A Dream Within a Dream

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

Edgar Allan Poe


I chose this poem by Edgar Allan Poe because it made me think about finality and the perception of reality.
In the first stanza, the narrator is leaving a beloved person. Although he assures that his “days have been a dream” he suggests that they were just “a dream within a dream”. In my opinion, this means that everything has to come to an end but even though we are sad we should move on because as soon as we stop holding onto old patterns, we will realize that there is a new dream waiting for us.
In the second stanza, the main themes are mortality and the essence of time. The “grains of sand” are a symbol for change and the passing of time. The narrator wishes he could “grasp them with a tighter clasp”, but due to the fact that everything in life vanishes, he can not save them from the waves.
While I was reading this poem, I already had settings of different scenes in my had and images of symbols of evanescence came into my mind. I’m sure it would be really interesting to develop a whole concept for a short film based on these lines as in combination with pictures the atmosphere would for sure be even more powerful!


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2 responses to “A Dream Within a Dream

  1. Pingback: Our next meeting: July 7th, Charlotte Mew…and more! | ||8ve: the parallel octave chorus

  2. Pingback: July 7th MP3s | ||8ve: the parallel octave chorus

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