Thursday, October 09, 2003

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Sometimes when I am alone and feeling down, I often think about this poem here and in a way it helps me put things into perspective.

Nothing Gold Can Stay – by 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.

I first learned about this poem from watching the movie “The Outsiders” at the age of 9. It was one of the earliest movies that I really understood the message it carried and have held it dear to my heart even to this day. Thanks to this wonderful movie, I discovered both SE Hinton and Robert Frost whose works I would tirelessly pour myself into as a child and adore until today.

As I understand it, the poem talks of how fleeting everything is and that things will always change no matter how much we want it to stay the same. To me, nature’s first green is a metaphor for youth or this particular moment in time depending on the context of the reading of the poem. It is this item that is hard to hold on to as it would have to fade away with the passage of time. Since that passage of time is unstoppable we have to be always mindful that nothing lasts forever and that we should cherish every moment from one moment to the next.

Every time I feel down about something and am reminded of this particular poem, I realize that however bad things seem to be at the moment, I would be remiss if I don’t appreciate the moment for what it can possibly be. A particular moment in time that comes to test my resolve in this journey along the swift eddies of life. Each point in the river is a milestone for good or bad and would never return once passed. Rather than deriding my fate at that particular point in the journey, wouldn’t it be much better to celebrate the moment for what it is and move on knowing that we had not wasted the first hue carelessly?

Whichever way I see it, this poignant poem is one of my favorite poems of all time and one of the very few that I can quote from memory. It also inspired the song “Stay Gold” by Stevie Wonder which was also the theme song for “The Outsiders”. This song is a worthy companion piece to the original poem. I would never tire of both watching this movie and listening to this song although the movie is close to 20 years old and I must have seen it about 25 times.

Stay Gold – sung by Stevie Wonder from the movie “The Outsiders”

Seize upon that moment long ago
One breath away and there you will be
So young and carefree
Again you will see
That place in gold

Steal away into that way back when
You thought that all would last forever
But like the weather
Nothing can ever...and be in time
Stay gold

But can it be
When we can see
So vividly
A memory
And yes you say
So must the day
Too, fade away
And leave a ray of sun
So gold

Life is but a twinkling of an eye
Yet filled with sorrow and compassion
Though not imagined
All things that happen
Will age too old
Though gold

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