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The Deepest Dream

Mark Van Doren 1894 (Vermilion County) – 1972 (Torrington)



The deepest dream is of mad governors,
Down, down we feel it, till the very crust
Of the world cracks, and where there was no dust,
Atoms of ruin rise. Confusion stirs,
And fear; and all our thoughts--dark scavengers--
Feed on the center's refuse. Hope is thrust
Like wind away, and love sinks into lust
For merest safety, meanest of levelers.

And then we wake. Or do we? Sleep endures
More than the morning can, when shadows lie
Sharper than mountains, and the cleft is real
Between us and our kings. What sun assures
Our courage, and what evening by and by
Descends to rest us, and perhaps to heal?

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Mark Van Doren

Mark Van Doren was an American poet, writer and a critic, apart from being a scholar and a professor of English at Columbia University for nearly 40 years, where he inspired a generation of influential writers and thinkers including Thomas Merton, Robert Lax, John Berryman, and Beat Generation writers such as Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. more…

All Mark Van Doren poems | Mark Van Doren Books

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