James Whitcomb Riley

(7 October 1849 - 22 July 1916 / Greenfield, Indiana)

Dream - Poem by James Whitcomb Riley

Because her eyes were far too deep
And holy for a laugh to leap
Across the brink where sorrow tried
To drown within the amber tide;
Because the looks, whose ripples kissed
The trembling lids through tender mist,
Were dazzled with a radiant gleam--
Because of this I called her 'Dream.'

Because the roses growing wild
About her features when she smiled
Were ever dewed with tears that fell
With tenderness ineffable;
Because her lips might spill a kiss
That, dripping in a world like this,
Would tincture death's myrrh-bitter stream
To sweetness--so I called her 'Dream.'

Because I could not understand
The magic touches of a hand
That seemed, beneath her strange control,
To smooth the plumage of the soul
And calm it, till, with folded wings,
It half forgot its flutterings,
And, nestled in her palm, did seem
To trill a song that called her 'Dream.'

Because I saw her, in a sleep
As dark and desolate and deep
And fleeting as the taunting night
That flings a vision of delight
To some lorn martyr as he lies
In slumber ere the day he dies--
Because she vanished like a gleam
Of glory, do I call her 'Dream.'


Comments about Dream by James Whitcomb Riley

  • Susan Williams (8/13/2017 4:04:00 PM)


    That is how to refrain- - repeat but with a difference until you harrow your readers' souls. (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Seamus O' Brian (8/13/2017 3:02:00 PM)


    A skillfully woven tapestry of praise for a mysterious and intriguing subject. Interestingly, there is no real mention of physical beauty here, yet this reader is left with the sense that I have been in the presence of a deep and significant beauty far transcending physical features. (Report) Reply

    Susan Williams Susan Williams (8/13/2017 4:05:00 PM)

    Ah... I missed that. Well done, Seamus.

  • Kumarmani Mahakul (8/13/2017 2:35:00 AM)


    Beautiful poem having stunning and thrilling expression. Thanks and congratulation to his soul. (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (8/13/2017 2:25:00 AM)


    Reminds me of the song DREAM ON popularized by NAZARETH.... (Report) Reply

  • Robert Murray Smith (8/13/2017 1:19:00 AM)


    Riley, was a poet unknown to me. He should be read further. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (8/13/2017 1:03:00 AM)


    Nestled in her palm! Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

Read all 7 comments »



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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 9, 2010



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