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abigail phillips


A Dream Within a Dream by: Edgar Allan Poe


Take this upon thy brow!
And, parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, to 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 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!
Oh God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
Oh God! can i now save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

Submitted: Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Edited: Tuesday, January 12, 2010

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  • Rookie Lisette Davies (9/25/2012 3:28:00 PM)

    I love how Poe seems to be exploring shifting or redefining our idea of reality, a reality that in Western culture is rooted in the human dimension of our time here on earth and what we make of it. Within this framework of understanding, he focuses on the beauty and power of romantic love-that magical connection lovers make, and memories they create, until time passes, and their lives tread upon different paths, whereupon all one has left of this rare experience is a memory. The beach imagery serves as a great metaphor for this pitting of one reality-these memories, against the other, the bigger reality they are a part of, human existence, and the even bigger picture Poe paints towards the end of the poem, life beyond our own mortality. I love how his metaphysical/existential inquiry is open ended, leaving us to ask ourselves the very same question: Are our own memories of these treasured, shared and very rare moments in our lives just dreams within a dream? It makes me think of many things, such as Shakespeare's idea of it being better going through life experiencing love rather than never at all, and how perhaps we take these experiences more for granted than we should perhaps, not treasuring them enough.... (Report) Reply

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