The Book of a Thousand Eyes [A dream, still clinging like light to the dark, rounding]
A dream, still clinging like light to the dark, rounding The gap left by things which have already happened Leaving nothing in their place, may have nothing to do But that. Dreams are like ghosts achieving ghosts' perennial goal Of revoking the sensation of repose. It's terrible To think we write these things for them, to tell them Of our life—that is, our whole life. Along comes a dream Of a machine. Why? What is being sold there? How is the product emitted? It must have been sparked by a noise, the way the very word "spark" emits a brief picture. Is it original? Inevitable? We seem to sleep so as to draw the picture Of events that have already happened so we can picture Them. A dream for example of a procession to an execution site. How many strangers could circle the space while speaking of nostalgia And of wolves in the hills? We find them Thinking of nothing instead—there's no one to impersonate, nothing To foresee. It's logical that prophesies would be emitted Through the gaps left by previous things, or by the dead Refusing conversation and contemplating beauty instead. But isn’t that the problem with beauty—that it's apt in retrospect To seem preordained? The dawn birds are trilling A new day—it has the psychical quality of "pastness" and they are trailing It. The day breaks in an imperfectly continuous course Of life. Sleep is immediate and memory nothing.
From The Book of a Thousand Eyes by Lyn Hejinian, published by Omnidawn. Copyright © 2012 by Lyn Hejinian. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Lyn Hejinian was born in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1941. Poet, essayist, and translator, she is also the author and coauthor of several books of poetry, most recently Tribunal (Omnidawn Publishing, 2019). She served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2006-2012. She teaches at the University of California, Berkeley, and lives in Berkeley, California.
Date Published: 2012-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/book-thousand-eyes-dream-still-clinging-light-dark-rounding