Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains Of The Day is said to be one of the most highly regarded post-war British novels. It was made famous by the movie starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. It is a quietly moving story about the stirrings of the human heart. What if the heart is misguided, by blind loyalty, for instance? Does it mean that the premise of one’s existence is being taken away? In the movie, Hopkins played to perfection the butler who served with utter devotion. But it is his relationship to the housekeeper, Miss Keaton, which is of interest. Suffice to say he never moved the relationship to the next level.
“Rather, it was as though one had available a never-ending number of days, months, years in which to sort out the vagaries of one’s relationship with Miss Kenton; an infinite number of further opportunities in which to remedy the effect of this or that misunderstanding. There was surely nothing to indicate at the time that such evidently small incidents would render whole dreams forever irredeemable.”
When he met Miss Keaton, now Mrs Benn, 20 years later, she seemed to be not happily married but reconciled with her married state. And he had the occasion to reflect on the life he had led. He didn’t actively regret those lost and misguided stuff on which his life was based though but set out to live out the rest of his days according to the mold he had cast for himself. Is it a worthy life? If he thinks so, so it was.
So hopefully this will make you reflect upon regrets and lost opportunities in a poem.