Viewing: Dreams - View all posts

CHILDHOOD by Rainer Maria Rilke 

It would be good to give much thought, before
you try to find words for something so lost,
for those long childhood afternoons you knew
that vanished so completely -and why?

We're still reminded-: sometimes by a rain,
but we can no longer say what it means;
life was never again so filled with meeting,
with reunion and with passing on

as back then, when nothing happened to us
except what happens to things and creatures:
we lived their world as something human,
and became filled to the brim with figures.

And became as lonely as a sheperd
and as overburdened by vast distances,
and summoned and stirred as from far away,
and slowly, like a long new thread,
introduced into that picture-sequence
where now having to go on bewilders us.


As once the winged energy of delight
carried you over childhood's dark abysses,
now beyond your own life build the great
arch of unimagined bridges.
Wonders happen if we can succeed
in passing through the harshest danger;
but only in a bright and purely granted
achievement can we realize the wonder.
To work with Things in the indescribable
relationship is not too hard for us;
the pattern grows more intricate and subtle,
and being swept along is not enough.
Take your practiced powers and stretch them out
until they span the chasm between two
contradictions ... For the god
wants to know himself in you.


"It's at night, when perhaps we should be dreaming, that the mind is most clear, that we are most able to hold all our life in the palm of our skull. I don't know if anyone has ever pointed out that great attraction of insomnia before, but it is so; the night seems to release a little more of our vast backward inheritance of instincts and feelings; as with the dawn, a little honey is allowed to ooze between the lips of the sandwich, a little of the stuff of dreams to drip into the waking mind. I wish I believed, as J. B. Priestley did, that consciousness continues after disembodiment or death, not forever, but for a long while. Three score years and ten is such a stingy ration of time, when there is so much time around. Perhaps that's why some of us are insomniacs; night is so precious that it would be pusillanimous to sleep all through it! A 'bad night' is not always a bad thing."
~Brian W. Aldiss


All people are children when they sleep.
There's no war in them then.
They open their hands and breathe
in that quiet rhythm heaven has given them.
They pucker their lips like small children
and open their hands halfway,
soldiers and statesmen, servants and masters.
The stars stand guard
and a haze veils the sky,
a few hours when no one will do anybody harm.
If only we could speak to one another then
when our hearts are half-open flowers.
Words like golden bees
would drift in.
-- God, teach me the language of sleep.
~Rolf Jacobsen

ODE by Arthur O'Shaughnessy 

1   We are the music makers,
2   And we are the dreamers of dreams,
3   Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
4   And sitting by desolate streams; --
5   World-losers and world-forsakers,
6   On whom the pale moon gleams:
7   Yet we are the movers and shakers
8   Of the world for ever, it seems.

9    With wonderful deathless ditties
10   We build up the world's great cities,
11   And out of a fabulous story
12   We fashion an empire's glory:
13   One man with a dream, at pleasure,
14   Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
15   And three with a new song's measure
16   Can trample a kingdom down.

17   We, in the ages lying,
18   In the buried past of the earth,
19   Built Nineveh with our sighing,
20   And Babel itself in our mirth;
21   And o'erthrew them with prophesying
22   To the old of the new world's worth;
23   For each age is a dream that is dying,
24   Or one that is coming to birth.

25  A breath of our inspiration
26  Is the life of each generation;
27   A wondrous thing of our dreaming
28   Unearthly, impossible seeming --
29   The soldier, the king, and the peasant
30   Are working together in one,
31   Till our dream shall become their present,
32   And their work in the world be done.

33   They had no vision amazing
34   Of the goodly house they are raising;
35   They had no divine foreshowing
36   Of the land to which they are going:
37   But on one man's soul it hath broken,
38   A light that doth not depart;
39   And his look, or a word he hath spoken,
40   Wrought flame in another man's heart.

41   And therefore to-day is thrilling
42   With a past day's late fulfilling;
43   And the multitudes are enlisted
44   In the faith that their fathers resisted,
45   And, scorning the dream of to-morrow,
46   Are bringing to pass, as they may,
47   In the world, for its joy or its sorrow,
48   The dream that was scorned yesterday.

49   But we, with our dreaming and singing,
50   Ceaseless and sorrowless we!
51   The glory about us clinging
52   Of the glorious futures we see,
53   Our souls with high music ringing:
54   O men! it must ever be
55   That we dwell, in our dreaming and singing,
56   A little apart from ye.

57   For we are afar with the dawning
58   And the suns that are not yet high,
59   And out of the infinite morning
60   Intrepid you hear us cry --
61   How, spite of your human scorning,
62   Once more God's future draws nigh,
63   And already goes forth the warning
64   That ye of the past must die.

65   Great hail! we cry to the comers
66   From the dazzling unknown shore;
67   Bring us hither your sun and your summers;
68   And renew our world as of yore;
69   You shall teach us your song's new numbers,
70   And things that we dreamed not before:
71   Yea, in spite of a dreamer who slumbers,
72   And a singer who sings no more.


"Optimism, I've always thought, is the best strategy. Who but the most cynical of us would want to be right about the end of the world? No, I think we make the world every day. Collectively, individually, by intention or accident, we dream our world into being. We just have to be careful what we dream."