Thursday, January 22, 2009

Gray by Alice Walker

This poem has been a favorite of mine for years. I recited it in front of my English class in college...


I have a friend
who is turning gray,
not just her hair,
and I do not know
why this is so.

Is it a lack of vitamin E
pantothenic acid, or B-12?
Or is it from being frantic
and alone?

'How long does it take you to love someone?'
I ask her.
'A hot second,' she replies.
'And how long do you love them?'
'Oh, anywhere up to several months.'
'And how long does it take you
to get over loving them?'
'Three weeks,' she said, 'tops.'

Did I mention I am also
turning gray?
It is because I "adore" this woman
who thinks of love
in this way.

~Alice Walker

After I read this poem, people were invited to ask me questions. One was more of a request asking me to summarize what I believe this poem means. In my opinion it is pretty self explanatory. I truly think everyone knows someone who is like this. Someone incapable of giving them self in an act of pure love. It eats away at Walker to love a woman so meaningfully who doesn't completely grasp the true concept of love. In any event, I finished explaining the poems meaning to me. Immediately a boy's hand raised (not being the most liked in class, I was not looking forward to his remarks). He proceeded to ask me, "What about if you don't know anyone like this". He did get me at that one considering my opening statement was "I truly think everyone knows someone who is like this";however, the witty wheels started turning in my mind when I retorted, "Well then, I believe it is safe to assume that in your circle, that particular someone is you." With that I excused myself and exited towards the restroom.

I haven't thought about that moment for a long time - strange that it would pop up in my mind now.

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