If in my dreams I may perceive myself to be
One who walks among gods and angels,
Or flies as free as the owl between midnight trees,
Or that I dine at the tables of the wealthy and elite,
That I love with all my heart famous kings and queens –
Then can it be true to say I have experienced all this
In an essence, as though I were fully awake?
And what if, when I awake, I suddenly understand
That the reality I inhabit is one where I stand
Among devils and thieves, that I am incarcerated
Like the canary in a cage against my will;
That I pluck bones from poor broth with fellow proles
Ten pounds the heavier for the sweat and the dust
That clings to our skin from a day’s gruelling toil,
And that my only love is the common rose?
Yet, what if I awaken once again, hark!
And I newly understand that I was in fact still dreaming
All along, all along, all along, a dream within a dream!
A false awakening dripping with promises and dewdrops
Of a dawn revealed to be not what it seemed; and I –
Neither rich nor poor, but liberated by the twin-faced mirror
And double-edged sword reflecting the extremes
Of all my desires wrapped up in a dream within a dream.
05:05. As I look into the mirror while brushing my teeth
I think to myself…
This day is as fresh as when I was a child and first learned
To walk and string pearls of words to the necklace of sentences:
That I am the architect of my destiny, fooled only by dreams
Within dreams and false awakenings.
06:06. Upon the billboards as I cycle to work are gone the slogans
And soundbites selling me fragrances and alcohol
And a body I will never fit into,
And I see now their images replaced by a diorama of question marks,
Like a domino rally awaiting the first to fall against the second
And the second against the third, while printed beneath are the words
Of Edgar Allen Poe selling us nothing but a question:
“Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?”
Editor’s note: My poem The Dream Within a Dream is a short study based on my experiences of dreaming while dreaming; that is (for me) to go to sleep, to dream, then to awaken (while still in a dream) with the knowledge I have dreamed, then to finally waken to reality with the knowledge I have been dreaming of dreaming.
It’s pretty mind-bending stuff, and I would say I have these type of ‘double dreams’ two or three times a year. Typically, I may be experiencing in the ‘first dream’ a world of oppression and danger. Then, when I awake from the first dream into the ‘second dream’, I may rise from a chair (strangely – often a comfy brown armchair) and reflect upon the nature of the first dream and its significance to me. Then, (in the second dream) I may go over to a window and look outside, and discover that a mayhem still exists beyond my walls.
Finally, I awake into the reality of my present life, and understand that I have just dreamed I have been dreaming.
Wikipedia states simply:
“A false awakening is a vivid and convincing dream about awakening from sleep, while the dreamer in reality continues to sleep. After a false awakening, subjects often dream they are performing daily morning routine such as showering, cooking, cleaning, eating, and using the bathroom. False awakenings, mainly those in which one dreams that they have awoken from a sleep that featured dreams, take on aspects of a double dream or a dream within a dream.”
Dear readers, if any of you has had dreams like these I’d be interested to hear your thoughts in the comments.
The Dream Within a Dream poem by Ford July 2021
The Dream Within a Dream– found objects and acrylic paint collage, clip art and digital render by Ford July 2021