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A Dream Within a Dream

I first read this is high school and fell in love with it. It was shortly after the break-up with my first boyfriend and the poem seemed to capture my feelings.

All these years later, and after much study of life, the universe and everything, I do think that all we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.


A Dream
Within A Dream
by Edgar Allan Poe

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?

datura datura 56-60, F 52 Responses Oct 20, 2008

Your Response


Thanks for sharing such a wonderful poem

You're welcome :-)

Not to forget The Raven or The Bells....

It is my favorite poem. I cry every time. That is some powerful writing.

Q, I actually memorized Annabelle Lee as a teen because I loved it so. Still remember it.

Confession: I have not read any of the comments because this story is so old--just felt the need to insert myself.<br />
He is my favorite. He was a genius.<br />
See: Annabelle Lee

Well, I'm not glowing green like you :-) Reminds me of Stephen King's novel The Tommyknockers!

Yeah yeah , but have you got the glow?

I have my moments when I feel the same, Tas.

dreams seem more real to me than ' RL'

Yup!<br />
<br />
I got Under the Dome for Christmas but haven't started it yet. Did you like it?

He sure was, Destry! I fell in love with Poe's short stories in 6th grade when my teacher read us The Tell Tale Heart. It was the start of my love for the macabre!


How can this be, Sir b! <br />
<br />
Is there hope that the warrior/scientist and the spooky forest queen might find common ground!<br />
<br />
I am amazed ;-)

alas, I believe that it takes a special person to partner a genius. Every social issue that the modern woman complains of in the relationship, will be her plight if she is the partner.

Ah, but then he chose to remain (I presume) in this anti-social construct, ie single, and as a result his genius could flourish.<br />
<br />
It looks like we might be agreeing - again.

Perhaps, sir b--yet in Poe's case it was the loss of his relationship with his wife through her early death that was a catalyst in his writing genius.

true lady d, but the genii of the world simply do not have the time and energy available to invest in such "trivia", lest their work will be largely unfinished when they die.

Perhaps a human connection can remain alive--yet not staying exactly the same, but growing and developing-- without conscious work if both parties are aware of this philosophy and have no preconceived notions and expectations as to how the connection should be. But, yes, to keep it alive as it presently is would require awareness and work. <br />
<br />
It is better to let it blossom and develop than to try to keep it the same?

I have left this comment on another story but I think that it fits aptly here too when one considers the duration of a relationship vs changes.<br />
<br />
see below<br />
I am the sum of my genetics plus my experiences, so I am by the very nature, changing every moment of every day because my experiences are increasing to match.<br />
<br />
This indicates that my connection with another human, the environment, documented works, architecture, fashion, etc. is doomed to be transient or mutating. <br />
<br />
After the "magical phase" of the connection is over, I have to consciously work on keeping the connection alive if I want to retain elements of that present reality.<br />
<br />
humbly<br />

A very good thought, Sir b. <br />
<br />
Genius, by its very definition, would no longer be genius if it were simply normal or average!

i just found this now, milady.<br />
<br />
Genius, by its very nature, is "abnormal" and thus a social misfit. It cannot continue to yield its fruit in a "normal" construct and so, the life of a genius will always seem to be a "mess" to the eye of "everyman". He will outgrow his partner because of the pace at which he changes, and maybe even, outgrow the social construct of his time.<br />
<br />
just a thought<br />

Hi thedistracted1. I would have to agree with you.

And yes its true all the greats were troubled. Buddha was troubled, that's why he left the princely palace and starting wandering, in am attempt to find the truth of life.<br />
I think its the pain which deepens us. All the deep understanding and wisdom has a root in misery somewhere

Datura, this is a gem constructed out of words. feeling>ex<x>pression>words>gem<br />
Thank you for sharing this.

I used to read a lot of poetry , and often get the books out to re-read old favorites.

what a lovely poem!! dont read much poetry, maybe I should start.x

Gordon **bleepin** Ramsey totally **bleepin*** ROCKS!!!!<br />
<br />
And now back to our regularly scheduled Edgar Allen Poe - a - thon....

Lol... he's awesome. Troubled though, for sure!

Yuk! Is he over there? You can keep him!!

That's the one!

Oh, you mean Gordon Ramsey??

You know, Pricey, I bet Emeril is a tortured soul ! I know that guy from Hell's kitchen is!

All this talk of chickens and eggs is making me hungry! Maybe my tortured, creative side could whip up an omlette...

