Ok, I don’t want to be one of those tools that writes an intro that’s longer than the poem and this poem is hella short, so we may have already failed.
I used to put this poem and the book that made it famous, “The Outsiders,” in the category of “waa, whiny white teenagers boo fucking hoo.”
See Caulfied, Holden.
It’s all about how life changes quickly; and the good and innocence giving way every time. Nothing gold *can* stay. It’s inevitable.
As a poor, chubby black girl who lived in the ghetto with her immigrant single mother, I had no sense of nostalgia for anything. Except for my mom, EVERYTHING sucked. My apartment sucked, my building sucked, my clothes sucked, my hair sucked, my block sucked. You name it, it sucked it.
So, as I went off to fancy schmancy prep schools and Ivy League universities, I had no patience for any idealization of “childhood” or “poverty” or “oh, you came from the streets, how wonderful.”
It sucked. Now put your blazer back on and shut the fuck up about how ever since the divorce, your daddy will only pay for four weeks of space camp. Yeah, he’s the douche.
For me, everything in my life was getting better. And that’s the way I liked it. I didn’t want any of that shit to stay. But today, the days are shorter, the nights are cooler, October – and the end of the first decade of the millenia – loom just on the horizon, I can appreciate the sense of loss. I understand nostalgia for friends and good times long gone. I see the value in thinking on the wonders you took for granted or didn’t even notice because you were moving too quickly or your mind was preoccupied with whatever thing you thought was more important. But at the same time accepting that it was so precious because it couldn’t last. And so, to close out September, we choose another Robert Frost classic.
Here’s to the gold in our lives, now gone forever.
Not to my childhood though, that still sucked.
Nothing Gold Can Stay – Robert Frost
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.