‘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— Read the rest of this entry
‘When We Two Parted’ is one of the anthology favourites by a poet better known for his life than for his work. Although the poetry of Lord Byron (1788-1824) is still read and studied, how many people have read Don Juan from start to finish? It’s shorter poems, like the beautiful lyric ‘When We Two Parted’ that keep Byron’s work popular.
‘When We Two Parted’ by Lord Byron
When we two parted
In silence and tears,
To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this. Read the rest of this entry
‘I dream of you, to wake’ is a sonnet by the Victorian poet Christina Rossetti (1830-94). Although not one of her most famous poems, it’s a marvellous sonnet: addressed to the speaker’s lover, and contrasting the wonderful, perfect dream world that sleep brings with the less perfect reality that we wake to (hence ‘I dream of you, to wake’). If only she could dream all the time, then things would be all right!
‘I dream of you, to wake’ by Christina Rossetti
I dream of you, to wake: would that I might
Dream of you and not wake but slumber on;
Nor find with dreams the dear companion gone,
As, Summer ended, Summer birds take flight.
In happy dreams I hold you full in night.
I blush again who waking look so wan;
Brighter than sunniest day that ever shone,
In happy dreams your smile makes day of night. Read the rest of this entry