American Poetry 101

It becomes an interesting message if you read Walt Whitman and Robert Frost back to back

I sit and look out

by Walt Whitman

I sit and look out upon all the sorrows of the world, and upon all oppression and shame,

I hear secret convulsive sobs from young men at anguish with themselves, remorseful after deeds done,

I see in low life the mother misused her children, dying, neglected, gaunt, desperate,

I see the wife misused by her husband, I see the treacherous seducer of young women,

I mark the rankling of jealousy and unrequited love attempted to be hid, I see these sights on the earth,

I see the workings of battle, pestilence, tyranny, I see martyrs and prisoners,

I observer a famine at sea, I observe the sailors casting lot who shall be kill’d to preserve the lives of the rest,

I observe the slights and degradations cast by arrogant persons upon laborers, the poor, and upon negroes and the like;

All these- all the meanness and agony without end I sitting look out upon,

See, hear, and am silent.

What would happen if, instead of idly standing by, you’d take a road less traveled?

The road not taken

by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

An 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, an I –

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.


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