War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele

"Two Roads (on lines by Robert Frost)" ... 4th Annual Nutts Cup

to Vancouver for the 4th annual Nutts Cup Crossfit Competition to watch teams of Gods and Goddesses, all muscles and camaraderie competing in honour of Lt. Andrew Nuttall (KIA 23 Dec/09 A’stan) and the Lt. Andrew Nuttall Youth At Risk Foundation

I was first in contact with Andrew’s family when his aunt emailed me to ask if her daughter could read a poem of mine at his funeral. I’d written it for Lt. Nuttall upon hearing of his death having been in his rifle company during 2008-2009.

I met his kinfolk at the Task Force 3-09 memorial at the base in Edmonton in 2010 and over the years we’ve become friends. I have watched this family survive the worst possible fate – to lose a son or daughter – just as my own family lost one of our most precious beloveds, age 26, just a year before Andrew Nuttall was killed. somehow, attending these events is not a morbid experience, but rather, life-giving. we aim to keep our beloveds alive by speaking their names, by having their pictures in our midst, by living for them.

Lt. Nuttall’s aunty and me at the 4th annual Nutts Cup

our beloved, like the Nuttall’s, chose to take a “road less travelled by” as Robert Frost would have it, and she never returned, lost mercilessly to the Pacific. and our big family simply has never been the same since (though we prevail). and while I wrote a poem titled “Two Roads (on lines by Robert Frost)” for the Saturday event, it is for her and for all who choose to take a less-travelled road, and importantly, I wrote it for the ones who loved us enough to know we had to go.

because of copyright I’m not sure how much I can quote from Frost. I wanted the poem to be a nudge across almost a century, Frost having written his in 1920, and because anyone who was even half awake in Grade 10 English would have at least an echo of Frost in their hearts. the Frost lines are italicized (not that anyone would ever get us mixed up!!!)… here it is:

On Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken (1920)
for the 4th Annual Nutts Cup, Vancouver BC

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth,

Two roads before us stood that green May
At Suffield, Shilo, Wainwright, a world
Away, away those shiny muddy roads—
One towards home, one towards the sand
The long, long, rutted tracks left by LAVs—
From the patrol, the stroll of dust, to Afghanistan.

We took the latter, hard row of caked
Mud and loss, our loved ones’ hearts
Couraged, encouraged, while others failed,
their paths too racked with fear, they lost their faith,
Yet golden ones, they let us go, they let us go
For love they let us take the razor-wired road.

Somewhere along that road I saw him in half-light, Andrew,
No turning back, I sat behind his back in O group
In CUBs at Wainwright, O so cut in CADPAT stripped to the waist!
then saw him last I think—my recall isn’t so great these days—
that smile, unmistakable in fatigue and dust,
Outside the wire, the old Russian school house, Balunday.

We couldn’t know. He, the others, nor I, (hey, I Barbequed chicken,
Served ice cream and apple pie for boys outside the wire)
What fates the blackbirds, the purple mountains would bring
When, how, there might be today this sweaty grateful gathering
To prove he lived, we lived, we will live, we take the road we’re given.

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 travelled by.
And that has made all the difference.

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The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled "Two Roads (on lines by Robert Frost)" ... 4th Annual Nutts Cup. It was posted here on August 20, 2013.


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