Archives for posts with tag: dreams

by Stevie Smith

In my dreams I am always saying goodbye and riding away,   
Whither and why I know not nor do I care.
And the parting is sweet and the parting over is sweeter,   
And sweetest of all is the night and the rushing air.
In my dreams they are always waving their hands and saying goodbye,
And they give me the stirrup cup and I smile as I drink,   
I am glad the journey is set, I am glad I am going,
I am glad, I am glad, that my friends don’t know what I think.

Source: The New Selected Poems of Stevie Smith (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1988)



ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Florence Margaret “Stevie” Smith was born in 1902 in Yorkshire, England. She began writing poetry in her twenties, and her first book, Novel on Yellow Paper, was published in 1936. Smith’s first collection of verse, A Good Time Was Had By All (1937), also contained rough sketches or doodles, which became characteristic of her work. These drawings have both a feeling of caprice and doom, and the poetry in the collection is stylistically typical of Smith as it conveys serious themes in a nursery rhyme structure. Much of her inspiration came from theology and the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm. Her style is unique in its combination of seemingly prosaic statements, variety of voices, playful meter, and deep sense of irony. Smith was officially recognized with the Chomondeley Award for Poetry in 1966 and the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 1969. She died in 1971. (Source:

By Michael Collier

One had feathers like a blood-streaked koi,

another a tail of color-coded wires.

One was a blackbird stretching orchid wings,

another a flicker with a wounded head.
All flew like leaves fluttering to escape,

bright, circulating in burning air,

and all returned when the air cleared.

One was a kingfisher trapped in its bower,
deep in the ground, miles from water.

Everything is real and everything isn’t.

Some had names and some didn’t.

Named and nameless shapes of birds,
at night my hand can touch your feathers

and then I wipe the vernix from your wings,

you who have made bright things from shadows, 

you who have crossed the distances to roost in me.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michael Collier is an American poet, teacher, creative writing program administrator and editor. He has published five books of original poetry, a translation of Euripedes‘ Medea, a book of prose pieces about poetry, and has edited three anthologies of poetry. From 2001 to 2004 he was the Poet Laureate of Maryland. As of 2011, he is the director of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, a professor of creative writing at the University of Maryland, College Park, and the poetry editorial consultant for Houghton Mifflin (now Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). (Read more at

Illustration: “The Promise” (1966) by René Magritte 

I found the above card (“Have a sweet dream,” Halong Bay Vietnam)  a while back in a book purchased at a used book store.  I have a small collection of things I’ve found in used books — but this one is my favorite. This lovely message brought to mind a favorite bittersweet poem….

by Antonio Machado (1875-1939)

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that a spring was breaking
out in my heart.
I said: Along which secret aqueduct,
Oh water, are you coming to me,
water of a new life
that I have never drunk?

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.


The Art of Fiction (Excerpt)
by John Gardner

In the writing state—the state of inspiration—the fictive dream springs up fully alive: the writer forgets the words he has written on the page and sees, instead, his characters moving around their rooms, hunting through cupboards, glancing irritably through their mail, setting mousetraps, loading pistols.

The dream is as alive and compelling as one’s dreams at night, and when the writer writes down on paper what he has imagined, the words, however inadequate, do not distract his mind from the fictive dream but provide him with a fix on it, so that when the dream flags he can reread what he’s written and find the dream starting up again.

This and nothing else is the desperately sought and tragically fragile writer’s process: in his imagination, he sees made-up people doing things—sees them clearly—and in the act of wondering what they will do next he sees what they will do next, and all this he writes down in the best, most accurate words he can find, understanding even as he writes that he may have to find better words later, and that a change in the words may mean a sharpening or deepening of the vision, the fictive dream or vision becoming more and more lucid…

The Art of Fiction is available at

I Sailed with Magellan (Novel Excerpt)
by Stuart Dybek

I recalled the afternoon when the two of us stood beating erasers, and Camille confided that she’d done penance for stories – stories that I’ll never know if she wrote or only imagined writing. She’d wanted me to tell her a secret from my dreams, a secret from my dreams I hadn’t had as yet, and so I didn’t quite understand what she was after.

“It’s about feeling,” Camille had insisted.

