ONE STEP BACKWARD TAKEN
Robert Frost's poem might help our nation's leadership in these conflicted days
WHEN THE ROAD TAKEN WASHES OUT. Most Americans have surely read (or memorized) "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost. Have you heard of his 1947 poem, "One Step Backward Taken?" I've shared this with students at Indianapolis Peace House and other groups. Consider it in the context of partisan wrangling in the face of the financial sector's crisis. Consider it in the context of the Iraq War. Consider it in the context of the unnecessary national and global precipices to which our leaders have drawn us and over which we perilously peer. Consider it in the context of the principles--or lack thereof--upon which we may be trying to stand. Perhaps it is not only important to take the road less traveled, but to step back from the brink every now and then.
Not only sands and gravels
Were once more on their travels,
But gulping muddy gallons
Great boulders off their balance
Bumped heads together dully
And started down the gully.
Whole capes caked off in slices.
I felt my standpoint shaken
In the universal crisis.
But with one step backward taken
I saved myself from going.
A world torn loose went by me.
Then the rain stopped and the blowing,
And the sun came out to dry me.
from The Poetry of Robert Frost edited by Edward Connery Lathem, 1969, Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
When is it prudent, helpful, wise to just take a step back?
I welcome your comments and/or questions in the spirit of dialog. Share yours by clicking on "comments" just below. They're moderated only to reduce incivility. Shalom!