Friday, 22 October 2010

Poem Based on a Dream

Looking over an old notebook yesterday, I read an entry for 29 September 2006, which began with the remembered details of a dream which I had the previous night. The notebook entry continues as an attempt to put some kind of poetic shape on the details of the dream. Yesterday, over four years later, I revised the notebook's drafts and shaped them into fourteen lines (an unrhymed sonnet). I didn't try to make sense of the original jottings, which contain many illogical shifts as well as two very clear statements. I felt that the dream had its own weird logic, and that I should try to keep this seeming absurdity in the poem.


Hot springs, flaming arrows, permafrost on her patio,
a coloured shadow, pistil and stamen, downfall
of stilettos. ‘If you haven’t written a good line
for years,’ she told him, ‘there are others who have.’
Something was casting a shadow in two colours
on the gazebo ceiling. ‘Shouldn’t it please you
that good lines are being written, even if not
by you?’ Hot springs and flaming arrows, shadows 
in colour on permafrost, a million sea-exits
on this aircraft. She didn’t know the poetry of it,
she was the poetry, pistil and stamen and downfall.
He wrote a poem for her about the night. It had
a million sea-exits. One of them caught her eye.
Hot springs and flaming arrows, shadows on permafrost.

© Ciaran O'Driscoll, 2010

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