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Colin’s stories Monday, 25 January 2010

Posted by carryapoem in Stories.
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I carry a lot of poetry in my head – it’s the safest place to have it. If I had it in my wallet, I might be robbed; if it was in my pocket I might forget to take it out, and it could end up in the washing machine (like my hearing aid did recently).

Fragments of much-loved poems somehow stay intact and distinct in my memory. At any given moment I can recall them, and they each bring something special back into focus. Dipping and scooping, I retrieve Wallace Stevens’ ‘Thirteen Ways of Looking At a Blackbird’, Norman MacCaig’s ‘A Man in Assynt’, William Blake’s ‘The Sick Rose’, T S Eliot’s ‘Gerontion’, William Carlos Williams’ ‘Flowers By the Sea’, Dylan Thomas’s ‘Over Sir John’s Hill’, Paul Celan’s ‘Death Fugue’, and many more.

But the one which comes to mind more than most is Robert Frost’s ‘The Road Not Taken’. It’s a poem I’ve often read in workshops, and it seems to touch other people too. So I love for that reason. But it’s more for the personal relevance the poem has for me. So many times in my elongating life I’ve had to make choices – we all do – and Frost sets out the dilemma beautifully. Faced with two routes in life I’ve often taken “the one less travelled by”, and my life has been made immeasurably richer.

Colin Will is a poet, publisher, teacher and blogger.