December 16, 2004
Brief analysis of "Salutation to the dawn"
It focuses on a single day: "Look to this Day". Or alternatively, the time between "For Yesterday is but a Dream" and "Tomorrow is only a Vision".
The metaphor, "For it is Life", means that life and today are the same. This is true in the sense that we experience life in the present. As we experience life, we are experiencing today. Everything prior to today is a memory or a "dream". Yesterday cannot be changed. And everything beyond today is a "vision". Tomorrow cannot yet be lived. The only point in time that we can experience or change is now or today.
The poem is fast paced. The poem as a whole is short, as are the lines. This reflects the fast pace of life as lived by a person who focuses on today.
It also casts today in a positive light. After all, no matter how bad the past has been, it doesn't matter. We can always make things better today. The past can be viewed as the path that lead us to the point where we can make things better today, a "Dream of Happiness". And for a person who makes things better one day at a time, the future is a "Vision of Hope".
Even if the world around us won't give us a clean slate, we can always give ourselves a clean slate.
So I agree that we should recognize the potential of the dawn and the opportunities it opens. Or as the Romans said, "carpe diem" or "seize the day".
As a reflection on how everything prior to today is a memory (and a distorted reality at that) cf. the opening line of Hartley's novel "The Go-Between": 'The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.'