‘Yellow Wood’ by Syma K. details the ongoing struggle to balance the various layers of a person’s existence, without showing resentment to any “one” aspect. In fact, the key idea of the poem is that “[i]f we were born in two’s,” we could tend to more of our own desires. This idea is explored through examples and a tip-of-the-hat to the famous poet, Robert Frost, to show how universal and deep the struggle to balance life elements is. While there is no resolution offered since the aspect of being “in two’s” is not possible, the work provides a whimsical enough commentary on the subject to appeal to any reader who can relate—even Robert Frost himself. You can read the full poem here.
Analysis of Yellow Wood
Stanzas One to Four
Now wouldn’t it be nice,
if we were born in two’s
One climbing mountain peaks. One kissing precious cheeks.
One racing through the winds. One tucking darlings in.
This series of stanzas paints the portrait of the work quite well in that the author is noting that having “two” versions of herself would be a grand idea. The reason behind this concept is clear as well since the variations between “[o]ne” being and the other are divided between maternal duties and more “adventur[ous]” concepts of life. That she begins this discussion with “Now,” followed by a question, is telling as well because she is treating the audience like a peer, as if they will perfectly understand her dilemma and jump on board with her logic as to what would be better. In this, she seems to be addressing primarily “mother[s]” or parents who will understand her struggle.
Following this posed question, she takes the time to give several examples of her idea to solidify her thoughts. She does not simply say “[i]f we were born in two’s” is a great idea, but rather explains what she means in Lines 3-8. Noteworthy as well is that there is no grammatical reason for the apostrophe in “two’s” since it is not a contraction or a possessive term. It is only plural, negating the reason for the apostrophe. What this could mean is that the idea is so out of the ordinary that it extends beyond grammar rules, or that the continued strive to balance “mother” and “adventurer” is so exhausting that she has not the time or mental effort to address such claims. “[E]ither” way, it is an effective way to address the situation.
The examples vary in concepts, from the physical elements of a “person” and “bodies” to the more intangible elements of “lives” and “mortal[ity].” There are also lifestyle commentaries in “settler” and “wanderer,” and personal descriptions in “adventurer” and “mother.” What this indicates is that the “two” sides of her contrast on various levels to create a very real complexity within a single “person.” The reader can assume that potentially on every level, then, her “mother[ly]” and “adventur[ous]” sides are at odds, making the possibility of separating them between “two” beings a worthwhile prospect.
Such cannot be the case, however, and the dramatic division between the “two” sides of her personality are represented in the strong punctuation mark that separates them. She does not say “One person, two bodies,” for instance. She rather chooses a period for a more concrete division. This shows that there is no overlap, but if the single “person” could be separated into “[t]wo bodies,” each half could tend to its own side.
To be loved as much as ‘the rainbow’. And ride to either ends of it.
To wake up by sweet whispers
from your little camp home,
on the Dolomites.
The stanza continues with the examples of variations between the family aspect and individual aspect, and the wording treats both scenarios as things worth achieving. There is no resentment in her exploration of the “mother” aspect of her life in this stanza. In fact, she deals with the concept as something precious by giving the idea a childlike explanation of “be[ing] loved as much as ‘the rainbow’,” and even extending that childish statement into the more “adventure”-filled noted of “rid[ing] to either ends of it.” Again, there is a grammar error at work since “either” is singular and “ends” is plural, though this particular grammar detail might showcase that both sides of her personality are “ends,” as in “two” separate concepts, but together are a single person, like “either” is singular. She cannot separate the “two” concepts because there is only “[o]ne” of her, but both sides are real, making for an interesting paradox of singular and plural that is showcased in this deviation from standard grammar rules.
To continue, however, with the kind treatment her “mother” experiences undergo in ‘Yellow Wood’, she speaks of “sweet whispers” that “wake” a person and “tiny arms around [the] neck.” This is a picture painted in a pleasant light, “[o]ne” that is precious and full of tenderness. In this, we can know that she does not resent her position as a “mother” at all, which indicates that she does not wish this side of herself to be lessened for the sake of her nature as the “adventurer.” On the other side of things, there is arguably nothing poor about “watch[ing] the sun rising [f]rom [a] little camp home,” which indicates that she does not want to part with these aspects of her life “either.”
Essentially, she is letting the reader know that she values both elements of her existence, and the italicizing of “And” twice in this stanza reinforces this notion. She does not want “either”/or. She wants both, and this desire is highlighted in the accented delivery of the conjunction that unites them.
If we were born in two’s
I could have walked two roads
The sixth stanza of ‘Yellow Wood’ seems to reflect the famous words of Robert Frost regarding the “two roads” concept. Specifically, “The Road Not Taken” speaks of “[t]wo roads diverg[ing] in a yellow wood,” and the idea that he “could not travel both.” This is, basically, the format of the final lines of Syma K.’s poem since, as she notes, if she had “two” parts of herself, she “wouldn’t have to choose” and “could have walked two roads.” She has placed herself in famous shoes and has offered a response to a dilemma that is related to that famous work.
By connecting to this idea, she is building camaraderie with her readers since they may recognize these famous words, and if they do, this poem has become a pseudo-sequel to Frost’s work, or at the very least a response. In essence, Frost has posed an issue, and Syma K. has presented an answer in a responsive fashion. This unites the works in complementary form, and it builds rapport with a famous work. To gain the attention of poetry fans, reaching such a famous work is a wonderful strategy.
Though simple, these choices of provided back-to-back examples and affectionate declarations of both sides of her being work to create a lovely portrait for all the things she wishes to accomplish. By addressing a famous work to build on those ideas, she adds a level of sophistication to the poem that makes the idea of being in “two’s” more elegant and fanciful. Basically, she has hinted that even Frost had a similar problem, and his dilemma could have been rectified with this resolution.
From personal stories of “mother[hood]” and professional qualms of a famous poet, Syma K. has claimed that the struggle between various parts of a person is real, and has offered a whimsical response that, though impossible, can bring a smile to every reader who relates to that struggle.
About Syma K.
Syma K. is primarily a photographer and blogger, but the poem, ‘Yellow Wood’, is one of the first things a viewer on her site would notice. She has been active as a copyrighted artist since 2010.