Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Carpe Diem Ghost Writer #32, A Dream Within A Dream

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

First I have to apologize for this late publishing of this GW-post. Second this GW-post is written by Jen of Blog It Or Lose It. In this GW-post Jen tells us something about Edgar Allan Poe. So have fun!


A Dream within a Dream:  Edgar Allan Poe

Today my son mentioned that his English teacher had “taught” his class about Edgar Allan Poe.  Oh, how exciting, I thought!  With (perhaps eerily) gleaming eyes I asked my kiddo to tell me more.  What did he think about Poe?
Not much, evidently. 

Eduard Manet - The Raven

The class learned that Poe is thought to have invented modern detective fiction.  They learned that Poe wrote “The Raven”.  They learned that he died of mysterious circumstances, and everyone thought it was pretty creepy that he married his much-younger cousin.

That’s it.

I was shocked, horrified, and dismayed.  Did he at least hear about The Pit and the Pendulum?  The Cask of Amontillado?  The Tell-Tale Heart?  Surely his teacher mentioned The Masque of the Red Death?  

Well, that won’t do.  Not in this house.  We will be exploring Edgar Allan Poe (in small doses). 

Edgar Allan Poe

If you’re unfamiliar with Poe, here is a little background from Wikipedia:

“Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American author, poet, editor, and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story, and is generally considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre. He is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction. He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career.”

He’s probably best known for having written “The Raven”.  But – while reading Poe this evening, I discovered “A Dream within a Dream”. 

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow—
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand—
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep—while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

So – for this Ghost Writer prompt – I ask “what does this poem say to you”?  Do you choose to stand on the surf-tormented shore?  Do you see winged things flying into the distance – lost?  Can you interpret “a dream within a dream” in terms of nature? 

Poe's Grave in Baltimore
Here is my attempt:
was it really here?
a tiny pink seashell
reclaimed by the sea

When you read “A Dream within a Dream”, where did the muses lead you?

[Edgar Allan Poe Society in Baltimore, MD, USA]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Allan_Poe [Edgar Allen Poe, Wikipedia]

[The Works of the Late Edgar Allan Poe]

I hope you did like this post and I hope it will inspire you to write haiku. Thank you Jen for providing us with this GW-post.
I need new GW-posts ... so if you would like to be a Ghost Writer for Carpe Diem, please email to our emailaddress: carpediemhaikukai@outlook.com

For now ... have fun ... be inspired and share your haiku ...
This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until November 7th at noon. I will (try to) post our next episode, Large Pink, another one of the Seven Sacred Autumn Flowers, later on.



  1. I got a very sad feeling from reading Poe's poem.. wrote a morose tanka...

    1. It's a beautiful tanka, Bjorn -- lovely, softly sensual -- and I think Poe himself would have liked it. I certainly did. :D

  2. Oh, what a pleasant surprise to see you were able to use this GW prompt - and so soon too! Perhaps your muse was emitting long-distance brainwaves to my muse last evening!

    The kiddo learned a little more "about" Poe today -- but not enough for his liking -- he came home and asked if I'd buy him a book on Poe. Pretty cool!

    Thanks for allowing me to help at CDHK today. :)

  3. Replies
    1. Sorry for the lateness of my response!
      Thanks for the kind words - glad you liked it. :)

  4. gGreat chatty but deep post and coments. I found it tough though! Tough in writing the haibunish piece. Tough memory too. Now must pull myself back up.

    1. Sorry for the late response, Hamish -- your haibun was magnificent -- painful, but magnificent.

    2. ... and when have you known me to be anything but chatty ....! LOL

  5. Dear Hamish,
    I do not do facebook nor tweet. I see no other way to leave a comment or to thank you for your visit. Memories can be haunting. ~Jules

  6. I was just at Poe's home in Baltimore. Once it was on the outskirts now it is in the older section that has had seen so much poverty.It was hard to imagine four people living in a house the size of a postage stamp. I guess people would have sleeping schedules.
    He was and is an enigma for as much as you try to understand the man you don't. I had a discussion regarding what if he had lived. What if he had lived and his enemies (which he seemed to collect) discredited his name? Thanks Jen for the prompt I do hope that your kiddo learns about this man who inspired many.

    1. Thanks Moonie :)

      How wonderful to have visited his home! As many times as we went to Johns Hopkins we never visited Poe's house - always in a hurry to get out of town. Some day though ... some day ...

      Poe certainly collected enemies, that's for sure. But even in death his enemies were discrediting his name. Especially in death, actually, with the rumors that he'd died an alcoholic, was mentally ill (looked upon much differently then), etc. I kind of wonder - if he'd lived and managed to salvage his good reputation - would he be as loved today? Seems to many of the "reputable" poets from that time have faded into obscurity.

      The kiddo's Poe book arrived today ... now to recommend one story with which to start. Perhaps the Tell-Tale Heart. :)

      All the best--