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This Dream Haunts the Day

Dreamed 1999 by Roswila [aka: Patricia Kelly]

[Editor's note: Roswila originally posted this dream-poem to help demonstrate three ways of handling dream-poetry. This one illustrated her third approach, described below]

This is the method I most commonly use. Working from memory, i.e., no reference to the original dream transcript, I begin writing a poem about a dream or dream image that has kept me intrigued. I will occasionally leave out parts of the original dream that seem unnecessary to the poem as it is unfolding. This third approach tends to yield a partial "interpretation" of the dream or dream image of which I was not previously aware. [In the] sample poem, the writing process produced the insight in the last stanza.


Others try to free her father
from the front passenger seat
of the crashed car, where he
lies bleeding into a pile of snow.

Her father wishes she would
come to him, while he breaks
the window in frustration.

Her young dark-haired suitor
proudly displays his own wound:
a small flame, burning
from the center of his palm

Aghast, she smacks out the flame
with her gloved hand

On waking I regret my act:
this snuffing out of passion
as it rises sweetly through the debris
of an ancient love

By the way, I've found not every dream I attempt to base a poem on or try to re-enter, lends itself to these sorts of explorations. Yet just trying can sometimes reveal a useful insight into the dream.


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