A poem by John Frederick Freeman

Lying beneath a hundred seas of sleep
With all those heavy waves flowing over me,
And I unconscious of the rolling night
Until, slowly, from deep to lesser deep
Risen, I felt the wandering seas no longer cover me
But only air and light....

It was a sleep
So dark and so bewilderingly deep
That only death's were deeper or completer,
And none when I awoke stranger or sweeter.
Awake, the strangeness still hung over me
As I with far-strayed senses stared at the light.

I--and who was I?
Saw--oh, with what unaccustomed eye!
The room was strange and everything was strange
Like a strange room entered by wild moonlight;
And yet familiar as the light swept over me
And I rose from the night.

Strange--yet stranger I.
And as one climbs from water up to land
Fumbling for weedy steps with foot and hand,
So I for yesterdays whereon to climb
To this remote and new-struck isle of time.
But I found not myself nor yesterday--

Until, slowly, from deep to lesser deep
Risen, I felt the seas no longer over me
But only air and light.
Yes, like one clutching at a ring I heard
The household noises as they stirred,
And holding fast I wondered. What were they?

I felt a strange hand lying at my side,
Limp and cool. I touched it and knew it mine.
A murmur, and I remembered how the wind died
In the near aspens. Then
Strange things were no more strange.
I travelled among common thoughts again;

And felt the new forged links of that strong chain
That binds me to myself, and this to-day
To yesterday. I heard it rattling near
With a no more astonished ear.
And I had lost the strangeness of that sleep,
No more the long night rolled its great seas over me.

--O, too anxious I!
For in this press of things familiar
I have lost all that clung
Round me awaking of strangeness and such sweetness
Nothing now is strange
Except the man that woke and then was I.

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