Saturday, November 12, 2022



When I left all I asked was peace 
of the starry void, that
every shrewish hope be finally silent 
yet after me you sent one white bird
only marsh cloud singing,
too soft, too frail to fly far.

I dreamed of you last night--
did you call me?
No, it was just my broken eyes
wanting to see the old calligraphy
strong and alive on the blank page but
that will never be again.

You were dream's pale clerk
troubled, frowning at the paper
on which many things were written
none of them my name.
I stood by your shoulder;
you turned, walking through me.

Waking, I couldn't say which,
you or I, was the ghost.
The gift of sleep
is taken back and I sit staring
at the wrinkled day, at walls falling
in this helpless place of the dead

where I've washed up,
already chewed by the chimera
stung by the manticore,
wondering what white wings will come
out of the siren darkness, 
what ghost bird is left.

June 2012
 posted for earthweal's
Image: Chimera, by Gustave Moreau, 1884, watercolor
Public domain, via 


  1. Sigh. This is so utterly beautiful. I love "yet after me you sent one white bird
    only marsh cloud singing,". The dreamtime visit, the memories, the sense of poignancy and the white bird at the end.....just beautiful!

    1. Thank you, Sherry. It seems a long time since I wrote this.

  2. A haunting love poem, Hedgewitch - the imagery lingers...

  3. Oh goodness this takes my breath - so achingly beautiful and full. And so perfectly hung together.

  4. A palette of the unconscious brought into vivid life. Some deep imagery and ponderings here.

  5. Ten years of poems is a long time to reinhabit this airy chill with its mythic flush -- did you revise any? As artifact it has survived time well, so much on the dreamer's side that all of its anguished enquiry stays pure. Do we grow old in our dreaming? Only, I suspect, in how we speak of them. The texture here is liquescent with heart-blood and it is equally difficult to discern living from dead as from waking from dream. A fine pickled charm, Hedge.

    1. I did some revision on it a few years ago, but none this current repost, B. It probably does need it as the sense of forlorness gets a bit cloying after the third stanza. But it does capture an emotional state in amber, which I suppose is the ultimate purpose of most of poetry, or mine anyway. Thanks for reading.

  6. I thought I recognized this, and indeed, I see in the tags "repost." Well worth bringing back. Dreams are odd creatures and it can be very hard to shake some of them upon waking, when the dream seems as or more real than the real world. And indeed, sometimes the emotions evoked in dreams are every bit as real as any waking ones. I've been known to moon half the day away over a dream I've had, and miss people who don't exist or who I haven't seen in years.

  7. Beautiful words that blur the line between sleep and wakefulness. A lovely write.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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