Streets of Dream

Clouds arrive, seasonal and grey,
smothering the town’s jagged edges.
Wrapped in an amniotic haze
I wander streets of dream forgetting
old boundaries between sky and pavement
in the driving rain. Wind spirits
and fierce hounds howl the day down.
I feel the out-breath of a distant king.
The wisdom of Nodens is lost to me.
I wander streets of dream forgetting
all boundaries in the driving rain.

*Nodens is an ancient British god associated with sleep, healing and hunting. In a relief found at his temple in Lydney he is depicted with hounds and putti (wind spirits).

One thought on “Streets of Dream

  1. Gwynn ap Nudd says:

    I really like your poem about The Awen- the spark of creativity and inspiration that we all have somewhere inside us.
    As I read your poem, I started to wonder..
    Is it a gift or a curse, to feel you must write poetry,to say of a river..
    I shall not give up till I know its extent?’
    I see the magic that you weave, I think; I mean I see it as magic but then I thnk that there is a sad song there in the desecration that you see-and it could be a lonely place to be.
    this kind of vision is not what the masses are schooled into, I don’t think.
    It leads me to think of Tennyson’s poem
    ‘The Lady of Shalott’
    The poem is problematic nowadays because of its repressive view of female sexuality and I don’t like this aspect of the poem-where possible it is omitted.
    But there is a beautiful dream-like quality to the poem.
    It says something to me of the price that can be paid for art and for being faithful to a vision as best you can be.
    This is about a woman who is content enough to weave but knows somehow that she lives under a kind of curse as she cannot look on Camelot (here its a kind of city) as others do.
    I like to think that perhaps this is because others see only enchantment in Camelot whereas she might actually see that the city is not all is made out to be.
    Perhaps she would see the truth too about Lancelot, that there are no shining knights, that he too is perhaps not all he is made out to be but a mirage, a ghost in a dream, not real.
    So in a way its a lonelier place to be -to be a seer, to see though the mirror, to see that the city and the ways of men are not so special after all . And here the mirror cracks
    The Lady of Shalott sees instead of the city/ the man made mirage, the magic of the river, the fields, the wold, the sky, the flowers , the horses, the barley, the rye.
    For this she pays her price in her island home in her tower.
    The tower for me just signifies a kind of isolation as the world of today does not really understand the Lady of Shalott
    She belongs to the era of romance but is too wise and perceptive to be fooled.
    She sees the truth about the real world through reflections in a mirror, lives in the shadows where the truth lies and not in the world of deceit.
    At one point she wishes she could live in half shadow but I don’t think she canbecause her vision is quite dark and sees it as it is.
    But she must live and die as a mystery to the many who do not fully understand her true meaning.
    Well that’s how I see the poems here and the poems you write..
    Apologies if it doesn’t work for you or others. I’m not a poet myself but I kind of enjoy the dreamy atmosphere and just go along with it.
    Its no big deal if it passes others by (just a not very good reply again)
    I believe there was a Camelot somewhere near Preston/ Chorley but its gone now and so we’re just left with Priest Town or Preston as its better known


    Part 1

    On either side the river lie
    Long fields of barley and of rye,
    That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
    And through the field the road runs by
    To many-towered Camelot;
    And up and down the people go,
    Gazing where the lilies blow
    Round an island there below
    The island of Shalott.

    Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
    Little breezes dusk and shiver
    Through the waves that run for ever
    By the island in the river
    Flowing down to Camelot.
    Four gray walls, and four gray towers,
    Overlook a space of flowers,
    And the silent isle imbowers,
    The Lady of Shalott.

    By the margin willow-veiled
    Slide the heavy barges trailed
    By slow horses and unhailed
    The shallop flitteth silken sailed
    Skimming down to Camelot
    But who hath seen her wave her hand?
    Or at the casement seen her stand?
    Or is she known in all the land,
    The Lady of Shalott?

