…and doing it with a poem.
Gatsby’s House of Cards
I build a dream of happiness:
Awkward hope and whispered lies,
Like Gatsby’s great mansion of playing cards
Tumbling down around his view
Of unreachable green lights,
Pearls of great price passed over
For lumps of alchemists’ lead
Mocking those who believe;
Those who mistake Green incandescence
In the dark, empty night
For glittering gold in a world of jazz
Equally dark and empty.
We read The Great Gatsby this semester, and the idea for this poem came to me while studying for finals. I thought about how Gatsby’s capacity for self-invention makes him great, except the self he invents is a lie. The nobility of his ultimate goal – Daisy’s heart – is debatable, but it is certainly not the first time a man pretended to be something he is not to impress a lady. I do respect Gatsby’s discipline and focus in his pursuit of that which he hopes will make him happy.
My thoughts transitioned to myself. What are my goals? Are they noble? Is my pursuit of those goals sincere, or is it laced with dishonesty aimed at impressing others? Do I, like Gatsby, pretend to be something I am not? I worry about two things: if my moments of progress are nothing more than cards teetering precariously on each other, or if I am making real progress that I need to better recognize. I want to be intellectually great. Sometimes I want that “greatness” to impress others, but mostly I want it for my happiness… I think. Maybe I’m just standing out in the dark, staring at green lights of scholastic pipe dreams.
I’ll post essays, poems, papers, and thoughts here from time to time. I invite all my readers to leave feedback, recommendations, criticism, corrections, etc. in order to help me become a better writer and thinker.