Friday, April 8, 2011
Day Eight - Speech to the Young, Speech to the Progress-Toward by Gwendolyn Brooks
SPEECH TO THE YOUNG, SPEECH TO THE PROGRESS-TOWARD
Say to them,
say to the down-keepers,
“Even if you are not ready for day it cannot always be night .”
You will be right.
For that is the hard home-run.
Live not for battles won.
Live not for the-end-of-the-song.
Live in the along.
Speech to the Young, Speech to the Progress-Toward by Gwendolyn Brooks
Ms. Brooks was one of those rare poets who you could count on for equal parts style and substance. This unusual, yet highly palatable balance made her poetry easy on the ears and challenging to the mind. Speech to the Young, Speech to the Progress-Toward is just one of those poems. Like some of her other poems, most notably We Real Cool, Brooks establishes a cadence in this poem that propels it forward. This driving rhythm doesn’t come at the cost of a theme. Brooks implores herself to stir the complacent and misguided youth by speaking to the “down-keepers,” “sun-slappers,” “self-soilers,” and “harmony-hushers,” and delivering a firm, yet hopeful message. It doesn’t matter if you are set on oppressing others or you oppress yourself with your laziness, Brooks has words for you. She wants you to know that “even if you are not ready for day it cannot always be night.” Change is coming, whether you like it or not. She knows the change is coming and this is why she “will be right.” In this instance, her vision of what is to come is “the hard home-run,” it is the winning play, but even if she does not win or hear the message in the final notes of her favorite song, Brooks is not content with settling for a courtside seat to her own life. Like Gwendolyn Brooks, we should all strive to “live in the along.”