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A Dream at Night -- Mei Yao Ch'en

Continuing with the theme, here's a guest poem from Kathy
(Poem #1254) A Dream at Night
 In broad daylight I dream I
 Am with her. At night I dream
 She is still at my side. She
 Carries her kit of colored
 Threads. I see her image bent
 Over her bag of silks. She
 Mends and alters my clothes and
 Worries for fear I might look
 Worn and ragged. Dead, she watches
 Over my life. Her constant
 Memory draws me towards death.
-- Mei Yao Ch'en
           translated from the Chinese by Kenneth Rexroth.

This austere little poem is, I think, more of a love poem which happens to
use a dream element. The image of the woman bending over her sewing, tending
to her loved one's clothing is tender and powerful. On first reading, it
seemed to me that the author only dreams that the woman is there tending to
him. But on subsequent readings, "Dead, she watches / Over my life" points to
the belief at that time and probably even now, that the dead remain present
with the living. So which is it? Does he only dream of her and how she cared
for his needs in the past? Or does he believe that she is still there and
"Worries for fear I might look / Worn and ragged" since her death? Yes -- to
both questions. Poetry speaks layers of truth.

I think it would be a mistake to understand this love poem as one-sided. It's
not just the woman who won't leave the man, even in death. As the first line
says, "In broad daylight I dream I / Am with her." This is about mutual


163 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

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This is what I'd call a touching poem because words are sensible and it refers to someone who cares about other person, actually I thought that it was like mother's love.m10m

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