A Road Less Traveled

There was a time,
It was many years ago,
I found myself hitchhiking,
Down a lonesome, barren road.

This long desert highway,
Was so desolate in fact,
That days went by,
Before I saw the first car pass.

Indifference was the name,
Of the long-haul driver who stopped.
Thankful for the rescue,
But somehow still feeling lost.

I told him my life’s story,
The heartbreak, the trauma, the pain.
He seemed to have cared less,
Nonchalantly swerving between lanes.

He said “kindness is overrated,
You’ll always end up getting hurt,
So forget about everyone else,
And always put yourself first.”

I stepped down from his truck,
Thanked him for the ride,
I contemplated his words,
Somehow knowing they were unwise.

I continued on my journey,
Many more days had passed,
Without having a drop of water,
Or seeing a single blade of grass.

Then I heard in the distance,
The sounds of a car,
I prayed for the driver to stop,
Knowing I couldn’t make it far.

He came to a screeching halt,
The door opened to let me in,
He introduced himself as Malevolence,
As he met me with a sardonic grin.

I had an uneasy feeling,
But I knew I would die without his aid.
He could sense my reluctance, I guess;
He said I had no reason to be afraid.

Sensing a weight on my shoulders,
He inquired about my problems,
I told him my story and he said,
“That’s something I can help you in solving.”

He said I should harness my anger,
And always aim to get even.
Revenge is the sweetest fruit,
And blood is the best reward given.

I began to make a list,
Of all the people I should go kill,
But I became despondent and knew,
This wasn’t the proper way to heal.

I said “stop the car now”,
And he replied with a chilling quip,
“No one will save you on this road,
You will end up dead in a ditch.”

I knew that death on this road,
Was a very distinct possibility,
But I knew if I stayed with this man,
My soul would be damaged, irreparably.

I kept on struggling down that road,
Knowing good and well my inevitable fate,
But my one goal before The End,
Was to clear my heart of anger and hate.

The moment finally came,
I was face down in the sand,
Only a few breaths and heartbeats left,
Until I finally met my end.

And as if she came out of nowhere,
An angelic woman appeared,
She put me in her car and began speaking,
But at first I was unable to hear.

After receiving food and water,
I regained consciousness and asked her name.
She told me she was called Benevolence,
Then I asked why it was me that she saved.

She said very simply,
“Because you needed some help,
And I was in a position to do so;
I’ve seen troubled times myself.”

She could feel the burdens I carried.
She told me the key to a life well-lived,
Are the acts of forgiveness and love,
Which cost nothing — they’re free to give.

And as I thought about all those people,
Who had hurt me and caused me pain,
I realized that by showing them kindness,
I was the one who had so much to gain.

Then she told me she would take me,
As far as I wanted to go,
She would be there with me...for me,
For the rest of my journey home.
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Written on March 16, 2022

Submitted by sethhayneswarner on March 30, 2022

Modified on April 24, 2023

3:30 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 3,097
Words 700
Stanzas 23
Stanza Lengths 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4

Seth Haynes Warner

Seth is an Iraq War veteran, having served as an Infantryman in both the US Marine Corps and the US Army. He started writing in December 2021 as a form of therapy. He spends most of his free time with his children and on mountaintops. more…

All Seth Haynes Warner poems | Seth Haynes Warner Books

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Discuss the poem A Road Less Traveled with the community...

  • Soulwriter
    Just beautiful. Thank you for sharing.
    LikeReply2 years ago
  • Dougla$Irishman
    What a wonderful story, it kept me in suspense all the time..
    Truly a very vivid imagination that keeps the reader deeply immersed !
    LikeReply 32 years ago
  • yuliya.ladnaya
    The story was fascinating and deep
    LikeReply 22 years ago
  • kguptar
    The poem responds to most of the requirements of a good poem: It is rhythmical, with pleasant rhymes and the message of the poet is well conveyed.
    LikeReply 22 years ago
  • R.Boase
    It is very unusual to find allegory in modern poetry, and it usually strikes the reader as artificial. But it works very well here because it sounds like a real hitch-hiker's tale, a cross between Pilgrim's Progress and a road movie. One flaw is that the word "key" should be plural: "She told me that the keys to a life well-lived / Are the acts..." 
    LikeReply 22 years ago
    • sethhayneswarner
      thank you for the kind words. I don’t know how I missed “keys”, but I’m glad you caught that and let me know!
      LikeReply2 years ago


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"A Road Less Traveled" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 16 Jun 2024. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/124029/a-road-less-traveled>.

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