A Dream Deferred – 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?
I remember reading this poem in school and although I loved Langston Hughes, I really hated the imagery this poem created. Who wants to picture dried up raisins and rotten meat??!? But now, this poem takes on a whole new meaning to me. I was reminded of it when I heard the news of an untimely passing of a friend yesterday. All I can think about now is how short life really is. I mean I say it all the time, but do I really heed to what that means? Probably not. I immediately thought about how limited our time is here and how there is no time to waste putting off our dreams.
Losing someone is not a new concept for me. I have lost many friends and family in the past. But when I was younger I chucked a lot of it up to being young and reckless. I figured that now that I’d made it to “adulthood” I was good. My friend’s unexpected passing reminds me that is not the case. I am not invincible. Just because you think you live a “safe” life, doesn’t guarantee you have all the time in the world. What will you do with your time? Are you making the most of this moment right here and now? Are you doing something that you enjoy with it?
I spoke to a friend from grad school yesterday and asked what he was doing with his life etc. He is working at a job that has nothing to do with his major and I mentioned the irony in that and he replied “Well we all can’t have our dream job, like you think in school…you don’t just get to jump right into what you wanna do in the real world.” I was so saddened by this statement because I could feel his bitterness through the computer and I wondered how does this happen? Everyone has dreams. I believe the only difference is some people decide to follow them no matter what, and others let life get in the way. Dreams, much like this poem states, need to be nurtured. They need to be fed, cradled and attended to with care and passion. They need to be fought for and held onto at all costs. What happens to the person who lets go of their dream? I hope I never find out.