Writing I Love – Robert Frost

robert frost woods

Today two simple shares from some writing I love, from the poet Robert Frost.

I’ve written many posts here on this site around “Writing I Love”.  Why do I do that on a site about #OpenLeadership.

Simple. Leadership starts with “Self-Leadership”.

Beauty, whether in nature, poetry, art, movies, special moments of connection. All moments of beauty have the opportunity to connect us more deeply to who we are, and to bring awareness to that is to create ever greater opportunity to lead ourselves and so to lead others, from our children and other family members on up to whoever we lead in our work.

So, I’ll share my own thoughts from two pieces by Robert Frost today.

What writing moves you? 

My first of two Robert Frost stories today.

A few days ago I wrote a post on the powerful connection between vulnerability and self-responsibility, called “It’s OK to not be OK“.

In this, I told a story of how I’d replied to a powerful tweet about mental health from Ruth Davidson. I had replied instinctively to thank her for her leadership with that tweet on mental health.

Perhaps that instinctive feeling to respond was amplified by the way she started her tweet, which read:

This is the closing of one of Frost’s best-known poems.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Now, my second story. Two days ago was the anniversary of the first daily post on this site. That very first post was called “Life is Wild and Precious, Be Present” and featured the Mary Oliver poem “The Summer Day”, which closes with the immensely powerful line:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Beautiful and powerful poetry which has powered my writing on many a day.

Now, ten days after that first post, on October 25th, 2017, I wrote: “Ok is not ok

Yikes, I have goosebumps as I suddenly realise the real connection between Ruth’s tweet and something I’d written nearly a year before, and that is Robert Frost.

In that post last year I wrote of inspiration from Ed Percival on my life, and how I’d been inspired by a fellow mentee of Ed’s, the amazing Alton Byrd. One thought from me was:

“We all have the choice to live an “ok” life, to lead an “ok” business, to shine a little, but not risk shining and burning out. Have you, will you “risk absolutely everything you’ve got for the smallest chance that something absolutely amazing could happen”?

From that synthesised thought, the words of Robert Frost, embedded in me many years earlier came to me. I shared them in that post and share them now once again. Beauty bears repeating.

The Road Not taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, 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 travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.

So, consciously and perhaps, after this, a little less unconsciously, What writing moves you?


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