Early Morning Thoughts ~

To sleep, perchance to dream-
ay, there’s the rub.” –From Hamlet (III, i, 65-68)

Perchance to Dream

The child sat in his bedroom
while night undressed the sky
and opened up the window
through which his dreams would fly.

The stories in his paintbox
sailed on and out of sight.
He took the moon to pieces
and bade the stars goodnight.

The sedative nightwatchman
crept clockwise through his pulse,
chasing the naughty ghosts off.
But he was somewhere else.

The tipsy blobs of colour
diffused, then recombined.
He found a sheet of paper
where they might be defined.

His thought, turned inside out now,
strode through itself, agape,
watching the transposition
of syntax into shape.

Here, in this gentle country,
no thought was contraband,
but music fused with grammar,
and pictures held his hand.

And in each patient landscape,
where speech refused to slur
the vowels his heart was hiding,
he was inventing her:

lost in the mind’s penumbra,
and shy to be expressed
in syllables too prudish
to see themselves undressed,

she waited. As he saw her,
his words began to spin,
and tricks his toys had taught him
to shield his sleep from sin

came back in strange declensions,
a lazy paradigm
of some forgotten language
where love grew out of time.

She stepped – a perfect stranger,
perfect, yet not so strange –
from myths of many colours
where time had frozen change.

The light was growing soft now –
sepia monochrome:
an open family-album
welcomed its father home.

The dream dissolved in moonlight.
The child sat up in bed,
and asked his dumbstruck mirror
where all the years had fled,

while features of adulthood,
staled by their sense of sin,
stared back at him in wonder,
masking the child within.

And out of force of habit
he closed his eyes to hide
his fears from the warm person
unconscious at his side.

His arms were safe about her
whose words his heart would keep.
He turned them into windows,
then smiled and fell asleep.

Andrew Moore
Published in Proof: Anthology 2, 1980

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