Poetry, like short stories, novellas, chapterbooks, and song lyrics, are music to the ear. Whether that music is a symphony, a hum, rap, an Irish ballad, or a rock band guitar solo, matters not. Something about the rhythm, the cadence, the meaning of the words transports us across time and space to a place that brings a smile — or a tear — to our face.
Born in 1788, Lord Byron was one of the leading figures of the Romantic Movement in early 19th century England. A poem he wrote 200 years ago brings to heart the crossing of the dream world and reality. It serves up nine stanzas, but the first is the one that caught my eye — and my ear. Like a symphony.
Here is to October, to Dreams, and to the music of language.
Our life is twofold; Sleep hath its own world,
A boundary between the things misnamed
Death and existence: Sleep hath its own world,
And a wide realm of wild reality,
And dreams in their development have breath,
And tears, and tortures, and the touch of joy;
They leave a weight upon our waking thoughts,
They take a weight from off waking toils,
They do divide our being; they become
A portion of ourselves as of our time,
And look like heralds of eternity;
They pass like spirits of the past—they speak
Like sibyls of the future; they have power—
The tyranny of pleasure and of pain;
They make us what we were not—what they will,
And shake us with the vision that’s gone by,
The dread of vanished shadows—Are they so?
Is not the past all shadow?—What are they?
Creations of the mind?—The mind can make
Substances, and people planets of its own
With beings brighter than have been, and give
A breath to forms which can outlive all flesh.
I would recall a vision which I dreamed
Perchance in sleep—for in itself a thought,
A slumbering thought, is capable of years,
And curdles a long life into one hour.