Continuing with the theme, here's a guest poem from Kathy
(Poem #1254) A Dream at Night
In broad daylight I dream I Am with her. At night I dream She is still at my side. She Carries her kit of colored Threads. I see her image bent Over her bag of silks. She Mends and alters my clothes and Worries for fear I might look Worn and ragged. Dead, she watches Over my life. Her constant Memory draws me towards death.
(1002-1060) translated from the Chinese by Kenneth Rexroth. This austere little poem is, I think, more of a love poem which happens to use a dream element. The image of the woman bending over her sewing, tending to her loved one's clothing is tender and powerful. On first reading, it seemed to me that the author only dreams that the woman is there tending to him. But on subsequent readings, "Dead, she watches / Over my life" points to the belief at that time and probably even now, that the dead remain present with the living. So which is it? Does he only dream of her and how she cared for his needs in the past? Or does he believe that she is still there and "Worries for fear I might look / Worn and ragged" since her death? Yes -- to both questions. Poetry speaks layers of truth. I think it would be a mistake to understand this love poem as one-sided. It's not just the woman who won't leave the man, even in death. As the first line says, "In broad daylight I dream I / Am with her." This is about mutual tenderness. Kathy