‘We dream – it is good we are dreaming’: A Poem by Emily Dickinson

‘We dream—it is good we are dreaming—’ is a lesser-known Emily Dickinson poem which favours the world of dreams over the more painful reality of the waking world. Like many of Emily Dickinson’s greatest poems, the American Civil War may have fed into this vision of a life lived best in the protective arms of dreams, rather than the bloody horrors of reality.

‘We dream—it is good we are dreaming’ by Emily Dickinson

We dream—it is good we are dreaming—
It would hurt us—were we awake—
But since it is playing—kill us,
And we are playing—shriek—

What harm? Men die—externally—
It is a truth—of Blood—
But we—are dying in Drama—
And Drama—is never dead—

Cautious—We jar each other—
And either—open the eyes—
Lest the Phantasm—prove the Mistake—
And the livid Surprise

Cool us to Shafts of Granite—
With just an Age—and Name—
And perhaps a phrase in Egyptian—
It’s prudenter—to dream—

‘We dream—it is good we are dreaming—’ is a fine evocation of the power of dreams. If you want to discover more of Emily Dickinson’s poetry, we recommend beginning with this fine poem.