The Inconsequential Dream

It’s a great house.

Even from the outside, I imagine that the ceilings are high, the windows wide, and the streaming in of light generous.

I imagine that all these factors give the dwellers of this house an illusion of occupying a great space, greatness here implying the very magnificence of an open airy and bright ambience, as well as the very figurative notion of belonging to greatness and thus destined for greatness.

Yet I never pass by this house without a second look. The first glance allows me a glimpse into the picket fence dream that many strive towards.

A white wooden fence, 4 feet high, only a couple of yards from a door, surrounds a tiny garden with dark green dull plants. On most occasions, a baby stroller rests just beneath a 3-steps stairway leading to the chalk white door. A grill with a red top almost always rests in a corner on the left side of the house, the red sharply contrasted against the very bright yellow of the house’s exterior.

Only after I’ve passed the house do I look again, this time intending to imagine the lives of its occupants.

I imagine a family of three, two parents determined to devote their love to each other and to the third member, an offspring, unaware of it, yet destined to live up to the values bespoken by this house. The values of exclusiveness, of a life of comfort that revolves around some lucky private corporation somewhere and this house.

The house looks great from the outside.

I imagine the inside looks great too. So do its occupants, a good-looking couple with a cute baby.

But each time this picture goes through my head,

I can’t help but feel crushed by the smallness of it all: the apparent lack of individuality of this house, given its similarity with the other purple, white and maroon houses in its neighborhood; the smallness of a life that only revolves around such a house; the inconsequentiality of a dream that strove towards so average an house, and so small a life.

You Hate that You Love

You hate that you love

And that you believe.

 

He’s no knight,

And has no shining armor

 

You know of the imperfections!

They are flaws

Not perfect imperfections.

 

You give, and you give

And you don’t receive

 

But you hope.

One day the goodness of your heart

The generosity of your soul

And the shine of your eyes,

Will pierce past the darkness

That is your flaws,

And his appreciation will find a home,

In you

 

 

 

The Dream That Fades

You know it was a dream

Because you woke up

To your tightly gripping reality

 

It was deceptive

All that freedom you saw to fly

To discover, to belong, and to own.

All that freedom you saw to go forth

Into the world and thither home.

The beautiful lands you saw

Were a dream.

 

Because in the vice of your reality

There is no freedom.

In the gripping abjection of a poverty

That despises your dreams,

Derides your desires

And urges you to cede,

And to hope for a heaven

Like many have for centuries,

There is no freedom.

 

You know of having the wings

Of possessing the will,

And of calling forth the faith,

But of failing to fly

 

You watch your faith fade,

And your will weaken.

You see your feathers loose youth,

You fear the end. You’re afraid

That you’ll never see the beautiful lands,

That tired of the deception

Even the dreams will stop.

 

 

A Life Worth Living

“. . .the wretchedness of the human existence

. . .the misguided belief that there is glamor in a human life . . .

and that causes like kids, dogs, the poor, can be lived for. . .

. . .and that these make for a life worth living . . .”

 

I read her, assured of my stands, convinced to disagree,

I know that I live above the misery of nihilism,

For I feel the joy of aliveness. Of purposefulness.

There must be glamor in life.

 

Timeless time later, an unwelcome mood descends,

One of contemplation, and of ruthless scrutiny.

My joy fades,  my stands are shaken.

For what do I live? And for what shall I live?

 

The comfort of home, of family, of abundance

Defies the excitement that rushes in my veins.

The temptation to let go, to be free,

Would destroy my stand in purposefulness,

And the very bases that nourishes my aliveness.

 

Yet to what end is a life worth living

To what fight shall my years be worth

Shall I fight for the swines, for the trees, for the poor,

Shall I fight for them all? To what end?

 

Nkatha Gitonga is a senior at Harvard studying Sociology and Global Health & Health Policy. She works at Argopoint, a Legal Department Management firm in Boston.