orange_prose: She-devil from Echo Bazaar (Default)
[personal profile] orange_prose
I thought I'd give you guys a copy of my short write for A.E. Houseman's "To an Athlete Dying Young" because I like it, but I don't know if the teacher will.

I never understood the hatred of the elderly, myself. My grandparents helped raise me, so perhaps this contributed to it. But, honestly, I don’t fear getting old. I fear dying very much, but not getting old. Oh, no, I’ll get wrinkly! And shorter! It doesn’t make sense to me.

So A.E. Houseman’s “To an Athlete Dying Young” made little sense to me. He is saying, or at least it seemed to me he was saying, that it is better for this man to die young and famous then old and unknown. But what use is glory and fame, anyway, and how is it really of any worth? I’m sure the young man would take life, instead.

I’ve been in three plays, and I know people who wish to be famous, and even some who I think are going to be. But I want to be a writer, and I see no glory in that. I don’t want it, in any case. I am done with other people’s opinions in this point in my life, and I do not particularly care how many people know my name, especially after I am dead. Depending on whom you ask, I will turn to dust, be having great fun, or be enduring torture. It seems to me that no matter what happens I will have bigger things to worry about then if people miss me. I will not be the most famous corpse in the cemetery, nor do I wish to be. Some person who wants it can have it.

And I sincerely hope this poem was never read to a child with terminal cancer, or even an athlete dying young. “Gee, mister, thanks. Sure, I’m dying, but you’ve decided I’ve done my best work anyway, so who cares.” So he runs fast now. Who cares? Maybe later that athlete would’ve become a scientist who cured cancer or the common cold or stupidity. Perhaps he would enact exciting laws. Maybe he doesn’t even really like running, he’s just doing it because his mom wants him to, and really, he wants to be a florist. And now he’s going to die, never having arranged hydrangeas in a vase.

In short, this poem made me a bit angry. Or, at least, the message I got from it angered me.
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orange_prose: She-devil from Echo Bazaar (Default)

November 2011


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