Yes , ofcourse I do ..

Another good Poe poem that I think clearly shows he believed the demons lead him to his creativity.<br />
The chicken was first. No, wait, I mean the egg was know what I mean....

From childhood's hour I have not been<br />
As others were; I have not seen<br />
As others saw; I could not bring<br />
My passions from a common spring.<br />
From the same source I have not taken<br />
My sorrow; I could not awaken<br />
My heart to joy at the same tone;<br />
And all I loved, I loved alone.<br />
Then- in my childhood, in the dawn<br />
Of a most stormy life- was drawn<br />
From every depth of good and ill<br />
The mystery which binds me still:<br />
From the torrent, or the fountain,<br />
From the red cliff of the mountain,<br />
From the sun that round me rolled<br />
In its autumn tint of gold,<br />
From the lightning in the sky<br />
As it passed me flying by,<br />
From the thunder and the storm,<br />
And the cloud that took the form<br />
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)<br />
Of a demon in my view.

that's why I'm not changing. I wouldn't want to be daturahussein forever!

cluck, cluck, cluck

I do support him but knowing my computer skills I will be stuck with the name change forever so I best stay as I am ..

If you support Obama you could!<br />
I support him, but I'm not changing my name!

Whats with all this hussein stuff?<br />
<br />
Should I be tasminhussein?

Very good one, FhusseinT! I like it! so would Poe, I think!

Thats just what I mean chicken and egg!!!

With Apologies to Edgar Allen Poe<br />
unknown author<br />
<br />
Once upon a midnight dreary, fingers cramped and vision bleary,<br />
System manuals piled high and wasted paper on the floor.<br />
Longing for the warmth of bed sheets, still I sat there doing spreadsheets.<br />
Having reached the bottom line, I took a floppy from the drawer.<br />
Typing with a steady hand, I then invoked the SAVE command,<br />
But instead got a reprimand. It read “Abort, Retry, Ignore?”<br />
<br />
Was this some occult illusion? Some maniacal intrusion?<br />
These were choices Solomon himself had never faced before.<br />
Carefully, I weighed the options. These three seemed to be the top ones.<br />
Clearly, now I must adopt one. “Abort, Retry, Ignore?”<br />
<br />
With my fingers pale and trembling, slowly toward the keyboard bending,<br />
Longing for a happy ending, hoping all would be restored.<br />
Praying for some guarantee, finally I pressed a key –<br />
But on the screen, what did I see? “Abort, Retry, Ignore?”<br />
<br />
I tried to catch the chips off-guard — I pressed again but twice as hard.<br />
Luck was not in the cards. I saw what I had seen before.<br />
Now I typed in desperation, trying random combinations.<br />
Still there came the incantation: “Abort, Retry, Ignore?”<br />
<br />
There I sat, distraught, exhausted. By my own machine accosted.<br />
Getting up, I turned away and paced across the office floor.<br />
And then I saw an awful sight, a bold and blinding flash of light.<br />
A lightning bolt had cut the night and shook me to my core.<br />
I saw the screen collapse and die. “No! No! My database!,” I cried.<br />
I thought I heard a voice reply, “You’ll see your data Nevermore!”<br />
<br />
To this day I do not know the place to which lost data goes.<br />
I bet it goes to Heaven where the angels have it stored.<br />
But as for productivity, well I fear, it goes straight to Hell.<br />
And that’s the tale I have to tell, “Abort, Retry, Ignore?”

I was thinking about Beethoven, poor man. He couldn't help but produce genius in his music. But his life was such a mess. Poe was much the same.

hmm .. chicken and egg ..<BR><BR>If you are troubled then you may think more deeply and art is very therapeutic<br />
<br />
Enjoyed the poem .. thank you

I do think there is a link between creativity, using the right side of the brain more than most people, and troubled souls.

Maybe that's what inspires them to be so creative. I have found deep emotion can inspire me to write things I normally couldn't. I suppose they experience that on an almost permanent basis.

There does seem to be some truth to that, whether it be in literature, art, classical music, or even rock music. the geniuses seem to be burdened with demons of one kind or another.

I was having this conversation with somebody yesterday. All the greats seem to have that troubled soul...

I love his short stories also, Pricey. He certainly was a creative, intense, and troubled man.

Oh man I love that guy. One of my favourite books is a collection of his stories but I have to confess I love this poem too!