, by a strange coincidence, since it is on Kindle and I don’t have to pay postage, but haven’t had time to read it yet.

  2. admin Says:

    So glad you enjoyed this one, Kathleen – & I am sure you’ll love the book. Such a great writing style as well as revelatory content for anyone interested in poets and poetry – but then, the author’s a poet himself.

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