I didn’t understand then that she was talking about risk.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Stuart Dybek is the author of three books of fiction: I Sailed With Magellan, The Coast of Chicago, and Childhood and Other Neighborhoods. Dybek has also published two collections of poetry: Streets in Their Own Ink and Brass Knuckles.  His fiction, poetry, and nonfiction have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Atlantic, Poetry, Tin House, and many other magazines, and have been widely anthologized, including work in both Best American Fiction and Best American Poetry.  Among Dybek’s numerous awards are a PEN/Malamud Prize “for distinguished achievement in the short story,” a Lannan Award, a Whiting Writers Award, an Award from the Academy of Arts and Letters, several O.Henry Prizes, and fellowships from the NEA and the Guggenheim Foundation. In 2007 Dybek was awarded a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.

Illustration: Chalk drawing found at


The BFG by Roald Dahl is one of my all-time favorite books for the story, characters, and amazing use of language. The book was inspired by a little girl named Amy, who sent Roald Dahl a bottle of colored water, oil, and glitter — saying it was “dream in a bottle.

The incident sparked Dahl’s imagination, resulting in the novel The BFG (a.k.a Big Friendly Giant) — and he wrote Amy the following letter to thank her for the inspiration.


by Jack Prelutsky

Last night I dreamed of chickens,
there were chickens everywhere,
they were standing on my stomach,
they were nesting in my hair,
they were pecking at my pillow,
they were hopping on my head,
they were ruffling up their feathers
as they raced about my bed.

They were on the chairs and tables,
they were on the chandeliers,
they were roosting in the corners,
they were clucking in my ears,
there were chickens, chickens, chickens
for as far as I could see…
when I woke today, I noticed
there were eggs on top of me. 

Painting: “The Mysterious Mystical Chickens” (acrylic on wood, detail) by Penelope Merrell, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED



by Kathy Dahms Rogers

The streetlight shines so brightly
on the ocean, each wave has a silver lip.
That’s when I realize how real
my Dreams are.  Each day I awaken
to unbelievable news from unimaginable places
whose ghostly characters crowd out my thoughts.
I try to pin them down but they fade away
as Memory frees them to float over the bluff.
Each night I eagerly await my escape,
a better life, another dream.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kathy Dahms Rogers was born in Iowa, lives in Long Beach, California, and loves to travel with her husband Jack.  She calls herself an “accidental poet” because she began writing poetry during the 1990s in a workshop she thought was going to focus on memoir and travel writing. She continues to attend these weekly workshops with poet Donna Hilbert. Now a retired college reading instructor, Kathy’s poems have been published in PEARL, a literary journal, and Voices, an anthology.

“Dreams” and other poetry by Kathy Dahms Rogers is featured in the Silver Birch Press Silver Anthology, a collection of poetry and prose by authors from the U.S. and U.K. — available in paperback and Kindle versions at

Photo: “Streetlights on the Beach, Monterey, California” by Bikini Sleepshirt, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


Book of DreamsJack Kerouac‘s dream diary originally published by City Lights Books in 1961 and reissued in 2001, is  Kerouac at his most Kerouacian (or is it Kero-Wacky-an?) — which is a good thing. Whatever he writes, Kerouac’s deep, utter charm and sincerity shine through.

In the book’s preface, Kerouac writes:“The reader should know that this is just a collection of dreams that I scribbled after I woke up from my sleep — They were all written spontaneously, nonstop, just like dreams happen, sometimes written before I was even wide awake — The characters that I’ve written about in my novels reappear in these dreams in weird new dream situations…and they continue the same story which is the one story that I always write about. The heroes of On the RoadThe Subterraneans, etc., reappear here doing further strange things for no other particular reason than that the mind goes on, the brain ripples, the moon sinks, and everybody hides their heads under pillows with sleepingcaps. Good. And good because the fact that everybody in the world dreams every night ties all mankind together shall we say in one unspoken Union and also proves that the world is really transcendental…”

Book of Dreams also includes a “Table of Characters” where Kerouac lists how the dream players correspond with characters in his novels. For example, Cody Pomeray in JK’s dreams is Dean Moriarity in On the Road.

Find the book here at


“That night, after the movie, driving my father’s car along the country roads, I began to wonder how real the landscape truly was, and how much of a dream is a dream.” Don DeLillo, AMERICANA

Photo: Candida Godson