The Road Less Traveled

The Road Not Taken- by 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.

We all have choices; while some choices are easy to make, others prove to be far more difficult. We begin to prioritize, restructure our daily lives, seek purpose in the tasks we complete each day each, and we search for the meaning behind our journey so far. It would be easy to state that things happen for a reason; the point of it all is to discover the reason and figure out how its meaning fits into your life. Whenever I have a difficult decision to make, I think of Robert Frost’s poem “The Road not Taken” and it usually inspires me with a newfound sense of clarity.

After reading Robert Frost’s “The Road not Taken,” I always begin to wonder about all the times I made a decision that was uncommon or under valued at the time. How did it make a difference? Can I look back now and say that the decision I made has helped shaped my life into what it is today? As the speaker in Frost’s poem states, “yet knowing how way leads on to way / I doubted if I should ever come back.” When you realize what is most important to you, and you make the decision to change the path your on it will set you in a completely on a new course and you may not be able to go back to the person you once were.

We learn something new each day; we grow, we gain experience, we perceive the world with a new wisdom as we continue on our journey in life. Decisions are always hard; when facing a choice or a challenge, think of the person you will become if you choose the road that not many others have taken. As the speaker Robert Frost’s poem “The Road not Taken” states, “two roads diverged in a wood, and I– / I took the one less traveled by / and that has made all the difference.”

~Arlinda Mulosmanaj

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Lullaby: Soothing Song or Melodic Warning

Whimsical Wednesday with Arlinda

While most of us have fond memories of being sung lullabies as children, the legend behind the origin of lullabies in a dark one. As children, we can remember our parents singing us soothing songs in an attempt to get us to fall asleep; lullabies were joyful bonding experiences between ourselves and our parents. After stumbling upon various lullaby origin stories, one caught my interest.

After researching the origins of lullabies, I found a multitude of websites claiming the legend of Lilith as the inspiration behind the creation of many lullabies that we have all heard since our childhood and grew to remember the soft and calming melodies. The term lullaby is said to have been derived from Lilith abi that is derived from a Hebrew phrase said to mean Lilith begone. Just wait, it gets creepier. It is said that lullabies were used as a form of protection for children against Lilith coming to steal their souls in the night.

This view of the origin of lullabies brings a whole new perspective and analysis Rock-a-Bye Baby, a lullaby that surely we have all heard time and time again.

  Rock a Bye Baby

Rock-a-bye, baby

In the treetop.

When the wind blows,

The cradle will rock.

When the bough breaks,

The cradle will fall,

And down will come baby,

Cradle and all.

Baby is drowsing,

Cosy and fair.

Mother sits near,

In her rocking chair.

Forward and back,

The cradle she swings,

And though baby sleeps,

He hears what she sings.

The baby eerily hears what the mother is singing, though the mother sits away from the baby in her rocking chair. While reading this I thought, why did the mother sit away from her child? Was she guarding the baby’s room against the arrival of Lilith, or was she afraid to sit near her child should Lilith arrive? While I can explore the various possibilities of lullabies being derived as a protective shield against Lilith, I shall leave it to my readers to come up with their own interpretations.

As far fetched as the concept of Lilith being at the center of the origin of lullabies, it’s October and with Halloween just around the corner it seems the perfect time to share such a creepy and chill provoking origin story. If you wish to explore the many different origin stories of lullabies, I have posted a few links below. I hope you find the links as interesting as I did upon stumbling onto these websites.

 

~Arlinda Mulosmanaj

 

http://mentalfloss.com/article/67896/12-creepy-lullabies-around-world-will-keep-you-night

http://www.jeanniemusick.com/lilith-legends/lilith-as-the-origin-of-the-lullaby/

 

 

The Beauty of Inconstancy

Whimsical Wednesday with Arlinda

While I love the occasional stargazing and daydreaming, it often makes me wonder what is real and what is just a false projection of images. Take stars for example, they shine their light upon the earth each night, but for all we know the stars we are looking at may have stopped existing light years ago; it takes time for the last glimpse of starlight from the now nonexistent star to illuminate the night sky and then cease to shine again. Similarly, our daydreams may be far fetched; psychologists have been trying to analyze daydreams for many years with different results each time because daydreams, according to Sigmund Freud, can only be analyzed by the dreamers themselves, and since our dreams are always changing, I wonder how we might go about understanding them. How are we to know what is consistently real and what is an ever-changing projection contained within our minds?

