Poetry is considered to be a representational text in which one explores ideas by using symbols. Poetry can be interpreted many different ways and is even harder to interpret when the original author has come and gone. Poetry is an incredible form of literature because the way it has the ability to use the reader as part of its own power. In other words, poetry uses the feelings and past experiences of the reader to interpret things differently from one to another, sometimes not even by choice of the author. Two famous poets come to mind to anybody who has ever been in an English class, Robert Frost and E.E. Cummings. Both of these poets have had numerous famous pieces due to the fact that they both captivate the readers attention and can even keep them intrigued in a piece long after their first time reading it. A line such as one of the most memorable lines from Robert Frost, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood” (1). Many recognize this line and many may have their own opinions on how to look at his poem ‘The Road Not Taken’. Another poem with a shared theme is E.E. Cummings poem “Anyone lived in a pretty how town” these two poems are very different in delivery and literary devises, but both have a common theme, a theme of how time goes on and the choices one makes, shapes who they become. This reoccurring theme is important because live doesn’t stop going it is a clock that will never stop ticking and every time the clock ticks we make a choice that shapes who we are and who we will be in the future.
The theme of how choices shape a person is another way authors can connect with the emotions of the reader, having them reflect on their choices and on how time has gone by, almost like a flashback while reading the poem. Theme is defined as a reoccurring underlining message, allowing the readers to get vaguely the same theme without too much interpretation. The theme in Robert Frost’s poem and E.E. Cummings poem is important because without themes in poetry the reader cannot connect, especially with these two poems. In Robert Frost’s poem, a man regretting not haven taken the road less traveled by portrays the theme of how choices shape who you become:
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 (16-20).
The reader wants to be able to tell others in the future he had taken the road less traveled by, but cannot for he did not choose, the title of the poem is not “The Road Less Traveled By”, but, “The Road not Taken”, which is key to understanding that the choices one makes in the past will effect how one looks back from the future.
In E.E. Cummings’ poem the theme surrounds the lives of anyone and noone from childhood to adulthood to even death, reminding the reader that time doesn’t stop and the choices one makes shapes how one may grow:
one day anyone died I guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side-by-side
little by little and was by was
all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by April
wish by spirit and if by yes.
women and men (both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain (25-36).
E.E. Cummings depicts a life in which two people fall in love, they are just normal people and they out grow many things that they had once cared for as children. Cummings’ characters, anyone and noone die and although the townspeople burry them, life goes on. Cummings storyline and even the timeline of the counted seasons encourages the reader to reflect on their own life much as the narrator in frost’s poem reflected on his past obstacles and choices. Cummings words open up the reader to reflect and hope to make an impression to live a life without regret of not choosing a certain path.