By Bob Carney

Drumming up the memory corps, I received flagging salutes from two old school mates, Langston and William.


Dream 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?

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?


ONE had a lovely face,
And two or three had charm,
But charm and face were in vain
Because the mountain grass
Cannot but keep the form
Where the mountain hare has lain.

In old school days, I counted William a steady friend. Many were our quiet, though at times emotional exchanges. I little knew his Ireland, of which he so often spoke. I had even less initiation to his occult, and even less did I fathom his fixation on Maud. She seemed to me a whole lot of trouble.

I was an envious friend, and in retrospect, not a true friend. I shan' promote myself above human. We are due some quarter as pure, unblended friendship is not of the human condition. Still my mix was of a poorly remembered recipe. I envied too much his facility of expression, his Ability, his dedication to purpose, and the fact that he'd found his True Calling... and there was more.

Langston, I scarcely knew. He showed me a poem, once. He came from a far side of the city. We didn' associate, and never had classes together. I recognized his effort as very fine. I read it twice, smiled and thought, "Ah, yes". Thereafter, I always spoke highly of Langston, and I admired him in right balance. We never met again after school.

William, was another matter. If Mozart is near to "The Absolute", William is nearer, as I regard Artistic Beauty in descending order: Poetry, Music, Sculpture, and Painting. Other forms do not make this list. This is the order of Elevation. It is a personal order. I don' wish to force it, or make a claim for its universality. That is irrelevant.

William spoke simply. As I listened, I came nearer to the Absolute. Simple words, and then a startling metaphor leaping to light-speed. Judge for yourself.

Everyone understood Langston, few William. Oh, they thought they did! I knew better. They quoted him, understood some little of the meaning, but felt little. They knew only that the words fit nicely. Pretenders!! True connections, true understanding, true appreciation of the verse and consequent emotional uplifting were for a select few. I made claim to that privilege, and felt better than the rest.

So follows that I resented William. I wanted his Power for myself. Thus deprived, I sought to duplicate his expression. A sorry flop, "it" did just about all of what Langston wrote about in his verse - save explode. This was indeed, a problem.