Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

A DREAM, by                     Poet's Biography
First Line: I was drifting away last night, in a dream
Last Line: By the load that I felt on my heart.
Alternate Author Name(s): Ryan, William Thomas Carroll
Subject(s): Dreams; Nightmares

I was drifting away last night, in a dream,
On the bosom broad of a mighty stream,
The voice of the waters that bore me along
Seemed singing the dull refrain
Of an old, familiar, sorrowful song
Soothing but telling of pain.
My face was upturned to the moonless sky,
And stars that silently rose on high
Seemed spirits I wooed in my youth,
Ere the heart that worshipped the good and fair
Had wakened from visions to find despair
Was wedded forever to truth.
And still I was drifting along that shore—
The hills and the valleys about it bore
The semblance of places I'd seen before;
Anon I discovered that silently
Others were drifting away with me—
Away to the ocean of mystery.
I turned to look on the faces near
And my soul was filled with a terrible fear,
For they were the faces of beings dear,
Dearer to me than my life:
Eyes that had lovingly looked on me
Now fixed in a ghastly vacancy,
And some had the look of a misery,
That ended its anguish in strife.
And there was a form that before my dream
I clasped to my bosom with joy supreme
Deeming it all mine own.
Her long dark hair was against my cheek—
I strove, O God! how I strove to speak—
But my lips were as carved in stone.
She was robed in black, as the day we met,
But her lips were pale, and her brow was wet
And dank with the river spray.
Then methought I drifted upon the shore,
But I clung to the lovely prey,
That the sullen waves of that river bore,
And strove to upbear it away.
But she sank from my arms, like a weight of lead,
Down in the stream of the graveless dead,
And I rose from my dream with a start,
While memory sadly recalled to my view
The dream of the night, and I knew it was true
By the load that I felt on my heart.

Discover our Poem Explanations and Poet Analyses!

Other Poems of Interest...

Home: PoetryExplorer.net