my birthday present

my birthday present
My awesome birthday present 1/26/11 (see story under my first post)

Friday, July 1, 2011


I think this poem is so interesting. Ryan explains at a reading at the Lannan Foundation that she saw a definition for pentimenti below a painting in a museum. (definition - the presence or emergence of earlier images, forms, or strokes that have been changed and painted over. Loretta and I were discussing how to relate this poem to our lives, which made me then think of The Road Not Taken posted below.  Kay Ryan’s poetry is delightful. Be sure to listen to her reading. More of her later.

Kay Ryan

It's not simply
that the top image
wears off or
goes translucent;
things underneath
come back up,
having enjoyed the advantages of rest.
That's the hardest
part to bear, how
the decided-against
fattens one layer down,
free of the tests
applied to final choices.
In this painting,
for instance, see how
a third arm --
long ago repented by the artist --
is revealed,
working a flap
into the surface
through which
who knows what
exiled cat or
extra child
might steal.

There is a great deal of interesting discussion on the internet about whether this poem is about Frost being gay. In my Google research I did not find direct evidence of that, but I can certainly see how a gay person might find that in this poem.

The Road Not Taken
Robert Frost

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.

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