For whatever reason today, I googled "Robert Frost public domain." To my excitement, I found that "The Road Not Taken" is actually in the public domain!! This poem has always been one of my favorites and despite the fact that it has probably been set to music many times, I plan on setting it myself. I can remember years ago reading about how Eric Whitacre had originally set Sleep to a Robert Frost poem and the words had to be changed due to copyright laws. Apparently, anything Frost published before 1923 is in the public domain. Great news. It has been quite a while since I wrote a choral piece, so this will be a great adventure for me. Maybe I'll go sit in the woods and read the poem a few times.
"The Road Not Taken" (1916)
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.