Sometimes the morning light is the air that rescues us from a nightmare--from drowning darkness, reason jumbled, helplessness to the brightness of the other real, the new, the next, the possible.

For the first time in years and years I had such a dream--all bad, as such dreams are, where we are, in Matthew Arnold's great poem about such things,

on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

While I drove down a cold light-filled morning, details came back--the black, oily water shot with silver gleams; the black sand underfoot, the loss of the gravity that keeps me nailed to the ground, keeps me sane--yet I wasn't  floating--this is all about losing my way yet it's all, for all its novelty, very familiar. This is the nature of nightmares.

As I type these words, the feeling-tone of the dream is palpable--the wild blackness, threat, helplessness, what I love (a beloved dog) being crushed. I can feel the talons tightening. I stop. Look out the window. Feel it start to drain away.

Gerard Manley Hopkins, alive when Matthew Arnold was, though they never met, comes to mind--

O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall
Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheap
May who ne'er hung there. Nor does long our small
Durance deal with that steep or deep. Here! creep,
Wretch, under a comfort serves in a whirlwind. . .

So powerful, the voice of our uncertainty that plays upon our deep fears, those ineradicable companions that must be faced and named and tamed, which rise up to tell us we must keep working.
Allan DiBiase
4/2/2013 03:14:55 am

There is the waking nightmare.
The worry stone in my pocket.
Grief like probing fingers finds it again.


Today I'm looking at a lot of loose threads. Papers to write. Other papers to read. The book contract to sort out and the beginning of work that will take intense planning. Musical performances, suddenly a host of them coming up. The contractor's bids for renovations. And then how all that furniture will get moved? To where?

Then today when settling up details of our tax returns we learn that an old friend over the last year has had in sequence: bladder cancer, prostate cancer, a heart attack, removal of bladder and prostate, a stroke, triple by-pass surgery. He's thin his wife said but things have settled down a bit.

I'm wondering what I'm trying to do?

This afternoon: A session on Shakespeare, Thoreau and Jane Kenyon. Is there music that harmonizes with the music they made?


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