Wednesday, October 19, 2005

A Dream Within a Dream by Edgar Allen Poe

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

The first two lines of this poem reminde me of a goodnight kiss. As for the rest of the poem I am having trouble figuring out Poe's true meaning for it. I see it as Poe in a literal sense can be talking about a dream, or in a more metaphorical sense he can be talking about the trials of life. If I were to take the more literal sense of the poem as is suggested by "can I not grasp Them with a tighter clasp?" that sense when you wake up from a dream and it is taken away from you like the "pitiless wave" does in the poem. I think that a lot of it is comparing life to a dream or the ideal dream that you hope to find in life. There are things that are taken away from you just as dreams slip from you clasp. Either way I think that this is a beautiful poem there is just something about it in the sense that it is hard to figure out Poe's intentions.


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