This week past week has been a highlight for learning. My AP classes have wrapped up material and started the reviewing process, meaning my brain is excessively stimulated by things I already know, enriched by the concepts I’ve since studied. However, in the midst of my studying, I’ve also been reflecting on an important anniversary. I admit I still mourn the relationship and friendship even while I recognize that he has no place in my life anymore. I read a passage recently in an assigned reading book entitled “Housekeeping” by Marilynne Robinson. It reflected on the nature of memory, of the role it plays in future situations and mental processes.
The assignment that inspired me to write this was to “steal” a line from an existing poem and turn it into a new idea. I read through “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night,” by Dylan Thomas, expecting to write a poem about persistence or motivation, but was struck by the line that reads,:
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
I was moved by the idea of something singing, wildly flying until it is too late. This is when the quote mentioned above came into my mind, the idea of memory acting as a lesson that maybe we all have to keep grieving, over and over and over, until we learn to rage.
I wrote this poem in response to the solemn memory of when I (unfortunately) had my future goals planned confidently around the companionship of this person, and the bittersweet feeling of those honest desires coupled with the truth I now know about the likelihood of them. That future I envisioned had never existed due to addiction, juvenile attachment, human error, and maybe even God. It was all of these things I consider to have been taught about the hard way, as I was left crying as he got in his car and drove away. This poem does not consist directly of any raging, and yet I feel it screams quiet strength, the acknowledgement that although it will always be colored in somber, I can and have moved past the disappointment of that heartbreak and follow my real, healthy, purposeful future.
Learned Too Late
We learned too late, our frailties in our way.
Our minds now limp toward tomorrow,
while begging for one more day.
We learned too late. We hope for more chances
to love with such comfort burning
so softly across our skin.
We learned too late—we drive deep into that dark,
recalling hands and laughter left
fading in our mirrors.
I learned too late—I grieve in on my own way—
to forget such infertile reaches
and not to beg for one more day.