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Broke Like Glass

Dreamed 1919/12/15 by Katherine Mansfield

The first night I was in bed here, i.e. after my first day in bed, I went to sleep. And suddenly I felt my whole body breaking up. It broke up with a violent shock--an earthquake--and it broke like glass. A long terrible shiver, you understand--and the spinal cord and the bones, and every bit and particle quaking. It sounded in my ears--a low, confused din, and there was a sense of flashing greenish brilliance, like broken glass.

When I woke up I thought there had been a violent earthquake. But all was still. It slowly dawned upon me--the conviction that in that dream I died. I shall go on living now--it may be for months, or for weeks or days or hours. Time is not. In that dream I died.

--Katherine Mansfield


In the next three years, Mansfield published most of her famous short stories, then died at age 35. Her storm of productivity, in these last years of her life, suggest the dream had convinced her it was now or never. She was in overtime--and knew it.

--Chris Wayan

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