Changes and Choices

Today I read two blogs that set me on this path.  First I read cycling around the neighborhood from my blogging friend Robin at bogsofohio and then I read Monica’s post   As you know by now I am a quotation and poetry nut so I immediately remembered two of my favorite poems –

The Way Through The Woods by Rudyard Kipling:

 They shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees
That, where the ring-dove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.

Listen to Nigel Planer read the poem here.

and 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 listen here to Alan Bates’ rendition of this poem.

In case you don’t know Robin lives an idyllic life in beautiful surroundings and as soon as I saw the first photos today, I thought of Rudyard Kipling.  Kipling is best remembered for his celebration of British imperialism in his poetry, short stories and novels.  Most people know of “If” and “The Jungle Book” “Mandalay” and Gunga Din” but he also wrote political essays for the newspapers of his time.  He  received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907.   He was one of the most popular English authors in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in both prose and verse.  At the school I attended in London, Kipling was a favorite of the English staff and so we were brought up reciting his poems and hearing about his many other writings.

Monica’s post was on The Road Not Taken and how the decision had affected her life.  From time to time, we must surely all ask ourselves the question of what if we had taken the other road.

Robert Frost was an American writer of prose and poetry. He was awarded four Pulitzer prizes for poetry.

The two authors lived during the same period – Frost 1874-1963 and Kipling 1865-1936 and one wonders if their lives ever crossed.  We do know that Kipling lived in Vermont for a while and it is now possible to stay at his house “Naulakha” where he wrote “Captain Courageous”.

While we were not fed a diet of Robert Frost at school, we did have a brief introduction to his writing and I became entranced.  His writing is not as easy to read as Kipling’s.  It doesn’t of course have the thrum of British Imperialism.  But if you are into poetry I suggest you read some of his.  My favorites include :

  • For once, then something
  • A girl’s garden
  • The oven bird.

“We are where we are today because of the choices we made yesterday” Judith Baxter, blogger, writer, friend.



21 responses to “Changes and Choices

  1. I like to listen to tapes of Dylan Thomas reading his own work


  2. I was brought up in the States and Robert Frost was a favorite poet. His work can be dense but it’s beautiful in its messages.


  3. You picked two writers I am so very fond of. I did not know that Kipling had once lived in Vermont! One of my favorite poems of his is “Tommy.” I love the way his poems tell a story. Two other authors, one British and one American, who wrote during that time were Dickens and Mark Twain. Mark Twain took his beloved Olivia on their first date to hear Dickens speak when Dickens was touring the States.


    • Oh Susan I didn’t know that fact about Twain taking his Olivia to hear Dickens speak. So much new to learn every day. Thanks for the comment.


  4. Judith that was an excellent post about my fav poets. I have replayed on my Facebook! Thank you!


  5. Thank you, Judith, for the mention and the link. Sometimes it’s difficult to think of life here as idyllic, but you may be right.

    I enjoyed both poems. The second has long been a favorite of mine, but I was not familiar with the one by Kipling. Thank you for sharing something that’s new to me. 🙂


    • Thanks for the comment Robin. I do think that your life is idyllic compared to the rush and tumble of life here. And glad to introduce you to one of my favorite poets – being English and all.


  6. My grandfather loved poetry. He gave my cousin and me printed poems cut from papers or somewhere, and he asked us to memorize them so we could recite them the following Sunday when we visited. I remember one line of “Little Boy Blue” by Eugene Field to this day!


    • i have this very odd ability to retain poetry for years. In fact I still remember many poems I learned while at school, We had an English teacher who had been engaged to Rupert Brooke the poet killed in the first World War. She was adamant that we should be able not only to read many of the great poets but also to memorize the verses.


  7. I love that particular Frost poem…

    We have several Kipling books at our store, but I’ve never read him…

    Interesting about your teacher and Rupert Brooke…we have some of his books, as well as a biography of him…



  8. Our English teacher was reputed to have been engaged to Rupert Brooke but whether it was true or not, we were fed a diet of his work. I have looked for a biography of Brooke but without success. What is that one called that you have in your store.
    I always said that if I ever owned a retail outlet it would have to be a book store. Lucky you!!


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