On Dreaming

I often wonder with a grin
What imagery my dreams might show:
I blanket deep, pull covers in,
And ponder how my dreams will go ...

For in the haunt of last night's tale
A dreadful cavern opened wide,
And in a frenzy dogs of hell
Were barking savagely inside.

The night before a citrus-breeze
Swept softly through a perfumed glade
Where goddesses sang songs of ease
As I indulged a Willow's shade.

In yet another dream I slept
And dreamed a dream within a dream,
And when I 'woke' I strangely wept,
As nothing seemed as it should seem.

I even dreamed of you, dear friend—
Two poets meeting at the mall.
You shared a line of verse you penned
Which read: "I seldom dream at all" ...

Oh, would that I could dreamless sleep
Untouched by random ills and bliss,
And enter into ever deep
Your tranquil state of dreamlessness.

For here in slumber now I lie,
And wonder what my dreams will be.
Perhaps I'll dream that you and I
Will meet and read more poetry.

About this poem

A reflection on the unpredictability that they engender, this poem expresses a desire to be only with those who we love if we must of necessity dream; or, to bask in the dreamless, nirvana-like state which transcends the nervous anticipation of ‘what dreams may come’.

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Submitted by Vixility on August 19, 2023

1:00 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 959
Words 199
Stanzas 7
Stanza Lengths 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4

John W. May

John W. May has lived in Colorado all his life. He currently works in the field of ophthalmology and loves to mountain bike and read about history. John first became a lover of poetry in 2008 after having read a poem by John Milton. He has been reading and studying the works of various poets since. His favorite poets are Emily Dickinson, Fyodor Tyutchev and W. B. Yeats. more…

All John W. May poems | John W. May Books

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Discuss the poem "On Dreaming" with the community...

  • lovingempath
    I often wonder if my dreams are an alternate universe; especially those that show up more than once, in vivid detail. I also think some dreams are created (by who or what, I'm not sure) to carry a subliminal message to our subconscious. (Whatever that means :). I love this piece.. 
    LikeReply 12 months ago
    • Vixility
      100% agree! There is this principle that functions within us that helps (often) to facilitate our interactions with the world—unconscious cognition. It’s something we are completely unaware of, and it’s fascinating to study.

      I feel like dreams or the dream-state takes place somewhere between our conscious and unconscious states of cognition, and that if God wanted to influence us without violating our free-will, it would be there. I’m 100% persuaded of this.
      LikeReply 12 months ago
    • lovingempath
      This sounds 100% believable.
      LikeReply2 months ago
  • Soulwriter
    Dreams do indeed offer an intangible other-worldly realm
    LikeReply 13 months ago
    • Vixility
      So true, Charlotte!
      LikeReply 12 months ago
  • nfowke
    Ah ... the marauding monsters that can invade the unconscious deep! I enjoyed the read very much.
    LikeReply 15 months ago
  • Philipo
    Fine work here. Among the best as far as am concerned.
    LikeReply 25 months ago
    • Vixility
      Thank you, Philipo! This piece was one of my favorites to work on.
      LikeReply2 months ago
  • JokerGem
    Seems we were both inspired to some degree by Shakespeare for this contest! I can tell this was enjoyable to construct and I detected it might be by your hand - when I got to it.
    ~Dream a little dream~
    LikeReply 25 months ago
  • Symmetry60
    Now you're just showing off, man. :-P
    LikeReply 15 months ago
    • Vixility
      Haha ... I might say the same thing to you. I haven't had the pleasure of reading any of your poems from your book, "Waltz of Semantic Tongues", but your poem, "Jewish Holocaust", has to be one of your finest works. I read it and was blown-a-way! Reread it and just basked in amazement at the imagery you employed:
      "like Satan who extinguishes stars
      from a guiltless man's heaven."
      I mean, wow. I took a bunch of notes on this poem of yours (and on a lot of others in this contest) and will share these as time permits. Let me just say, I pinned this work of yours.
      LikeReply 15 months ago
    • Symmetry60
      Humbly, and truth be told, I literally threw this together last minute and decided to enter it. It probably took an hour to write. I got inspired from a youtube video of Lisa Kudrow on the show "Who Do You Think You Are" where they trace family lineages back so people can find out who their ancestors were. Lisa's family had suffered horrible fates at the hands of the Nazis back in the day. It actually brought me to tears hearing the story. Hence, along came Jewish Holocaust. I'm not thrilled with it, but it sufficed enough to garner no votes. LOL! In any regard, I look forward to more of your artistry. 
      LikeReply 25 months ago
    • Vixility
      Still, it’s a really good poem. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and look up a Lisa Kudrow video …
      LikeReply 25 months ago
  • adam.gutteridge
    A very well written poem that flows beautifully down the page. I love the idea of anticipating what one may dream of with wonder and excitement. A pleasure to read!
    LikeReply 15 months ago
    • Vixility
      Adam! Wow, thank you for your vote. Coming from a gifted poet and storyteller as yourself, it is a real honor to know that this piece caught your attention. I'm very grateful.
      LikeReply5 months ago
  • Laffy'sGirl
    The subject of dreams has always fascinated me, and this poem offers it in both rhythm and rhyme.
    LikeReply 15 months ago
    • Vixility
      Thank you so much for your vote! "Fear Not, My Love", was about the fourth or fifth poem I read in this contest, and the first poem I pinned. I remember thinking to myself last Friday evening: "If this is how all the rest of the poems are going to be, I stand no chance." No joke! So it is an honor to that I have your vote.
      Again, thank you 
      LikeReply5 months ago
  • ConnieVigil62
    This poem hit my mind and soul as my dreaming every night is never anything that can console.
    LikeReply 15 months ago
    • Vixility
      Thank you so much for your vote! It was a really fun poem to work with. Trying to figure out the various dreams and committing each to a single stanza was pretty challenging, if I'm being honest.

      Thank you again ...
      LikeReply5 months ago
    • ConnieVigil62
      your welcome. Great written and structured poem and like I said it touched my soul. I felt what you were feeling in the poetry! Nice job!
      LikeReply5 months ago
  • npirandy
    I was struck by the imagery of this poem, which, in many ways, reminded me of myself.
    LikeReply 15 months ago
    • Vixility
      I feel exceedingly honored that the 1st place winner of the August 2023 Poetry.com contest happened to vote for my poem. I'm very grateful. Thank you!
      LikeReply 15 months ago


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"On Dreaming" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 2 Mar. 2024. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/168295/on-dreaming>.

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