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SPEECH TO THE YOUNG, SPEECH TO THE PROGRESS-TOWARD

by Gwendolyn Brooks

  Say to them,
  say to the down-keepers,
3 the sun-slappers,
  the self-soilers,
  the harmony-hushers,
6 "Even if you are not ready for day it cannot always be night."
  You will be right.
  For that is the hard home-run.

9 Live not for battles won.
  Live not for the-end-of-the-song.
  Live in the along.

ANALYSIS ON THE POEM

by rdude

This poem is very interesting. Even the title is interesting. What does Progress-Toward mean? I think that the Progress-Toward are a type of people, like the Young. They are people who want to make the world a better place. To progress toward something better.

What is a down-keeper (line 2)? That's pretty simple: someone who keeps you down. When you feel happy, they make you sad. When you have a dream, they crush your hopes. We've all met at least one person like this in our lives.

What is a sun-slapper (line 3)? Most people associate the sun with happy things. Sun-slapper-type people want to take away those happy things. They are the clouds, and they want to intentionally block out the sun. This is probably because they're unhappy themselves, so they weant everybody else to be unhappy.

What is a self-soiler (line 4)? The literal meaning would be someone who didn't quite make it to the restroom in time. ;-) But, in this case, I think it is someone who has little (or no) self-respect. They degrade themselves, and put themselves down. They block out their own sun. Usually, these people want you to act like them.

What is a harmony-husher (line 5)? Most people equate harmony with peace, and hapiness. Someone who hushes harmony does away with peace and hapiness. These people have no reason to make the world unpeaceful, but they do it anyway.

The next line is: "Even if you are not ready for day it cannot always be night." This one I'm not quite sure about. It might mean that even though these people are not ready for the world to move on, it must. Even if they do not want to face the sunshine, the hapiness, they cannot stop it from coming. Then, line 8 says: "That is the hard home-run." Perhaps this means that doing what the poem says to do is hard?

In line 9: "Live not for battles won". I think this means to not dwell on the past. Dwelling on the past will get you nowhere. Line 10: "Live not for the-end-of-the-song", probably means, don't live for something in the future. Don't always be waiting for the right time, because it will never come. I think line 11: "Live in the along", means to live in the now. Do things now. Don't dwell on the past or wait for the future. The only way to predict the future, is to define it.

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