The Dead Dream

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

Between the darkness and the day
As, lost in doubt, I went my way,
I met a shape, as faint as fair,
With star-like blossoms in its hair:
Its body, which the moon shone through,
Was partly cloud and partly dew:
Its eyes were bright as if with tears,
And held the look of long-gone years;
Its mouth was piteous, sweet yet dread,
As if with kisses of the dead:
And in its hand it bore a flower,
In memory of some haunted hour.
I knew it for the Dream I'd had
In days when life was young and glad.
Why had it come with love and woe
Out of the happy Long-Ago?
Upon my brow I felt its breath,
Heard ancient. words of faith and death,
Sweet with the immortality
Of many a fragrant memory:
And to my heart again I took
Its joy and sorrow in a look,
And kissed its eyes and held it fast,
And bore it home from out the past
My Dream of Beauty and of Truth,
I dreamed had perished with my Youth.

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