Robert Frost was a well-known American modernist poet. He wrote his poems in ways that were new and different when he was writing as all modernists did at the beginning of the 20th century. But he also kept some of the traditional aspects of poetry, unlike the other modernists. It is said that he was in between two movements: the traditional movement and the modernist movement in poetry.
“The Road not Taken” is one of the most known poems he wrote. Here’s the text
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.
There are several things in this poem that are used in traditional poetry. First of all, the poem rhymes. Moreover, it follows a conventional rhyme pattern. In each stanza, there are five lines. The first, third and fourth lines rhyme with each other, and the second and fifth lines rhyme with each other. This type of rhyme pattern is usually summed up as 'ABAAB.'
Also, the composition has a traditional meter or rhythm. Each line has a specific number of syllables, and certain syllables are stressed when reading out loud. Meter is something that Frost liked to use a lot, even when he didn't use rhyme.
A third, and crucial, element in this poem that is not typically seen in modernist poetry is its use of natural imagery. The poem is about someone alone in the woods, along with the descriptions of nature. Most modernist poets, on the contrary, did not spend a lot of time describing nature, but Frost lived in a rural setting, and most of his poems focused on nature.