Slice of Life Tuesday: Missing Dreams

Today for the weekly Slice of Life challenge I knew I had a poem to write, but wanted to experiment with language and form. I came to a modified version of a triversen, a William Carlos Williams-created form consisting of six tercets: 18 lines in 6 stanzas. I’m still tweaking and working and thinking, but here goes:

In timesothertimes my dreams are vivid
and I carry them clanking in my pocket
and I listen to how they speakatme

Now manytoomany dreams slip from holes
in my pocket and shatter on the floor leaving
shards beautiful to stare atandat

I see my selfnotself in pieces of these dreams
and I play those bits again and over
til their edges smooth roundanddown

I force these realnotreal visions to replay
like lyrics of beyond-reach songs so
I might slide into sight of what came nextandbefore

But each timeaftertime the light fades
from the edges, the lyrics never come and
neither does the wisdom that used to comeandstay

So for nowtilwhenever all my pocket holds is hope
that dream-words will once again rest there
long enough whole enough clear enough to be heardandfelt

Published by Lainie Levin

Mom of two, full-time teacher, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and holder of a very full plate

9 thoughts on “Slice of Life Tuesday: Missing Dreams

  1. I am not familiar with this type of poetry…admittedly my knowledge is limited. If there is “hope” in you pocket then your pocket will never be empty. Wishing you joy this holiday season.

    1. Thanks! Actually, this form of poetry was new to me, too. I had a few phrases rolling around my head. And I knew that I wanted to write a poem about wishing my dreams would stay with me longer so I could interpret them the way I always have. I decided to find a structure to put my thoughts to in the hopes that the words would come more smoothly. True to form (ha! see what I did there?), the words DID come, and they even surprised me in several spots – which made the writing all the more fun.

  2. Wow. This really had me paying attention to the words because of the form. I think my favourite new word is the “realtonotreal” and I kept reading this line over and over thinking about the meaning. Thank you for sharing this idea and your powerful poem. Wow.

    1. Thank you! I had more fun playing with the words than I had expected. I also hadn’t realized how much of a thread the invented words would be in this poem. It came together in surprising ways for me – which I always find so intriguing and charming about poetry in the first place!

  3. I’m not familiar with this form, but I’m tempted to try it out myself now. Like Melanie noted above, I felt myself slowing down and really needing to pay attention to the words. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  4. Lainie, this form works beautifully for capturing the jumbled experience of dreams, as well as the longing to hold onto them (some of them!) as they are dissipating. That sense of loss – I know it. The idea of solid shards remaining is very real to me, as is carrying them “clanking in my pocket.” I have tried to write some of those dream images down after waking – some allow me to do so and other images take flight (leaving maybe a feather or two in their wake. Wow. How you have just pulled poetry out of me!). I was interested in dream analysis even as a teenager and symbolism fascinates me … along that line… I can see your poem as wrapped in a metaphorical layer as well. Dreams as hopes, aspirations, desires, longing (key word: “wisdom,” that “used to comeandstay”). There’s a lot, a LOT, running through this, and the words running together contribute to that sense of movement, sometimes in a circular pattern, revisiting, revisiting. OH – and those stanzas about music – the evasive, or lost, lyrics: Years ago I had a dream about the most beautiful song… with friends I didn’t know in reality, who were all singing with me… seems like the setting was a patch of woods near a shore… anyway, I couldn’t remember a single word of it on waking and wrote a poem out of mourning. In short: I love this piece. It speaks to my soul. I see myself in pieces also. 🙂 Great rest and peace to you this winter break – I remain for grateful for you, your energetic, creative mind, and powerful wordcraft.

    1. Thank you! This form of poetry brought more out of me than I had expected it might. Amazing, isn’t it, how we *think* we might have a sense of where our writing may go, only to have it stop us in our tracks, turn our head and feet, and push us a different direction entirely. And yes, I pride myself on being a teller and reader of dreams. I can point to so many times in my life where dreams have brought me a sense of truth that my waking hours never could have.

      I did have one such dream this past month, a dream that signaled to me that it was truly OK for me to begin greiving for my niece.

      Other than that, it’s been images that I know are SUPPOSED to add up but never do.

      I’m glad and grateful my post has struck a chord. Who knows? Maybe there are more poems waiting in the wings on this one…

      1. I like to tell students (and teachers, and everyone) that writing is the closest thing to magic – for just this reason you describe. A blank page, a spark of an idea, a creative force that almost becomes an entity.

        Love the observation that dreams must add up to something. I know, too, those meanings are intertwined, even if I cannot discern how.

        I knew from a previous post you were grieving the death of someone close, probably a family member, as you mentioned having to navigate this pain before. Now I know you lost your niece. I am so sorry. My heart aches for you and yours in this profound loss. Praying. 💔

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