Poetry Friday: Dreams

This week my heart breaks for so many people: the Houston residents who are beginning the long process of rebuilding after Harvey’s floods, the islanders in the Caribbean whose homes and countries have been devastated by Irma, the Floridians (and others up the southeastern seaboard) who are bracing for Irma’s arrival, the residents of southern Mexico who still tremble with the aftershocks of an earthquake, the DREAMers who reached out for a chance for the American dream only to have it snatched away. With the onslaught of storms–both physical and political, I’m not sure what structures and institutions will be left standing once the storms subside. We will have much to rebuild, but I remain hopeful that we can rebuild a dream that is stronger and more inclusive.

As I’ve mourned for the dreams dashed by hurricanes and political storms this week, I turned to the poetry of Langston Hughes. So many of his poems return to dreams. First, there are dreams 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?

Read the rest of the poem here.

Like Hughes, I want to be a Dream Keeper for those whose dreams seem far away or impossible. I want to keep the safe from “the too-rough fingers/Of the world.”

Bring me all of your dreams,
You dreamers,
Bring me all of your
Heart melodies

Read the rest of the “The Dream Keeper” here.

But most of all, I want to dream of a world that offers peace and freedom and opportunity to all:

I dream a world where man
No other man will scorn,
Where love will bless the earth
And peace its paths adorn.

Read the rest of “I Dream a World” here.

No matter how dire the news is today or next week, dreams live on. If we work together, we can bring those dreams to fruition and nourish the dreams of us all. What do you dream for our world this week?

Each Friday, I am excited to take part in Poetry Friday, where writers share their love of all things poetry. Matt has the Poetry Friday Roundup today at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme. This week he celebrates the launch of his picture book Flashlight Night and has more news about another new book coming soon! Stop by and see what poetry morsels are offered this week. 

14 Comments on Poetry Friday: Dreams

  1. Brenda Harsham
    September 11, 2017 at 10:46 am (6 years ago)

    Hi Kay, That is a favorite poem by Langston Hughes. I think our dreams are as much part of us as our blood vessels, and when we give up on them, it leaves scars. So we need to hang on, even through adversity.

    • Mrs. McGriff
      September 11, 2017 at 10:59 am (6 years ago)

      Thanks, Brenda. I’m hanging on to our dreams and hope they will survive.

  2. Michelle Kogan
    September 10, 2017 at 11:13 pm (6 years ago)

    Thank you for these sparkling gems from Langston Hughes, he’s another favorite poem of mine! “I Dream a World,” like Langston Hughes, how can we put it any more succinctly or eloquently than he has here, thanks for all Kay!

    • Mrs. McGriff
      September 11, 2017 at 10:58 am (6 years ago)

      You’re welcome, Michelle. He’s one of my favorites, too, and he speaks across the ages.

  3. Mary Lee Hahn
    September 9, 2017 at 7:01 pm (6 years ago)

    You turned to the perfect poet and the perfect theme for this time of disasters. Dreams and hope will help us through these tough times.

    • Mrs. McGriff
      September 11, 2017 at 10:58 am (6 years ago)

      Thanks, Mary Lee. I’m finding that Hughes’ words are very timely right now.

  4. Diane Mayr
    September 9, 2017 at 11:09 am (6 years ago)

    Kay, it’s amazing how these poems apply to the hurricane victims and the DACA kids.

    It seems like we keep spinning around.

    • Mrs. McGriff
      September 9, 2017 at 1:49 pm (6 years ago)

      It is amazing. As I’ve worked on memorizing Hughes’ I Dream A World this week, I can apply it to so much of what is happening today. It almost becomes a prayer.

  5. Jane @ Raincity Librarian
    September 8, 2017 at 11:46 pm (6 years ago)

    I try to take comfort in the years I spent as a student of history – humanity’s course through the centuries has been filled with peaks and valleys, with incredible highs and terrible, soul-crushing lows. We have been beset by war and famine, disaster and disease, and unspeakable horrors the likes of which we can only pray we will never see again, and still we have always come through as a species somehow. We are in a valley, no doubt about that, but I have to believe that we will all crawl back up to the top of the peak again, together, eventually.

    • Mrs. McGriff
      September 9, 2017 at 1:48 pm (6 years ago)

      Yes, Jane! History does give a valuable perspective. I studied English as my major, but it included lots of history to give context to the literature we read. Looking back over all of time, I can see those other valleys we’ve traveled through and take hope that we will get through these days, too. Now if we can just learn from our history rather than blindly repeating it.

  6. Linda
    September 8, 2017 at 6:20 pm (6 years ago)

    What a perfect poetic summary to this week. My heart breaks too. Stay strong, Kay. The poems really do help.

    • Mrs. McGriff
      September 9, 2017 at 1:47 pm (6 years ago)

      Oh Linda, the poems do help. Writing them helps me process what’s going on, and reading one that expresses my heart gives such comfort. I was looking for comfort this week.

  7. Linda Baie
    September 8, 2017 at 1:15 pm (6 years ago)

    I hope that we all feel this sympathy for those who are in such need, Kay, and keep our dreams of peace and well-being alive.

    • Mrs. McGriff
      September 8, 2017 at 4:41 pm (6 years ago)

      Me, too, Linda. I am hopeful that those who dream of peace will prevail.


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