Saturday, July 25, 2015

Dreams, First and Last

Dreams, First and Last
©2015 Susan Noyes Anderson

Martin Luther King
had quite a dream,
and so did I.
Sadly, it peaked,
then sprang a leak
and failed to satisfy.

It looked so rosy,
felt so cozy,
when the thing was new.
But in the end
(let's not pretend)
the shiny bits fell through.

I don't like grieving
when believing
can't get something done.
When wishes fail
and hopes derail,
my face turns toward the sun.

But rain will fall
in spite of all;
blue skies still turn to gray.
My dream went wrong,
though I held strong
until it slipped away.

The line runs thin
from "hanging in" 
to empty hands and loss.
It's like a death;
you lose your breath
and marvel at the cost.

Two ways to go:
above, below.
Sink down or choose to rise.
My brand new dream
has open seams
and room for compromise.

This one looks bright,
but held less tightly,
it finds room to breathe.
As wisdom frees,
perfection flees
and once more, I believe.

Though first dreams go,
last(ing) dreams know
that life is not ideal.
Today I find
the world more kind…
my hope less blind, more real.

Some of you may wonder how this poem landed on my mental doorstep. It refers to what my sister and I like to call "the death of the dream," that critical moment when the weight of life experience and its accompanying adversity teach you that living on this earth is not exactly what you thought it would be when you were a small child dreaming of a perfect world. It comes as a real shock to the system, or at least it shocked my optimistic young soul when it happened my way. The odd thing is that it seems to come around again every so often, as if to strip off another layer of my naiveté and expose in all its glory the difficult, soul-stretching challenge life really is. As the admitted owner of a tendency to sport some rose-colored glasses, this is a good exercise for me. Having said that, it is not always a pleasurable one.

Recently, I've walked through another enlightening round of dream dampening, and this poem was my way of making peace with it. I'd be interested to know if any of it resonated with you.


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Happy 4th of July: Patriot Dreams

Patriot Dreams
©2015 Susan Noyes Anderson

I grew up in the golden years
when WWII was finally past.

A grateful country shed her fears
as fighting men came home at last.

We stood united, bold and brave,
inspired by freedoms we could name,

allied with nations we helped save,
and fair to those we overcame.

We worked together for one goal
Americans held fervently:

a union that was strong and whole,
a nation that was proud and free.

The means were often in dispute,
but one great end was crystal clear:

to crown with good and brotherhood
a land we all chose to revere.

We took a little, gave a little,
compromised to get things done.

Sometimes we met right in the middle
to ensure the country won.

Hard work was valued and rewarded;
independence was the prize.

Industry was praised, not thwarted.
All our hopes were on the rise.

Flags were flown and pledges spoken.
Songs of freedom filled the air.

Patriot dreams were still unbroken.
Faith waxed stronger than despair.

Values laid a sure foundation.
Cynicism held its tongue.

Firm resolve, not resignation,
was the gift we gave our young.

A land of dreamers? Yes, indeed.
Idealists? Sure, we aimed high.

Believing that we could succeed,
the limit was our starry sky.

But hope gave way to animus.
When did our vision lose its reach?

The answer lies in each of us.
Our children practice what we preach.

The love of country starts at home.
It’s learned upon a parent’s knee.

No patriot is born alone.
Beginnings frame our destiny.

Who trades belief for bitterness?
This nation thrives when men are true.

Commitment is not hit or miss.
The dream is ours. We'll see it through.

Walk tall on Independence Day.
Our liberty was bravely earned.

The path is clear. Let no one say
too many bridges have been burned.

Our land remains our land, and free.
Problems abound, but we are strong.

In order to claim victory,
we must believe. We must belong.

Respect and honor differences,
then focus on the things we share.

Negotiation is the key.
We get it right when we fight fair.

Fairness requires an open mind,
a listening ear, a lack of guile.

Why not leave enmity behind
 to serve our nation with a smile?

And as the fireworks light the stars,
give thanks to those who went before.

Their legacy, uniquely ours,
demands the best in us…and more.

Be brave; be loyal, and be true.
Ring bells; sing anthems; blow a horn.

Embrace this land of ours and prove
that patriot dreams can still be born.

Long may she wave.

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