If only I could catch my dreams,
and keep them in a jar.
I’d watch them dance like fireflies,
flickering like stars.
They would grow and I’d let them go
to see how far they’d fly,
lighting up the pitch-black night,
as they soar throughout the sky.
I like this poem because on first reading it, it seems very sad and bitter, almost in a satisfying way – like a Dorothy Parker poem. The speaker is testing her dreams and letting them go. However, looking more closely I discovered that there is also a more uplifting side to the poem. The dreams don’t die as the speaker sets them loose, but light up the night. They bring a happiness and a clearness to her situation, even if they are no longer kept safe in a jar.
The sentence “They would grow and I’d let them go” implies that this is natural, desirable, simply the course of life. You have dreams, and they shape and guide you but you don’t necessarily need to fulfil them for them to serve a purpose. It’s ok if you just let them dance around like fireflies and have a little giggle at how pretty they look in the night. Quite comforting, I think.
If you’d like to read more by Christie Ann Martine you can visit her website where all poems have pretty old-typewriter layouts.