Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Empire of Dreams by Charles Simic

P. 436-437

On the first page of my dreambook
It's always evening
In an occupied country.
Hour before the curfew.
A small provincial city.
The houses all dark.
The storefronts gutted.

I am on a street corner
Where I shouldn't be.
Alone and coatless
I have gone out to look
For a black dog who answers to my whistle.
I have a kind of Halloween mask
Which I am afraid to put on.


This poem by Charles Simic entrigues me in its first line. As the speaker says "on the first page of my dreambook," it shows the overall picture of the whole poem. The word "dreambook" kind of brings a sense and mood of fairytale like atmosphere. As the poem continues, it fades away from the fairytale like atmosphere and falls into a dark dreary mood. By using words such as "dark" and "black," it shows that there is a sense of darkness and erieness to the poem. The speaker also creates a sense of mysteriousness when he/she states "where I shouldn't be." This phrase shows that this poem is not definite in anything really. The title itslef, "Empire of Dreams," can sum up the poem as a whole because in dreams, it is mysterious and you never really know what can happen. Dreams can be so lifelike and real that sometimes people mistake them for real life. The title is incorporated into the poem because an "empire" is typically associated with something large, therefore showing that dreams can go anywhere. There isn't a distinct point where dreams end which is why throughout the poem there is more then one scene described. Another dark element found throughout the poem is when the speaker mentions the "Halloween mask," which also identifies with the dark and eerie tone.

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