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Analysis of My Dreams My Works Must Wait Till After Hell by Gwendolyn Brooks



The Overview

It is such a bad sight to be in an unwanted confinement_ be it imprisonment, be it sickness, be it captivity, be it compulsory babysitting. The truth is no one loves to be denied freedom_ not even poets.

In the poem "Letter to Martha 17" Dennis Brutus wrote of the negative effect of confinement. Stephen Spender did the same in the poem "My Parents Kept Me From Children Who Were Rough"

Gwendolyn Brooks also expressed her unhappiness with freedom denied by illness. In the poem, she referred to illness as devil when she wrote in line 8 of the poem "Hoping that, when the devil days of my hurt". The themes that resonated in the poem are freedom, duty, illness, aging, etc.

The poet could not practice her duties or routines as a result of the sickness that confined her with pain. Even though she pictured old age as the cause of her loneliness, she enjoyed the freedom to eat her honey and bread at when due until such freedom was taken. In anticipation to return home, she became uncertain of her sensitivity to the delightful taste of honey and bread.


The Poem

I hold my honey and I store my bread
In little jars and cabinets of my will.
I label clearly, and each latch and lid
I bid, Be firm till I return from hell.
I am very hungry. I am incomplete.
And none can give me any word but Wait,
The puny light. I keep my eyes pointed in;
Hoping that, when the devil days of my hurt
Drag out to their last dregs and I resume
On such legs as are left me, in such heart
As I can manage, remember to go home,
My taste will not have turned insensitive
To honey and bread old purity could love.


The Poet

"Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks was born on June 7, 1917, in Topeka, Kansas. She was the first child of David Anderson Brooks and Keziah Brooks. Her father, a janitor for a music company, had hoped to pursue a career as a doctor but sacrificed that aspiration to get married and raise a family. Her mother was a school teacher as well as a concert pianist trained in classical music. Family lore held that Brooks' paternal grandfather had escaped slavery to join the Union forces during the American Civil War", so says Wikipedia article.
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Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying)
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