Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Classic Poem

fallen brown maple leaf
Falling leaves. A slight nip in the air. Well, in my imagination anyway. Around this time of year I begin to feel the imminent change of seasons (9/22/12) even as the summer weather lingers.

Autumn in our house has always revolved around preparations for Halloween, our favorite holiday. When the kids were home it was an all out assault on the senses. Now it's more of an artistic exercise in imagination and creativity. The neighbors still look forward to the surprise each year though.


Oh, sorry. 
Poetry. Right?

When you think of writers and Halloween, what is the first name that comes to mind?    Stephen King

OK, the second?   Right, Edgar Allen Poe.

He made me shiver while reading him as an adolescent - and he still haunts me today. His poetry has a subtlety that stays with me long after I've read it, kind of like a phantom breath on my neck in the dark. This poem has always been one of my favorites and it reminds me of a question that comes up repeatedly in Philip K. Dick's work, "what is really real." I've questioned reality, myself, a few times over the years.

How about you? Have you ever asked yourself that question?

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
abstract painting in blues with clouds, moons, a white bird, and branch with red berriesThat 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 grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

Illustration: A Dream Within a Dream, Barry Howard Studio.


  1. Love the post. Love the poem. Love the artwork. And I wish I lived in your neighborhood. :)

    1. Thank you so much. The door is always open, but you might want to make sure you have some garlic, silver bullets; perhaps an old priest and a young priest ...

  2. Surf-tormented shore is such an odd image. It looks reassuring, to me, the way the waves keep washing, washing.

    1. I like your perspective on this. I see a sad spooky poem but you find comfort in it. It's one of the great things about sharing poetry with others. We see things we might have missed.