Percy Bysshe Shelley conveys the double entendre, which we struggle to perceive and comprehend each day. Shelley’s poem “The Moon” beautifully depicts multiple views about the loneliness of the moon, which can also be perceived through the lens of viewing the moon as an entity searching for an object “worth its constancy” while it travels across the earth each night.

The Moon- Percy Bysshe Shelley

And, like a dying lady lean and pale,
 Who totters forth, wrapp'd in a gauzy veil,
 Out of her chamber, led by the insane
 And feeble wanderings of her fading brain,
 The moon arose up in the murky east
 A white and shapeless mass. 
 
 Art thou pale for weariness
 Of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth,
 Wandering companionless
 Among the stars that have a different birth,
 And ever changing, like a joyless eye
 That finds no object worth its constancy?

While this poem seemingly portrays the moon as a lonely object, I tend to perceive this poem in such a way that allows me to realize we are all moons searching the earth for something constant, for something we can understand and connect to, and we learn to appreciate the differences we notice in others.

Even though I cannot be sure whether or not the stars I see each still exist, it is poems like Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “The Moon” that teach me to appreciate the stars as they dance across the night sky until sunrise; even if I cannot prove that the stars still exist light years away and that their lights will remain constant for many more light years, I can remain constant in enjoying the beauty and brightness depicted by the stars each night.

We do not always require a solid and never changing answer to our questions; we grow and evolve, as do our questions. Similarly, the answers we seek need to grow and evolve along with us. Our daydreams may not be constant, and the stars we see may no longer exist, but both are beautifully unpredictable in their own way, and both should be valued and appreciated. Until next week Obscurians!

~Arlinda M

Falling for Fall

 

Whimsical Wednesday with Arlinda

While I love the summer most of all, I sure am glad it’s already fall! With pies, pumpkin spiced everything, candy, and Halloween just around the corner, who wouldn’t be excited for fall?

Every year, I watch movies and read poems, short stories, and novels with the hopes of finding one that is truly terrifying. It’s October, and I’m looking forward to stumbling upon a horrifying tale to inspire my Halloween costume this year.

Whether it is October, or not, Christina Rossetti’s poems never fail to send chills down my spine. Her poems often mix aspects of fantasy in with realistic objects or situations. Rossetti’s poems use elements of fantasy to project moral dilemmas to readers, like in her poem “Goblin Market.” Another one of my favorite Rossetti poems is “One Sea-Side Grave.” While it is not as chill inducing as “Goblin Market,” this poem paints an eerie image in my mind whenever I read it. In the poem, the speaker states, “unmindful of the roses / unmindful of the thorn / a reaper tired reposes / among his gathered corn: / so might I, till the morn.” When I read these lines, I can imagine the silence of a cornfield late on an October night. The speaker continues to state, “cold as the cold Decembers / past as the days that set / while only one remembers / and all the rest forget– / but one remembers yet.” These lines make me wonder what has been forgotten and why? Who is the person that still remembers and why are they the only ones? What happened to everyone else?

It is poems like Christina Rossetti’s “One Sea-Side Grave” that help me get into the spirit of Halloween and cause me to have an even greater appreciation for the creative genius that can be inspired by the fall.

As Obscura’s horror themed writing contest is coming up soon, I cannot wait to read the submissions! I am excited to see what scary stories and poems the Obscura contestants create! It’s an opportunity to share your voice, your imagination, and your literary brilliance.

Until next week, Obscurians!

~Arlinda Mulosmanaj