We had started a column featuring English articles and poems from all age groups, but it was interruped. We are restarting it, with a poem by Raju Thomas.. Kindly read and send us your comments. The poetry section will be managed by Raju Thomas, who will read your contributions and suggest changes, if needed.
Introduction to the poem Requiem for A Dream
– Sudhir Panikkaveetil
Raju has written a poem of mourning composed as a memorial to a dream. According to the poet the dream is dead. By mourning the poet gives a hint that it is a loss and cannot be regained. Even paradise could be regained but dreams lost are lost. If we substitute the word dream with desires we realize that it never dies.
Why man dreams and why his dreams die? What are dreams? There are fanciful dreams fulfillment of which is remote. We have visions and dreams. I think the poet had contracted the scope of dreams and narrating it to suit the atmosphere of American dream and America. Let us read the poem and find out what he wants to convey us.
I believe poet Raju Thomas is talking about the American Dream in this poem. America, the land of opportunity had and has been attracting people from all parts of the world. They all came here with a dream of achieving a better and happier life. But not all of them could fulfill their dreams probably because they had over inflated expectations. Martin Luther King had a dream of racial equality which was at that time was an impossible dream without any glint of its realization. But after his untimely and tragic death the dream has come true. As far as Indians are concerned the magical words of American Dream is ingrained in to their life and they covet to shortcut wealth. They hope to have economic independence and social advancement through financial gain. The goal of life of a person is only material comforts it is quite natural in due course of time they become callous and selfish. The poet says that ‘some do rise above the fray and filth to the larger view and do some good. It is an undeniable fact that many immigrants have achieved prosperity and fulfilled their in this country.
The poet informs us that Brahma send the human being to the earth informing that it is out of reach for angels and devils. It is our belief that angels look after us from calamities and devils put us into troubles. If both are absent then we are responsible for all the consequences of our actions. I think he is pointing that ‘earth” as USA for the better understanding of the readers where talent and enthusiasm enable a person to define and decide his destiny. In fact praying God and dreaming of heavenly help will not do much help to human beings and they should earn their bread with their sweat.
Shakespeare in his drama The Tempest wrote “we are such stuff that dreams are...” He stated that life is a dream; whatever we enjoy in it is not real. We lose our dream when we awake. According to him when we die we awake from the dream of life into true reality. In this poem the poets states about people coming to USA with lot of dreams and later realize that it will never be fulfilled, they become callous and they become mechanical.
The last line vividly explains the mental agony of the person who could only sigh for his old self and for the dream he had seen.
In the poem of Wordsworth “Intimations of Immorality” he details the glory of childhood. He writes about the gains and losses of growing older. In fact human beings do not have a steady dream as it keep on changing with the time and the stages of his life. Lamenting over our lost dreams is useless unless we are able to distinguish the fanciful and plain dreams.
Requiem for A Dream
Kissing the ground, prostrate, at JFK,
hugging the sponsor most gratefully,
eyes moist with straightforward and
simple thoughts ‘n emotions, arrives
a bright and buoyant new immigrant.
He too brings some dreams with him.
Nameless and wordless, amorphous,
they will surely change–nay morph.
Would you then that change impute
to him, or accept that he too caught,
through the very air and water here,
the general fever of the land at last?
That dream should be much akin to
that of any one of the zillion souls
afloat in the Dark Matter of Akash,
that Brahma kindly touches, saying:
Go take a human form on fair Earth,
which, of the myriad worlds that be,
is out of reach for angels and devils.
Alas! Growing up, that infant learns
that Earth is ever the battleground
for all the forces of evil and of good.
Thus did the dream that I had sour.
Thus did I shake it off to walk easy.
Such greed and strife avail but grief–
sweat, tears and blood at every turn–
as the mortal yields to entropy, to be
forgotten in just a generation or two.
Some do rise above the fray and filth
to the larger view and do some good.
In coming to the US, my own dream
only died to callous, selfish schemes.
So my winsome, studied smile belies
all the wicked dreams I dream secret.
Behind this mask I sometimes sigh
for that old self and for that dream.