Sunday, December 11, 2011

In My Dream




 In My Dream
in the style of Emily Dickinson


In bed of rock I laid me down
Time’s sand beneath the sheets
I fled the day through that First Watch
dark ends and want completes.

My headcage swell’d with pricking thought
sown in obsolete hour.
Sleep plowed me with her feeling hand,
Dream bloomed my dark flower:

A message of you, writ on skin,
flared up in onyx  flame:
The solitaire took a woman!
On her brown face--your name.

Dreams are ever a house in pain.
Certainty can’t win back
the vision slain, the drab of hope
is lost to bitter luck.

For there your letter waited--Lead,
envelope crackled blue.
Your words affirmed Calamity
And from the folded pages flew

Two tiny skulls that kissed and kissed,
two ivory figures twined;
where bone met bone and rib hooked rib
two skeletons aligned.

Dawn clattered in, face filmed in doubt--
meaning  I never knew.
Dream twisted the path before us--
death to me, life to you.


original work, November 1986
substantially revised 2011


Posted for  Sunday Mini Challenge   at real toads
Kerry's challenge today is to attempt the ballad form as used by one of my favorite poets, Emily Dickinson, without parody, intentional or unintentional. I can only hope.(!) This is quite an old poem, not much of a mini at seven stanzas, but much changed and shortened now from the abab tetrameter eleven stanza original.







17 comments:

  1. "My headcage"? I love that! And I love the "two tiny skulls that kissed and kissed" and the entire weird, macabre, chilling ending. Dream on, woman.

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  2. yikes...a little awry magic there at the end, the two rising skeletal dancers before my eyes...nice...i too like headcage...so what did you eat before dreaming this one? smiles.

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  3. Beautifully done. I could easily believe that Emily had writ this. The tiny skull stanza is wonderful--perfectly goth.

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  4. The meter of your stanzas is flawlessly done and the poem sings along in the tradition of the ballad, and such an ominous song: presentiments of death twisted into this calamitous dream.
    I certainly feel the touch of Dickinson's diction here, but the execution is entirely your own. Just an excellent piece well worth salvaging from the 80s.

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  5. "Dawn clattered in" - a wonderful image to lead to your concluding stanza! It's a song. Can you hear it put to music with a simple guitar?

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  6. Dreams are ever a house in pain.
    Certainty can’t win back
    the vision slain, the drab of hope
    is lost to bitter luck.

    For there your letter waited--Lead,
    envelope crackled blue.
    Your words affirmed Calamity
    And from the folded pages flew

    Beautiful lines.........

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  7. This is fantastic, Hedge. You have captured Emily's voice so incredibly well. The story you tell is haunting - and your talent amazing. Right out of the ball park with this one, kiddo. I am in awe. TOAD-ally!!!!!!!!!!

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  8. A little unblinking intensity never hurts(ok, sometimes it does).~Mary

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  9. Amazing to think you had this sitting around for — how long? and revised it to fit so perfectly into today's challenge.
    Amazing to think anything this powerful had to wait at all.

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

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  10. Thanks much all.

    @Kay: Trust me--you haven't seen the 'before' this 'after' goes with. ;-)

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  11. Love these verses Hedge, specially the last one...very nice tribute to the author.

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  12. It read flawlessly, hedgewitch. Much enjoyed! You're becoming a poetic master. :)

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  13. Many thanks, folks--but I think it's more like jack of all verse, master of none. ;-)

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  14. Emily-sification keeps the a certain humorous distance from the subject - as if the word-play could cage a terror, or keep the fangs dry of their deadlier sinks. I liked the lead letter with the "cracked blue" envelope. There's a noxious portent. Did you revise with more current dreams haunting the vents? - Brendan

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  15. @B: Current style and perspective--same old dream. It was quite a vivid one at the time, and I wish I could do a better job of describing the two skeletons--they were separate, yet inextricably entwined, and perfect down to the last detail. I'm sure the meaning is pretty obvious. ;-) (RE:envelope--The person in question had liberated from somewhere a large box of free blue 8 x 11 paper, and all his letters where written on it.) Thanks for reading.

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg