Waking Dreams

Monday Morning Musings:

“Something nameless
Hums us into sleep,
Withdraws, and leaves us in
A place that seems
Always vaguely familiar.”

–Mark Strand, “Dreams”

“All that we see or seem

Is but a dream within a dream.”

Edgar Allen Poe, “A Dream Within a Dream”


My daughter and I talk–

sleep paralysis

she says,

waking to plunge into the terror again

not being able to move, or scream

in the terror of the dream.


And I think of the young people caught in a school

and those elsewhere—the whirlpool,

the vortex of contradictions,

fight or flight,

rehearsing what to do if caught,

a nightmare over and over again

until some finally scream, “Enough! Be seen!”

we need to flee the terror of this dream.


I was child,

practicing the duck and cover drills

ridiculous, tilting at windmills,

but I remember being terrified,

petrified that my parents would not come for me

before whatever we had to flee–

a world ending with both bangs and whimpers—

no tears,

just fear,

and no way to wake

from the terror of the dream.


And so, how can anyone say these young people are tools,

they have seen the violence in their schools,

they have been forced to practice,

to dance with fear,

to hold it near,

and should their dreams die

before they’ve had a chance to fly?


We see a movie

about grief and guilt

from wars, built

stronger, lasting, flowing through generations,

the absurdity of life–

the solitary camel ambling to the checkpoint gate–

the soldier who dances the foxtrot with his gun

fun arising from boredom with surrealism fused-fate

that keeps us dancing and returning to the same spot—


as if in a dream.

And though the movie is set in Israel

where “the fallen” fall so often

that those who bring the news are prepared

to deal with the grieving and the scared–

they come with drugs and instructions,

attuned to this production,

the result of the war machine,

the resulting grief and tears it brings–

still what happens there,

could happen anywhere

where there is war

and where dreams are launched

with guns and bombs

prayed over with psalms,

and where they fall from the sky

to die.


We walk and talk

the day is still cool,

but the seasons are cycling

through the year—

and spring is near.

We see a wedding, groom and bride

attendants by their sides.

FullSizeRender 378

Though the fear is in abeyance here

the nightmare lasts,

we must lift our voices to put it past.

to see the light,

to see the sun,

the hopeful dreams, caught and spun,

FullSizeRender 380

Can we celebrate our fate,

move towards love, not to hate,

unparalyzed, with dreams awake,

wear hope like a perfume?

We arrive home–

to find some daffodils have bloomed.

FullSizeRender 379

We saw the Israeli movie Foxtrot. Trailer here.




27 thoughts on “Waking Dreams

  1. Beautiful meditation though the subject is haunting and painful. The violence today reactivates my “PTSD” over the Duck and Cover. I lived over a bomb shelter, so it was “with me” for 3 years. Coincidentally I just submitted a story, “Duck and Cower, to a magazine. We’ll see. It might be too much of a leap from guns to bomb shelters for editors. And, yes, that’s not a typo. It’s cower.

    • Thank you very much, Luanne! I think I remember you mentioning the bomb shelter. It seems it was time of great fear and anxiety, even while many people were prospering with the boost war growth. So I guess I wasn’t the only who was affected. (It’s interesting to go back and watch old Twilight Zone episodes, which play on this anxiety.) I love “Duck and Cower.” I don’t think it’s too great a leap from guns to bombs–obviously. 🙂 I hope they take the story! And then, I want to read it!

  2. “Can we celebrate our fate,

    move towards love, not to hate,,

    unparalyzed, with dreams awake,

    wear hope like a perfume?

    We arrive home–

    to find some daffodils have bloomed.”
    Beautiful lines extolling peace

  3. I felt your musings and felt shakened to the core. I remember dreams I was immobilized. Stuck hiding in a coat closet, it smelled, through my dreams, of moth balls.
    It is really happening, these are not news “stories” they are news “realities.” It is closer to home than Vietnam. It is at our schools; not air bases nor aircraft carriers in the ocean. Death is just beyond the fence around our buildings we send our children, grandchildren into five days a week.
    I tried to feel hope, liked the pin especially. Thank you!

      • I have at the end of each week a multitude of emails (19,000 average. . .) If someone wants to email me, I have them call me immediately before sending it. Fortunately, I can send text messages to my friends and family emails, they can send me texts or attach things to texts (docs or pics).
        Sadly, I won’t be able to do this connection with penzeys . com Thank you anyway!
        When I had to have my pre-approved boarding pass to skip through the airport checkout, the first set Felicia printed up, the second set my college friend, Patrice, printed at her home. That meant shoes could be on, nothing but bag x-ray and 2 minutes waiting! Free, to do ahead but this is how Debby the writer helped me. (D.G. Kaye)

  4. It’s the memories of the duck and cover drills that make me wonder why some of the older folks who are criticizing the kids don’t have more sympathy/empathy for the generation that has had to endure lock down drills. Perhaps they’ve forgotten what it’s like to hide under a desk, terrified that The Bomb might be dropped any time (and knowing full well that ducking under a desk and covering your head isn’t going to save you).

    I love the pin and your musings. Intense, but with hope. 🙂

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