Original: "Dream On" by Aerosmith
every time that I look in the mirror
all these lines on my face getting clearer
the past is gone
it went by like dusk to dawn
isn't that the way
everybody's got their dues in life to pay
yeah, I know nobody knows
where it comes and where it goes
I know it's everybody's sin
you got to lose to know how to win
half my life's in books' written pages
live and learn from fools and from sages
you know it's true
all the things you do, come back to you
sing with me, sing for the years
sing for the laughter and sing for the tears
sing with me, if it's just for today
maybe tomorrow the good Lord will take you away
dream on, dream on, dream on,
dream yourself a dream come true
dream on, dream on, dream on,
and dream until your dream comes true
"Do With Myself"
My fortieth birthday, I wake up
The face in the mirror, no makeup
Looks craggy and shriveled
I simply don't know what to do with myself
I make my breakfast and stare at the eggs
pupils over-easy, looking back at my legs
I can see them accusing me
No reasons excusing me
Of all the things I refuse to do with myself
A thought runs through me from those runny yolks
We should get out there and live before we're old folks
There's no reason not to
I've just simply got to
Find out exactly what to do with myself
Here I am, facing the road ahead
Ain't got no fear, ain't got no dread
There's only one life to live
Gotta give all I can give
Now that I know what to do with myself
In my poem "Do With Myself," I thought about the ideas in Steven Tyler's lyrics to "Dream On" about growing older, having "half my life in books' written pages," and the need to be able to have dreams and aspirations. In Tyler's lyrics, he wishes to make sure that people at least give life a try, even if they fail - "you got to lose to know how to win." My poem deals with a forty-year-old woman looking in the mirror and realizing how old and settled down she is, stuck doing mundane tasks. Looking at her breakfast, she suddenly sees life looking back at her, and realizes that she's got to keep going. This is the same sort of sentiment in "Dream On," since Tyler urges us to "dream on" and "live and learn from fools and from sages," always trying even when we feel it's too late to start over again.
Listening to this song for years, Dream On has been one of my favorite Aerosmith songs. With that in mind, I chose to think about what it really meant. It's an invigorating song that gets us to feel alive and search for meaning in our own lives. Noting that the narrator of the poem/song is someone who has let his life pass him by for far too long, I thought about someone else who would realize the same thing. I think these kinds of things happen in really mundane ways, so I thought about the idea of having a huge epiphany about your life in something as mundane as breakfast. The repeating motif 'what to do with myself' came about as it seems to be our ultimate question - even when we think we know what life is about, we need to know what we want to do while we're living it. Sometimes we get stuck in ruts and don't know how to escape them; we just need the motivation at times.
4. Answer this question: In your experience of writing the poem, do you think you followed the ideas of William Wordsworth or T.S. Eliot?: Given Eliot""?s Modernist argument with Wordsworth the Romantic, where would you position your poem? Do you write from strong emotion? Do you recollect emotion in tranquility, or are you a cold craftsman? (1-3 paragraphs)
I would definitely say that my poem is much more in the tradition of Wordsworth than Eliot. It is a very emotional piece that speaks to very basic ideas; perhaps it is not the most well-constructed, but I did my best to try and convey the quiet desperation of someone who realizes that their life up to now is not what they wanted. To that end, there are very romantic ideas at play regarding the grand adventure of our lives which Wordsworth would very much subscribe to.
As for my own emotional writing, I tend to write somewhat from tranquility, especially with really emotional pieces like these. Unlike with Eliot, I try to make my writing as personal as possible, not escaping from my feelings but delving deep into them. My own anxieties about death and my own direction in life fuelled my writing, so that the intent comes from, at the very least, a highly emotional place for me. I imagined myself in the same position as the narrator, lost and adrift in a boring life with no adventures to call my own. If I were in their position, I would do the same thing.
Eliot, T.S. "Tradition and the Individual Talent."
Wordsworth, W. "Preface to Lyrical Ballads."