There are times that I wake
with the scent of fresh bread
and the wildflower honey
of my grandfather's bees
lingering in the bedroom
the dream has only recently fled.
There are times I fall asleep
to remembered lullabies;
there are times when in the darkness
a lost and golden sun rises remembered
dazzling my dreaming eyes.
There is a river that cradles
the place that bore me,
its waters part of my blood.
My river flows through dreams,
old, slow, grave,
with horror-storied whirlpools
pointed out to me on half-legendary
childhood walks along the willowed banks.
It carries ghosts and shadows;
sometimes they leave strange footprints
in the heavy, chocolate-coloured mud
smelling of death — rotting leaves, river ooze, torn insect wings, fish scales —
from the quiescent, paint-peeling, gentle, ancient old-man tugs
bobbing by the quays.
There are places
I will never find again, where some veil between worlds
was rent; I remember walking
in secluded mystical clearings where pale marsh lilies
and a wild white rose grew amongst the river reeds,
where all the dreams I call mine were born,
and where the tales that crowd my mind
were blown gently upon me
by fairy breath,
like dandelion seeds.
I can see it now, the sun on the river,
turning it to stately gold —
an ageing emperor,
its music full of lingering grandeur,
hiding vast, ponderous catfish in murky depths,
and secrets and griefs trusted to its silence
taken like treasure
to the sea.
I sleep again.
There are times that I wake
with the willows that trail graceful fingertips in the river of my childhood
gently brushing my face
like unquiet ghosts.
There are times that my memories are vast,
my knowledge greater by far
than what could be confined
in a single mind.
I dream the dreams and the memories of my race —
and I dip my grail into the waters of that old river
and raise it brimming with wine —
in a dream that is memory,
in memory of dream.
[Ed. Note: Fourth part of a 10-part poem to be published in its entirety over the next few renditions. « Beginning | « Previous | Next »]
· · · · · ·
Alma Hromic, the author with R. A. Deckert of Letters from the Fire, was born in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia. Trained as a microbiologist, she spent some years running a scientific journal, and later worked as an editor for an international educational publisher. Her own publishing record includes her autobiography, Houses in Africa, The Dolphin's Daughter and Other Stories, a bestselling book of three fables published by Longman UK in 1995, as well as numerous pieces of short fiction and non-fiction. Her last novel, the first volume of a fantasy series, Changer of Days: The Oracle, was published in September 2001 by Harper Collins. Hromic is an essential member of Swans. She maintains her own Web site (with Deck Deckert) where she provides information about her work and the professional services she offers: ButterknifeBooks.com
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