When I was in college I was introduced to this poem 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?
This poem has returned to me every time a dream I had seemed to pass me by (and for this hopeful romantic there were many such moments). I’ve experienced all the options Hughes offers, and by far the explosion is the most daunting and enjoyable. The daunt comes from the unknown, the joy from seeing the dream become a thing of its own. In more recent years the fulfillment of dreams has become less important than the journey, and the journey itself less important than the people I share it with.
What’s more important to you?
In the hopes of more inspiration I made sure to keep this collection of Hughes’s work on my bookshelf.