Welcome to 31 Days of Poetry & Writing Prompts–Day 20.
Confession Time: I had a serious Edgar Allen Poe obsession in high school. I’m a little baffled by it now. He was so dark! So depressing! But I was a melancholy teenager, and some of the fascination was found in the stories behind the poems.
I’ll never forget the beginning of Poe’s poem, Alone, because it made me feel–well, less alone. “From childhood’s hour I have not been As others were—I have not seen As other saw—I could not bring My passions from a common spring–…” Back then, I wanted to be like the people around me, but I felt so different. I didn’t have the wisdom–or hindsight–that comes with age, but I did have poetry. 🙂 Now, for another of my favorites…
A Dream Within a Dream
by Edgar Allen Poe
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
This much let me avow—
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if Hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.
I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand—
How few! Yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep—while I weep!
O God! Can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?
It’s tempting to wonder how this could all be real, and why it really matters.
It’s tempting to doubt what’s behind the clouds and Who placed us here among these trees.
It’s tempting to tip back another drink and claim it’s all just a dream within a dream.
But while Hope flies away sometimes, she continues to return to me.
I stare her in the face, and she tells me where I’ll find something eternal here.
She tells me to listen to the sound of rain coming down from the heavens in sheets.
She tells me to stop moving long enough to notice the pain I feel when we wave goodbye again.
She says, Go back to the sea and watch the mighty waves force themselves against the shore.
She asks me to name the way I feel after I’ve wasted time, and I hate that feeling.
She requires me to sit on the porch in the dark and listen to the voice of the moon.
Then she draws me out in daylight, to pick a collection of deep red dying leaves.
She speaks from little voices around my table, which haven’t been tainted by disbelief.
And I sit and wonder how I missed all the eternity my eyes now see.
Write about what you do when Hope flies away.