Roswila's Dream & Poetry Realm

SEE ALSO: TRYING TO HOLD A BOX OF LIGHT (photos, realistic to abstract)

Thursday, August 17, 2006


[digital art by Jonathan Cummings,]

I recently had occasion to share in detail for the first time in years what it had been like taking care of my best friend and roommate, Brenda, as she died of cancer (1982-83). That, along with all of the recent news reports related to 9/11, and the approach of the fifth anniversary of that Twin Towers disaster here in New York City, has had me thinking even more than is my usual wont about grief and fear. So I thought I'd share a (somewhat prosey) poem I wrote in 1999 about a dream I'd had a a few years earlier about Brenda.

The poem below is ultimately hopeful, and I have come to believe the final dream message is true. In fact, I think we have more to fear from a life we are not fully living, than from death.


Brenda walks up to me, as young and fresh
as Dorothy seeking Toto, long before the tornado.
She places a wicker basket on the cold metal
hospital table, that is only a reminder now
of radiation and chemotherapy.

"Come, let's go on a picnic," she says
in that tone that never failed,
even at the end, to command me.

She folds a red and white checked table cloth
and puts it in the basket. As she turns around
and skips away, I follow.

As I always followed, until at the last
I could only stand and wait by that final door,
hopelessly wishing that there were ruby shoes
she could click to take her painlessly Home.

Brenda's mood now is infectious.
Her dark eyes impish, as they were before
they were clouded by drugs and fear,
before I failed to reassure her that her cancer
was not a punishment from God.

The hospital fades completely away.
We are on a smooth road, in a foggy
nowhere space that is not unwelcoming,
a soft warmth pervading.

The weight of days seems lifted.
I feel light enough to drift along,
if I could let myself.
But fear starts to spin and I stop short,
allowing only a small exclamation
of surprise to escape:

Brenda is gone. At my side is a tall,
cloaked and hooded figure of Death.
He stands at my left side, leaning slightly
toward me in a confiding manner.

I somehow know there is more to see
down the road ahead, but fear
is sweeping me up.

I stay in the dream only long enough
to hear Death say "We had to fool you.
We knew you would not come along otherwise.
And she wanted you to know that it is true:
you need not be frightened of death."

* * * *

P.S. Not only was Brenda my best friend and roommate, she was my first Tarot teacher (probably in the early 1970's). Friends had given her Tarot lessons as a birthday gift and I'd study right along with her when she got home from those classes. She particularly loved The High Priestess (II) card:

The initials B & J on the two columns behind The High Priestess were Brenda's first and middle name initials. (They stand for Boaz and Joachin, strength and stability, but we had not delved deeply enough at that time into the cards to learn these sorts of little gems.) And her friends had given Brenda the lessons because they were acknowledging her highly intuitive nature, which is a main attribute of The High Priestess. To this day I always feel Brenda has said "Hi" when II shows up in a reading.

Resource: Giggle Poetry: How to Write a Deam Poem, this is a "how to" site for teaching kids. The exercises look like they'd be not only fun but useful for adults, too.

‘til next time, keep dreaming,


[aka: Patricia Kelly]

****If you wish to copy or use any of my writing or poems, please email me for permission (under “View my complete profile”)****My other blog: ROSWILA’S TAROT GALLERY & JOURNAL.


At 4:40 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I often wonder what it means when I dream of someone who I know is dead. In my case, one or the other of my dead parents. Especially since I never seem to dream of past events involving them.


At 8:00 PM , Blogger Roswila said...

That's a really intriguing subject. Especially as I rarely think of the deceased as dead as I am dreaming about them. I did not think of Brenda as dead when I was having the dream this poem is based on. All the history was added in the poem writing process.

I think I should first say that I have only one hard and fast rule when it comes to relating to dreams: only the dreamer can determine what value the dream ultimately contains. Others' comments and observations can be helpful to the dreamer, but it is truly up to the dreamer what he/she finds of worth in a dream. BTW, I have plenty of other guidelines, but only that one "rule."

That said, as to what it means to dream of someone we know is dead, I have found it to mean just about anything depending on the dream! I myself am more concerned with what a dream is telling me, than who or what is in the dream. Though I hasten to add that who or what is in the dream can often reveal what the dream is trying to tell me. Oy, again as with the Tarot and the english language, there are more exceptions than rules. :-D

I did some googling about this subject and mostly found what I consider to be nonesense. (I wanted to find a good site to refer you to for some reading.) Even one dream luminary I greatly respect categorized dead people as either threatening (due to being dead) or bringing healing to the dreamer post the actual death. I've experienced these aspects of dead folk in my dreams. However, there have been a great many other ways in which I've found dead folk in my dreams to be lluminating.

I've also had dead folk progress over the years from one sort of purpose in a dream, to others. The prime example being my father. Until I worked through our tremendously troubled relationship, he was always a threat of some sort (and not because he was dead, but because of my memories of his actual abuse). But now he's a guide and friend (and not around all that much anymore, either).

In a way, a dead person in a dream, for me, is not any different from any other dream symbol. A deceased person in a dream is as much a vessel carrying something precious for me to discover, as any other dream symbol.

If you are curious about developing a way to work with things like this in your own dreams, I particularly like Jeremy Taylor's approach. His book, DREAMWORK, is an oldie, but true goodie! And The Association for the Study of Dreams is massively resourceful in the dream field.

At 9:13 AM , Blogger Roswila said...

P.S. to my above response to Oino:

It is not uncommon to dream about folk right after their death, and then much less or not at all as time goes by. We also tend to dream of the deceased when something in our current life is echoing in some way a time when the dead person was alive. Or something about a person currently in one's life, echos the deceased. These last two "echos" often tell me valuable stuff about my present life.

Then there's the issue of whether or not we have actually been visited by the deceased in a dream. Sometimes I think this is true. At other times I am on the fence and think it doesn't really matter whether a spirit was actually with us or not, as long as we honor the dream and listen to it to the best of our ability. I do tend to lean more to thinking we can be visited by the deceased in our dreams, given my experiences with telepathy and mild clairvoyance in dreams. But I am not sure, nor is it something I think a great deal about. I am fine living with ambiguity, relating "as if". Using my imagination. :-D


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home