Friday, November 13, 2015

Poetry about Dreams


In the God’s Dreams
BY james laughlin

Am I a character in the dreams
of the god Hermes the messenger?   
Certainly many of my dreams   
have nothing to do with the   
common life around me. There   
are never any automobiles or   
airplanes in them. These   
dreams belong to an age in   
the distant past, to a time   
perhaps when nothing was   
written down, to the
time of memory.

I chose Hermes not out of   
vanity but because from what   
I’ve read about him he had a   
pretty good time, was not   
just a drunkard on Olympus.   
In his traipsings delivering   
divine messages he must have   
met some pretty girls who   
gave him pleasure. We know   
that he invented the lyre   
for the benefit of poets,   
and Lucian relates in his   
Dialogues of the Dead that   
he was the god of sleep
and dreams.

My dreams are not frightening,   
they are not nightmares. But   
their irrationality puzzles
me. What is Hermes trying to
tell me? Is he playing a game   
with me? Last Monday night   
I dreamt about a school for   
young children who had heads   
but no bodies. Last night it   
was a cow that was galloping   
in our meadow like a horse.   
Another night, and this one   
was a bit scary, I swam across   
the lake with my head under   
water, I didn’t have to breathe air.

What is the message of these   
dreams? Into what kind of world   
is Hermes leading me? It’s not   
the world described daily in the   
New York Times. A world of   
shadows? A kind of levitation?

How can I pray to Hermes to lay   
off these senseless fantasies,
tell him that I want real dreams   
such as my shrink can explicate.

I’ve looked up lustration in
the dictionary. Its definition
is not encouraging: “a prefatory   
ceremony, performed as a preliminary   
to entering a holy place.” That’s
too impersonal. I want a man-to-man   
talk with Hermes, telling him to   
stop infesting my nights with
his nonsense.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla, by Richard Wagner

Toad dreams
By  marge piercy
That afternoon the dream of the toads rang through the elms by Little River and affected the thoughts of men, though they were not conscious that they heard it.--Henry Thoreau
The dream of toads: we rarely
credit what we consider lesser
life with emotions big as ours,
but we are easily distracted,
abstracted. People sit nibbling
before television's flicker watching
ghosts chase balls and each other
while the skunk is out risking grisly
death to cross the highway to mate;
while the fox scales the wire fence
where it knows the shotgun lurks
to taste the sweet blood of a hen.
Birds are greedy little bombs
bursting to give voice to appetite.
I had a cat who died of love.
Dogs trail their masters across con-
tinents. We are far too busy
to be starkly simple in passion.
We will never dream the intense
wet spring lust of the toads.

The White Island, or Place of the Blest
BY robert herrick

      In this world, the isle of dreams,
      While we sit by sorrow’s streams,
      Tears and terrors are our themes

      But when once from hence we fly,
      More and more approaching nigh
             Unto young eternity,

       In that whiter island, where
       Things are evermore sincere;
       Candor here and luster there

    There no monstrous fancies shall
       Out of hell an horror call,
       To create, or cause at all,

    There, in calm and cooling sleep
      We our eyes shall never steep,
       But eternal watch shall keep,

    Pleasures, such as shall pursue
         Me immortalized, and you;
        And fresh joys, as never too
                  Have ending.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Lisle joyeuse by Claude Debussy

The Dream
BY john donne
Dear love, for nothing less than thee
Would I have broke this happy dream;
            It was a theme
For reason, much too strong for fantasy,
Therefore thou wak'd'st me wisely; yet
My dream thou brok'st not, but continued'st it.
Thou art so true that thoughts of thee suffice
To make dreams truths, and fables histories;
Enter these arms, for since thou thought'st it best,
Not to dream all my dream, let's act the rest.

   As lightning, or a taper's light,
Thine eyes, and not thy noise wak'd me;
            Yet I thought thee
(For thou lovest truth) an angel, at first sight;
But when I saw thou sawest my heart,
And knew'st my thoughts, beyond an angel's art,
When thou knew'st what I dreamt, when thou knew'st when
Excess of joy would wake me, and cam'st then,
I must confess, it could not choose but be
Profane, to think thee any thing but thee.

   Coming and staying show'd thee, thee,
But rising makes me doubt, that now
            Thou art not thou.
That love is weak where fear's as strong as he;
'Tis not all spirit, pure and brave,
If mixture it of fear, shame, honour have;
Perchance as torches, which must ready be,
Men light and put out, so thou deal'st with me;
Thou cam'st to kindle, goest to come; then I
Will dream that hope again, but else would die.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Symphony No. 1 (3rd movement) by Edward Elgar

In Dreams
BY kim addonizio
After eighteen years there’s no real grief left   
for the man who was my father.
I hardly think of him anymore,
and those dreams I used to have,

in which he’d be standing in a room of people   
I didn’t know—maybe his new friends,   
if the dead have friendships—
those dreams no longer trouble my sleep.

He’s not in the crooked houses I wander through   
or in the field by the highway
where I’m running, chasing down
some important piece of paper,

desperate to reach it
as it’s lifted in the wake of trucks
or flattened and marked by passing cars,   
as it’s lifted again to swirl over

a broken wood fence. I don’t know why   
the paper’s so important, or if anything
is even written there.
I don’t know where the dead go,

or why it’s good to forget them,
not to see them if they come crowding
the windows or trying to lay themselves down   
and press along our bodies at night

and ask that we love them again,
that our sorrows include them once more.   
This morning I couldn’t get up.
I slept late, I dreamed of the single

sheet of paper, which I never managed to reach   
as it stuttered and soared over the grass
and a few flowers, so that I woke
with a sense of loss, wondering who

or what I had to mourn besides
my father, whom I no longer mourn,   
father buried in the earth beneath grass,   
beneath flowers I trample as I run.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: My Father, by Judy Collins

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