Friday, April 3, 2009

Poems of Reflection

There lies a book on my small, overcrowded shelf, its binding tearing and decorations coming unglued further each time I wedge it out to read.

This book is a reflection of past ideas and thoughts which have stayed with me, of original and unoriginal poems collected from my sophomore year in high-school, cataloging the efforts of someone trying to find his place in the world. No matter how many new ventures taken or chapters in my life written, these poems read the same soul-inspiring way they always have.

Since taking up the challenge of becoming a photojournalist, I have been enriched by a lifestyle of constant interaction with everything intrinsic to life, of capturing history and emotion in a tangible form, although the future can sometimes appear too far away for me to grasp.

Throughout such moments of uncertainty or confusion, I have been reassured by my never fading confidence that no matter where I end up, I'll know that I worked my hardest and with the fullest of heart to get there (nobody said it would be easy). And I won't allow myself to be anything less than happy, loving, and grateful, too.

This book of poems reminds me of what I've always known, and reading through it helps remove any doubts or suspicions that my life will somehow be less fulfilled.

On looking back on what could have been:

Summer Storm

We stood on the rented patio
While the party went on inside.
You knew the groom from college.
I was a friend of the bride.

We hugged the brownstone wall behind us
To keep our dress clothes dry
And watched the sudden summer storm
Floodlit against the sky.

The rain was like a waterfall
Of brilliant beaded light,
Cool and silent as the stars
The storm hid from the night.

To my surprise, you took my arm–
A gesture you didn't explain–
And we spoke in whispers, as if we two
Might imitate the rain.

Then suddenly the storm receded
As swiftly as it came.
The doors behind us opened up.
The hostess called your name.

I watched you merge into the group,
Aloof and yet polite.
We didn't speak another word
Except to say goodnight.

Why does that evening's memory
Return with this night's storm–
A party twenty years ago,
Its disappointments warm?

There are so many might have beens,
What ifs that won't stay buried,
Other cities, other jobs,
Strangers we might have married.

And memory insists on pining
For places it never went,
As if life would be happier
Just by being different.

-- Dana Gioia

On the choices made and directions taken in life; my recent (past year) pursuit in becoming a professional photojournalist:

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

-- Robert Frost