yesterday was blue, like smoke



Yesterday was blue, like smoke.
We walked through the cloud
Of the unknown, the unseen:
Matters of hope and hopelessness,
Joy and sorrow, laughter and tears;
In order to find our true purpose.
From there, we awoke
To the dawning of the sublime;
Where stars shine like beacons,
Glittering the path where we break the yoke
To our past, to our struggle, to our unending night.
We are beckoned to the blaze, to stoke
The flame of red and orange and blue.
And the smoke fills this place and our lungs
With hope. Now we long for the day
When we will say: Today is this,
And tomorrow will be that.
This is what is true, this is what is spoke.


Background: The line “[y]esterday was blue, like smoke”comes from the absurd yet existential play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard. This line is found at the end of Act 2 when Guildenstern and Rosencrantz discuss the change in season from summer to autumn. Rosencrantz remains on the surface with this conversation by only concerning himself with the fears of being cold in the fall and winter; whereas, Guildenstern immediately jumps to a deeper level by discussing the “browness at the edges of the day” and how “[b]rown is creeping up on [them]” as if he is completely aware that they are nearing the finality of their existence in the play (their proverbial winter). Meanwhile in the same scene, Hamlet converses with the soldier from Norway as the three schoolmates make their way to see the King of England with an official letter from the Danish King (which originally calls for the death of Hamlet; however, along their journey, Hamlet rewrites the letter to the King of England, which then calls for the immediate death of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern).

Throughout the play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern vainly attempt to cope with the predetermined fate (via Shakespeare’s Hamlet) of their impending death. To universalize this notion, we can consider ourselves as characters in the play of life, and like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, we are all aware of the inevitability of our own demise. Yet, we soldier on through life and act as if it (death, our necessary end) weren’t completely true or applicable to us. We attempt to find meaning in this beautiful and tragic play of life.

4 thoughts on “yesterday was blue, like smoke

  1. Dear Sir,

    I came across your poem by googling Yesterday was blue, like smoke. I have been obsessed with R & G are Dead since I discovered it as a teenager. It appealed to me because it encapsulated my teenage existence perfectly. That line has always haunted me. I found myself saying it out loud and thought I’d type it into google. I love your poem. Something in the metre and perhaps the sentiment too reminds me of Frost. I just want to say thank you. I’m having an odd day and your poem has brought me some real relief.



    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m honored and humbled by your comment. Thank you for sharing it with me on my blog. The beauty of literature is in the details –the tiny nuances and brush strokes found in the blank parts of the page. There is something profoundly healing and restorative engrained in the artistic expressions of the written word. Oh, and as awkward as it is to inform someone of a piece of food in his teeth or that his fly is down, I must tell you that I’m a ma’am not sir :). Your comments were kind and refreshing to me nonetheless. Thank you.


  2. Reblogged this on Read, it's what smart people do! and commented:

    I wrote this poem several years ago…it was one of those moments of clarity. The words came easily, fluidly, quickly — it seemed the pen would not move fast enough. Since I am going back to work next week, I feel a shift in momentum — I am on the cusp of epiphany and revelatory actualization, which is anything but blue…


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