The Poets

August 11, 2010

About a Dream

On January 26th of 2009 I completed a poem entitled Monarch- I posted it here in April of the same year without explanation.

The truth is I should have at least mentioned- in that post- a rather interesting and wonderful fact about it: that it originated in a dream.

True story. I was asleep on the couch power napping as my daughter was playing nearby ... I was in a sort of 'in-between' state of wake and sleep when gradually these very lines- in meter, mind you!- came to me:

But then I there within a husk
That dangled from an Aspen tusk

I woke up and immediately wrote it down- surprised, as I mentioned, that they rhymed and were in tetrameter.

Now I don't know how the subject of the dream emerged, but what I do know is that its point revolved around the idea internal change followed by redemption- with the cocoon (the husk) symbolizing the process.

Before I knew it I found myself completely absorbed in constructing a poem around these lines. I already knew what the meter would be, knew that quatrains would make up the stanzas, and I essentially knew that I'd use aabb as the rhyme scheme. What I didn't have was much material to construct the appropriate images for the poem.

But then- and this is no joke- the very next day Nova aired The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies, a documentary about the "2,000-mile migration of monarchs to a sanctuary in the highlands of Mexico". It goes without saying, I was thrilled.

And so the reason for this particular post was to share the source of inspiration behind the poem, namely, a dream. I'll re-post it in the comments area if you'd like to read it (or, just click on the 'Monarch' link above). Also, and I really recommend this, click the link for that documentary ... it's only 52 minutes and way worth the while.


John W. May said...


THESE LIFT me through the airy height-
These wings acquired through a night-
Into a foreign world above:
Of light and warmth and truth and love.

What seems a dream are days gone by
When I knew nothing of the sky-
Just toil on an earthly bed,
And thoughts of milkweed in my head.

But then I there within a husk
That dangled from an Aspen tusk
Began to form a different bent
That I knew not was Heaven meant.

And now I’m lifted through this air,
And though attaining beauty fair,
The only thing that moves me now
Is that I share this flight somehow.


John W. May said...

There was another dream that I had June 17th of last year ... in it my daughter was writing a poem. She completed the first two lines ... then I woke up. These were those lines:

A crocodile was in my heart.
Instead of clasping, I let it go.

Again, notice the syllables? I thought to myself that it's not strange that they don't rhyme with each other- the rhyme scheme could very well be abab.

Farzand Ali said...

As of April 9th, 2010