What Is Dream?

What is dream, ultimately, but a testing
of darkness, a venture out into that world,
the bourne from which no traveler returns?
I heard two voices from the deep. The first,
“Is he betrayed, are night and permanence
unmoored, so that the shifting sense seems right,
and nothing stays?” The other quick to answer,
“Immense this voyage, as to the farthest star
this heading, midst the stellar silence, yet
a thousand thousand times, and still he glides
encountering nothing.” “It is well. Each dream
is but a childish step, away from all
familiarity or face. The void
that will be his eternally takes on
a pleasant guise, and seems a touch away,
almost within his grasp.” And softly said,
dear heart, how like you this?
So they spoke on,
and by the dawn that broke—the even light
that came into the room—the dream dispelled,
and I was back once more amid the sound
of wakening birds and wind-beguiling trees.


Jared Carter’s forthcoming book of poems is A Dance in the Street, available in the fall of 2012 from Wind Publications in Kentucky. Wind published his previous collection, Cross this Bridge at a Walk, in 2006. His work has appeared in Poetry, The New Yorker, TriQuarterly, Iowa Review, Hudson Review The Dark Horse, Prairie Schooner, and Kenyon Review. Addi­tional poems and sto­ries may be found on his web site at www.jaredcarter.com.