A dream deferred

More musings about “freedom”. What happens when one is not free to realise a dream? Not even be able to imagine a day when that realisation may be possible?

I came across Langston Hughes’ poem today. I stand in awe of this little poem, as have millions of others. Hughes was writing politically from his perspective as an African American during segregation; so for him, deferring ‘the dream’ was a deadly-serious matter.

However, dream deferral must surely be an almost universal human experience? So the questions posed in the poem have a much wider application. I’m sure that there are some dreams that are so inconsequential that they simply evaporate when deferred; and there are others so ill-conceived, it is better NOT to realise them; but, what of those noble, ambitious, happy dreams? What happens when they are deferred?

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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~ by Garry on January 6, 2011.

4 Responses to “A dream deferred”

  1. A dream deferred could result in any of the Mr Hughes descriptive outcomes. But if a noble, ambitious happy dream has to be deferred, even if for less than noble reasons, the outcome is in the eyes of the beholder of the dream.

  2. Yes, I guess that is true isn’t it. The ‘dreamer’ is then left to live with the effects of the dream deferral.
    If it is a personal dream – the individual must come to terms with the loss, like any other loss.
    It must mean that there is a lot of grief being carried by individuals that cannot be explained by obvious loss – such as the death of a loved one or the loss of a career. It is more difficult to comfort someone who has lost something nobody else can see.

  3. Unless that someone has lost the same thing.

  4. That’s true of course. I guess I meant that it might be harder to realise that a person is actually grieving at all when you can see no obvious evidence of a loss.
    Certainly if someone shared with you their deferred dream and you could relate, then it would be no other than sharing any other kind of grief.
    It makes you wonder how many of us are carrying grief around that we may ourselves not even recognise. What was it about ‘leading lives of quiet desperation’

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