National Poetry Month: The Road Not Taken – Robert Frost


This is the winning entry I put in for The Barefoot Writer’s monthly contest in April. The piece was originally published on The Barefoot Writer’s winning entries’ page.

I sat in class as I watched my teacher write the poem on the board. The first line, two roads diverged in a yellow wood, caught my attention. I looked up, paying attention to every word as he wrote them on the whiteboard.

It began to make sense, my decision two years earlier. I come from a country where being intelligent means you have to choose some set of careers because they guaranteed you a good life and it would be a waste to use your brilliance in a different department.

It was the beginning of the Senior Secondary School year, and I was in front of two different roads – I could choose to be a science major or arts major. Three actually, but there was no question about the two most important ones for me.

The first term allowed us to be a part of all three departments and offer their core subjects. While I did enjoy the science-based subjects, Arts was my calling.

At the end of the term, we were allowed to choose our departments going forward, and it seemed without question based on my performance that I’d be choosing the sciences. It came as a shock when my parents asked me before leaving home for school, “What would you choose?” And I answered, “I’m going to the Art Class.”

My parents asked me If I was sure, and I answered affirmatively.

In my country Nigeria, as a smart and bright young lad, you’re to choose the sciences. It was an unwritten rule. This would pave your “road” to becoming a doctor, engineer, pilot, and other careers regarded with prestige, and that would guarantee you a good life, and I said no to these.

The Arts department was regarded as a department for jokers, students who weren’t sure about what they wanted. I knew what I wanted – to make a lasting impact through the arts and humanities using my intellect and creative abilities.

The Principal looked at me in shock later in school as I reiterated my choice, “I prefer the Arts department, sir.”

“Why? Your results here show that you excelled in all departments. Even if you are not going to the science department, it would be great to choose the commercial department.”

“Why, sir?”

“That way, you can still become an accountant or financial auditor.”

I smiled, “I’ll stick with the Arts department, sir.”

“If you say so. That’s all. You may go.”

I was happy I’d been allowed to take the road less traveled by. For subsequent terms, the core science subject teachers never failed to lecture me on how I was making the biggest mistake of my life any chance they got.

I instantly knew this would be my favorite poem for years to come once it had been entirely written on the board.

“I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

Latifat Abifarin

Latifat Abifarin

I am passionate about growth for businesses through creative and engaging content.

I specialize in creating custom, creative and engaging content for businesses. My goal is to help entrepreneurs and businesses increase their brand awareness, brand reach, visibility, and sales through creative and engaging content.

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