Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE DREAM OF THE ROPEMAKER'S SON, by RHYS CARPENTER



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THE DREAM OF THE ROPEMAKER'S SON, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The ropemaker's son to his father said
Last Line: And stars like dust of the road in his face.
Subject(s): Dreams; Nightmares


The ropemaker's son to his father said,
"Not idle am I; but I dreamed a dream,
And now nothing else will stay in my head."
"So! So!" said his father, "and what was the dream?"
"I dreamed it was neither night nor noon,
And I in a blue and windy place,
On one foot the sun, on one foot the moon,
And stars like dust of the road in my face."
Up leapt his father and cried a-glee,
"Ho, what a dream! I would have that dream!
Give me that dream!" said he.
"It came and it went," said the ropemaker's son;
"A dream is a dream when it's over and done!"
"You lout!" cried his father, "all winter you sit
And toil not with hand and work not with wit;
And now when I beg for a wisp of the night,
You refuse me your dream! Be gone from my sight!"
And he drove him wide for the dream that he had.

Then sadly away went the ropemaker's lad
Out of the gate of the grey little town,
Over the mountain, through upland and down,
And across the marsh where the fire-bird sings,
Till he came to the land of the thirty kings.
To the wry-faced man at the castle inn,
"I am hungry," said he, "and my body is thin,
Will you give me to eat of your soured cream?
No money have I, but I'll tell you a dream
That is better than silver, and harder to win."
"So! So!" said the keeper, "come in! come in!
Here's food for you, lad. And now . . . tell me the dream."
"I dreamed it was neither night nor noon,
And I in a blue and windy place,
On one foot the sun, on one foot the moon,
And stars like dust of the road in my face."
Up leapt the keeper and cried a-glee,
"Ho, what a dream! I would have that dream!
Give me that dream!" said he.
"It came and it went," said the ropemaker's son;
"A dream is a dream when it's over and done!"
"You scamp!" cried the keeper, "you trickster and cheat!
Without purse in your bosom, you drink and you eat;
And now when I ask for the wisp of a thing,
You say you'll not give it! Come cry to the king!"
And he dragged him away for the dream that he had,
To the court of the king.

Then the ropemaker's lad
Stood by the pillars of twisted red
With cap of the debtors across his head,
Till the king came by with his shoes of gold;
(And grey was his face, and his eyes were old.)
Said the wry-faced man from the inn overway,
"The lad's in my debt, and has nothing to pay."
"Not so," said the ropemaker's lad, "I've a dream
That amply repaid him his bowlful of cream."
"So! So!" said the king, "and pray what was the dream?"
"I dreamed it was neither night nor noon,
And I in a blue and windy place,
On one foot the sun, on one foot the moon,
And stars like dust of the road in my face."
Out laughed the king and cried a-glee,
"Ho, what a dream! I would have that dream!
Give me that dream!" said he.
"It came and it went," said the ropemaker's son;
"A dream is a dream when it's over and done!"
"You dog of the dust!" cried the king a-rage;
"Till you give me your dream, you shall sit in a cage
Down in the black of my dungeon's keep.
Merry dreams to you, lad! 'Tis a place for sleep."
And they dragged him away for the dream that he had,
To the prisons dank.

Then the ropemaker's lad
Slept ill in that place; and at middle night
He saw a man whose face was of light;
And about him the walls were as wax of bees,
And through them beheld he the moon on the trees.
Said the Shining Man (and his lips were gay)
"God sent me to lead you out and away."
'Twas March and mist was on the fields
And all the treetrunks stood in grey.
"And oh," said the lad, as he strode in the gleam,
"Never again will I tell my dream!"
"So! So!" said the angel, "and what was your dream?"
"I dreamed it was neither night nor noon,
And I in a blue and windy place,
On one foot the sun, on one foot the moon,
And stars like dust of the road in my face."
Up started the angel and cried a-glee,
"Ho, what a dream! I would have that dream!
Give me that dream!" said he.
"It came and it went," sobbed the ropemaker's son;
"A dream is a dream when it's over and done!"
"You thankless clod of the earthen clay!
The God that made you shall judge straightway,"
Cried the Shining Man (and his lips were white).
"You shall tell your dream to God in His Height."
And he bore him away for the dream that he had,
To the court of heaven.

Then the ropemaker's lad
Stood by the pillars of crystal and jade
And the heart in his tiny breast was afraid,
For he saw what never a man may see
And stood where the living may not be.
Said the Shining Man, "This wretched lad
I saved from dungeons beneath the earth;
But when I begged for a dream that he had,
He would not give it. So little worth
Did I, your sacred servant, seem!"
"So! So!" said the Mighty, "and what was the dream?"
"I dreamed it was neither night nor noon,
And I in a blue and windy place,
On one foot the sun, on one foot the moon,
And stars like dust of the road in my face."
Up sprang the Mighty and cried a-glee,
"Ho! what a dream! I will make it," said He;
"For king and keeper and father to see!"

And forth from His palace He strode, and soon
He stood at dawn in the paths of space,
On one foot the sun, on one foot the moon,
And stars like dust of the road in His face.





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