How lovely is the semblance
Eternity is come
And Past and Future gathered are
In compass of this room;
How beautiful the sleeping form
The eyes that look within
The hands that do not seek to grasp
The legs that will not run;
Though Memory’s in water writ
However still it pools
This vision having once had
I cannot bear to lose;
I shall become a student
At that patient school of art
That studies years to draw one line
Direct from eye to heart.
I’ll follow dreaming down, however deep:
A spider keeps me safe and guards my sleep.
At least, should I misfortune meet
I will not lack a winding-sheet.
Fear leaves its mark
That later courage can’t efface; and still they teach as they were taught.
What do they understand about the dark?
The night’s for springing evil, sullen things that lurk.
Perhaps they knew this once, but in the lengthening years, forgot.
(And yet still feel a vague unease: fear leaves its mark.)
Can’t they recall night’s broken silences, how stark
Each alien sound? Recall the endless waiting for the things the night has brought?
Why can’t they understand about the dark?
They will not speak of things that wait or stalk;
They will not name the ones who have been lost
At night, or speak to those upon whom fear has left its mark.
Instead they’ll tell you to be brave; they’ll smirk
And say your fear is only in your thoughts.
Oh no, they do not understand about the dark.
And nothing that they say to do will work:
You cannot face, or fight, or flee. You cannot.
Fear lives outside you, and will leave its mark
On those who understand about the dark.
If something comes
I swear I’ll hear the sound.
But then what? Can I run?
A dream will hunt me down.
Two gates of sleep; the one of horn, the one of ivory.
Odyssey XIX, 560-565
Undermined, toppled, then half washed away
By memory’s undertow,
The gates of sleep are wrack by day;
Dreams true or false to miscellany go.