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?


I wonder if all that I am, and all that I ever will be, is a dream within a dream.

I am after all, a meticulous machine. I am a work of art, crafted by the love child of a mad scientist and a brilliant philosopher. My two creators often wage war between the spaces of my ribs and the bruises under my eyes, attempting to take any part of me and make it their own. I have been poked and prodded by needles that try and inject me with some sort of artificial happiness my body can’t help but reject. My mind is a frenzy of questions, begging my soul to answer them.

My heart, my veins, my organs, they all dance to the same melody. It is one I used to know as a child, familiar and soothing. They spin and dip at precisely the right moments, making sure I can feel the caress of a lover’s touch and the lick of a burning flame, and be able to tell the difference. But sometimes, the music halts suddenly, and like a broken record, I am left replacing the same melody over and over until it becomes a haunting trick of fate, a punishment for all the hearts I’ve stolen and all the souls I’ve broken.

I used to think I was too perfect to be a product of reality.

With my sunset orbs that are able to see beauty, pain, and regret, I watch the pitiless waves of the ocean kiss the shore. I see now that my eyes are a curse, drawing in love that I know I will never be able to understand. There must have been an error in my formation, some sort of glitch that separated me from the core of humanity, for I have always seen love as cruel and kindness as weakness.

My mind must have been moulded in a misty world covered in stardust. I am a living contradiction, fire and water, silk and sword, nothing and everything. I am shutting out emotion until ice replaces my blood, freezing out memories until I am so deep into my pain that I become numb. And I am an all encompassing love, combining lust, infatuation, and admiration in a heartbreak bound passage.

I am a red rose, enchanting at first, my petals seducing trembling fingertips and leaving my event upon their collarbones for days. I sometimes forget that I am bound to wilt, and when I do, you’ll wish you had never touched me.

They used to tell me I should be careful of twisted fingers that crawl into the bodies of young girls, stripping them completely of their innocence. I’m starting to think maybe my innocence was gone before I could understand what it was.

My body is a hotel room, a weekend getaway where lovers go to forget reality and enter a world of make believe. I have grown accustomed to a few nights of contact until the inevitable realization occurs – that they want to go home. It happens to everyone, they miss the comfort of their bed and the perfect water pressure in the shower they’ve had for years. And so they go, leaving my doors open for another visitor, another stranger,

I have created a world of my own, of dreams and illusions. It is the only place I can exist.

I am a dream within a dream, and perhaps that is why the rest of this logic filled world does not understand me.

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2 thoughts on “A Dream Within A Dream

  1. Dear Alysha,

    Wow! This is a piece I absolutely love! I have read quite a bit of your writing, and I have to say that this is definitely one of my favourites of yours!
    The circle effect of your ‘dream within a dream’ lines worked really well. It tied everything together nicely, and made me feel like through the brilliant abstract ideas, there was a solid thread of purpose woven throughout.
    I love the lyricism of this piece. It was beautiful and captivating, and I can’t tell you how many lines took my breath away. There were moments of pure gold embedded into your style and the way you crafted your sentences and made metaphorical references was truly brilliant.
    I really liked your visual, too! It really fit with everything you were trying to say because it was a depiction of someone who is half celestial being, half human. As well, I appreciated that you added a copy of the poem above your piece because it helped to contextualise your Personal Response.
    However, I do think that on some level, purely because this was a Personal Response, we needed more context about the narrating character. For a poem, the level of lyricism was perfect, and even for a piece written in prose, I think you could have gotten away with it – if it was not a Personal Response. However, in my opinion, this piece was so elevated with metaphorical and symbolic layers that your readers needed more relevance to the poem (aside from the line of ‘a dream within a dream’) and more story-like connections outside of the narrator’s musings. (Isn’t is strange for me to be giving this feedback? I am usually on the receiving end of it!) However, like I said before if you take this piece out of the context of being a Personal Response, I think it would be fine. 🙂
    In all, I think this is a piece that demonstrates your incredible skill as a writer and your ability to create sentences that can truly take your reader’s breath away with their insight and incredible beauty. I really love what you have done here, so thank you for a truly magnificent piece.


    1. Dear Ziyana,

      Thank you so much for this beautiful comment. It is such a compliment to receive praise for lyricism, metaphors, and symbolism from you. After reading this piece again, I completely agree with your idea to add more relevance to the actual piece instead of just integrating the title of the poem, and that’s definitely something I’m going to work on and try and improve.


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