The poems of Robert Frost are generally on the surface reflections of nature, but there is always a deeper meaning. In the four poems "The Road Not Taken," "After Apple Picking," "Birches," and "Desert Place," the common underlying theme is the contemplation of life and death. In each of these poems, Frost alludes to some aspect of his life or his approaching death.
In the first of the poems, "The Road Not Taken," Frost reflects upon his life, pointing out that early on he came to a fork in the road of his life where he had to choose either one path or the other. He would have liked to take them both but recognized that once he took one of them, it was likely he would never make it back to the fork to choose the other, so he chose the road that seemed less traveled. There is a hint of wistfulness in the poem, suggesting that he wished he could go back and travel the second road as well. He states, "Oh, I marked the first for another day!" suggesting that he fully intended to go back another day and take that second road so that he would not miss anything from either road. Yet he never made it back there. Now in the last analysis, although he is content with the choice he made, concluding, "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I/I took the one less traveled by/And that has made all the difference," he nevertheless remains sharply aware that to take the road he took required the sacrifice of the other and all of the experiences that he might have had while on it (Frost 96).
In "After Apple Picking," Frost is ostensibly talking about his weariness after picking a great load of apples, but in reality he is suggesting that he is weary after living a long life. He says, "I am overtired/Of the great harvest I myself desired/There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch/Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall" (Frost 17). The "ten thousand thousand" apples are days of Frost's life, each of which had