It’s a dream that never comes to me: there is no blossoming chestnut tree, no garden of rioting summer blooms, not even a house with empty rooms. My childhood garden has no calm, no mother to rock me in her arms. Because it was so long ago, I search for it with heart of woe. There never was a meadow path, no smiling eyes or tinkling laugh; no mother, garden, house or tree, no dreams remain to comfort me. Only a singed moth’s final flight into the dwindling candlelight, its fuzzy corpse a dream forlorn twirling into dreamless dawn.
Kim M. Russell, 10th January 2023
Blossoming Chestnut Branches by Van Gogh, 1890
For this Tuesday’s Poetics at the dVerse Poets Pub, Ingrid is back after a bit of a break and asks us to find our inner Blake or Wordsworth with visionary poetry and the poetry of dream.
She has given us examples of poetry that explores the relationship between vision, dream, and poetry (Wordsworth); between vision, dream and age (Hawksmoor); and between dream and childhood (Blake).
Our challenge is to write a poem inspired by a vision, dream, or both. We can return to Blake’s ‘dreams of infants’, perhaps inspired by a recurring dream (or nightmare) from childhood or write about more recent dreams which affected us in some way. She says: ‘If you have ever been fortunate enough to have seen visions, don’t hold back – write about them, let them inspire your muse. I want this to be an expansive, rather than restrictive exercise, so please, take Blake’s advice: “Damn braces; Bless relaxes.”’ (Proverbs of Hell, 1793)
I decided to rework my own translation of ‘Traum’ by Hermann Hesse, with an additional stanza adapted from an old poem.