A stupid dream lambasted me -
And maybe rightly:
I seemed in it quite vague to be,
And quite unsightly.
I was a traitor, and I lied.
I scraped and bowed...
I’d never even thought that I
Could fall so low!
And then, I’d hit out with a fist
With full force, madly,
But at the last second, my wrist
Would go all flabby.
The vision would grow pale and dim,
And sort of sear,
But once I closed my eyes, the dream
I never strode, I only minced,
Not always forward.
When threatened, I would flinch and wince,
I cowered, a coward.
I’d fawn and grovel like a serf
On power and evil,
I was disgusting to myself -
But waked not, even.
It’s mad! I slept, but I could hear
My own groans, smothered.
And yet - that dream had come to me,
And not another.
I still could hear, when I awaked,
A groan drift faintly:
The pain of coming-to was great,
Relief was greater.
The dream dissolved - and yet it seemed
To be still goading.
And what if it was not a dream
But a foreboding?
I quake, I do not see a gleam
Of hope - but why?
What was the truth in this odd dream?
What was a lie?
I’m lucky if it was a sign,
If I was warned.
But what if in this dream of mine
I was clairvoyant?
A mirror of my real soul?
No, not a mirror!
But then - when I my dream recall,
I writhe in horror.
"He knew he’d be a rat", they’ll claim,
"He’s ever at it."
I’d feel disgust, as in the dream
In which I ratted.
Suppose I cannot fill the breach -
Beyond my power?
The nightmare would be back in which
I was a coward.
But if I’m told, "Man, join the crowd -
Make your career!"
I’ll realise I’m down and out:
I was a seer.