Thursday, February 14, 2008

Dreams deferred

I went to a middle school named after Langston Hughes. To say that its name was the only good thing going for the school might be a little harsh (and perhaps in violation of my Lenten discipline of refraining from harmful sarcasm). But it would not be an exaggeration to say that my exposure to Langston Hughes, the poet, during those two years is one of the few things about that time of which I think fondly. (One of the others is the great cicada hatching of 1987 -- for pretty pictures of cicadas, click here.)

Today I was talking with my friend N about how I stopped playing guitar for most of 8 years because of shoulder problems, but that my progress in physical therapy is giving me hope that I could pick it up again. And while I was talking, some of Hughes' more famous words began to ring in my head: "What happens to a dream deferred?"

A Dream Deferred
by Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

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