On Dreams Deferred & Piano Playing

I’ve been thinking about the poem Harlem lately. My husband gave me a metrynom for Christmas. At 35, I have longed to play piano for many years. I have felt a call to music in the depths of my soul. But it has been somewhat of a shattered and painful dream. I have imagined being a composer and making genius scores of music. I have so clearly pictured a potential greatness in myself. However, this feirce hope has sometimes made a fool of me. This dream of playing has been a mocking desire. I have sat in wait, in sadness, in disappointment and my own inability to not be able to play overnight. As a child I banged at my grandparents piano. The crashing sounds called to me. Lately, I can make more order, beauty and music from my keyboard. It is a thrilling thing. Once I was volunteering at a nonprofit to help teachers, and hidden in the back of a warehouse was an orchestra practicing. The sound of these different instruments tuning was so powerful, so beyond ordinary. 

In Langston Hughes’ poem, we feel the agony of longing, of a thing deeply desired but out of reach. The apex of the poem speaks of explosion. Today, I see that explosion as fruition. As the extacy of joy the can come in true fulfillment.


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?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *