The Death of Dreams
What is this wanton talk of dreams,
These tales of regions wherein screams
Have never echoed, where all seems
Like — not a dream! — wishes come true?
What is this word that I have found
Void of all save its shell of sound,
That when heard but serves to confound,
And when spoken turns a strange hue?
And yet — In years gone by I see
(In corners of my memory
Untouched except by dust and lees)
A gleam, as from another sphere:
The blithe hours of another time,
The sunshine of a warmer clime
Where wayward feet and their paths rhyme —
So distant from the now and here!
O Time! dost thou start with best days?
O Age! dost thou grow gray always?
O my soul! How heavy it weighs —
Half life’s worth has slipped through my grasp;
For half my life belongs to sleep
Peopled by demons from the deeps —
A time to weep, of counting sheep
To keep awake, from nightmare’s clasp.
Yea, those dark hours bring only fear
And spectral shapes as yet unclear:
The future’s shadow drawing near —
And how precious seems drawing breath!
For horror’s source is thine own breast,
And its contents the final test —
Woe! to be cut off from the rest
Of life, and face one’s self — ’tis Death!