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THE RED HEART
IV The Ivory Steeple

James Reaney

 

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Dream Within Dream


I slept and dreamed
A collection of dreams
That fitted each into each other
Like the dungeons and cells
Of a great dark jail.
Dreamed! rode pillion rather
With a demon in front of me
Upon a horse whose favourite hay
Was human hair.
Dream within dream dreamt I.
I dreamt a dream in which I woke
And, when awake, I killed a man.
Then, still in this dream, I fell asleep
And dreamt again that I woke
And pushed a woman over a cliff.
Next I choked a vivacious gentleman;
Then I stabbed a girl on an ottoman.
Each time the face of the man became
More like my father’s face;
And that of the woman, of course,
Began to seem like my mother’s,
As if I could have slain my parents
For that foul deed that struck
Me out of chaos, out of nothing.
At last I swam out of my nightmare
And managed to pray to Heaven
With its thousand white stars
To somehow stop my maddened mind
From making the reflection
Of reflection of my bad despair.
So then I dreamt my last dream.
I dreamt I was the bed
I slept upon and, lifeless, cared
Not what sack of blood and bones,
What pillar of dust
Made my springs creak
Or weighed me down.
At last I woke!