    Only reapers, reaping early
    In among the bearded barley
    Hear a song that echoes cheerly
    From a river winding clearly,
    Down to towered Camelot:
    And by the moon the reaper weary,
    Piling sheaves in uplands airy
    Listening, whispers, ‘Tis the fairy
    Lady of Shalott.’

    Part 2

    There she weaves by night and day
    A magic web by colours gay
    She has heard a whisper say
    A curse is on her if she stay
    To look down to Camelot.
    She knows not what the ‘curse’ may be
    And so she weaveth steadily
    And little other care hath she,
    The Lady of Shalott.

    And moving through a mirror clear
    That hangs before her all the year
    Shadows of the world appear
    There she sees the highway near
    Winding down to Camelot.
    There the river eddy whirls
    And there the curly village-churls,
    And the red cloaks of market girls
    Pass onward from Shalott.

    Sometimes a troop of damsels glad
    An abbot in an ambling pad
    Sometimes a curly shepherd-lad
    Or a long-haired page in crimson clad
    Goes by to towered Camelot;
    And sometimes through the mirror blue
    The knights come riding two and two;
    She hath no loyal knight and true
    The Lady of Shalott.

    But in her web she delights
    To weave the mirror’s magic sights
    For often through the silent nights
    A funeral, with plumes and lights
    And music went to Camelot.
    Or when the moon was overhead,
    Came two young lovers lately wed,
    ‘I am half sick of shadows’ said
    The Lady of Shalott.

    The Lady Of Shalott
    Part 3

    (The Lady of Shalott sees Sir Lancelot. and the curse is upon her.
    This is not reproduced as it is basically a Victorian view of male chivalry/ repression of female sexuality- for the purposes of this poem , Lancelot is not a figure that the Lady Of Shalott would need to look away from nowadays but, in looking away from her magical art, she loses her way and it is not true to her nature to live in a world of mere appearances )

    She left the web, she left the room,
    She made three paces through the room,
    She saw he water-lily bloom,
    She saw the helmut and the plume,
    She looked down to Camelot.
    Out flew the web and floated wide;
    The mirror cracked from side to side;
    ‘The curse is come upon me,’ cried
    The Lady of Shalott


    Part 4

    In the stormy east wind straining;
    The pale yellow stream in his banks complaining,
    Heavily the low sky raining
    Over towered Camelot;
    Down she came and found a boat
    Beneath a willow left afloat,
    And round about the prow she wrote,
    ‘The Lady of Shalott.’

    And down the river’s dim expanse
    Like some bold seer in trance,
    Seeing all his own mischance
    With a glassy countenance
    Did she look to Camelot.
    And at the closing of the day
    She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
    The broad stream bore her far way
    The Lady of Shalott.

    Lying, robed in snowy white
    That loosely flew from left to right,
    The leaves upon her falling light,
    Through the horses of the night,
    She floated down to Camelot.
    And as the boat-head wound along
    The willowy fields and hills among,
    They heard her singing her last song
    The Lady of Shalott.

    Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
    Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
    Till her blood was frozen slowly
    And her eyes were darkened wholly,
    Turned to towered Camelot,
    Out upon the… they come
    For ere she reached upon the tide
    The first house on the water-side
    Singing in her song she died,
    The Lady of Shalott

    Under the tower and balcony
    By garden-wall and gallery,
    A gleaming shape she floated by,
    Dead pale between the houses high,
    Silent into Camelot.
    Out upon the wharves they came
    Knight and burgher, lord and dame,
    And round the prow they read her name,
    The Lady of Shalott.

    Who is this? And what is here?
    And in the lighted palace near,
    Died the sound of royal cheer
    And they crossed themselves for fear,
    All the knights at Camelot.
    But Lancelot mused a little space;
    He said ‘She has a lovely face,
    God in his mercy, send her grace,
    The Lady of Shalott.’

    I guess it doesn’t fullly work but I like the poem and I see something of the same romance and art and magic in your poems.
    So please let me off with this indulgence.,anyone reading.


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