Roswila's Dream & Poetry Realm

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

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Nightmare Dream Series Explored And Two Dream-Based Haiku

I had intended this post to be about using Tarot with dreams, but then I had an extremely unusual evening of dreams that I want to talk about. Here's a haiku based on the first dreams of last night:

dipping again
and again into nightmares
ah, a restful dream

This is an experience I've never had with dreams. I extremely rarely even have nightmares, much less a series. I did not wake at all in this process. Though each time I dipped and quickly pulled out of a nightmare, realizing I was going into one, I dreamed I awoke. Then I dipped promptly into and out of another, different nightmare. Though I can't recall anything about any of the serial nightmares I dipped into, I do know they were all different. After this lengthy series of dipping in and out, I wound up in more restful dreaming. Though, it may have only felt restful by comparison to what went before. :-)

As I thought about this nightmare series after writing the above haiku, I had two thoughts about its source:

First, I wonder about "psychic" input. I have had experiences in the past of dreaming of a friend's late night conversation and other mild telepathic experiences in waking life. I'm also highly empathic. My roommate frequently cries out and talks in her sleep, very upset. (By the way, she is fine with me sharing this here.) When I got up after the nightmare series and subsequent restful dreams to go to the bathroom, I heard her tossing and crying out agitatedly. Could I have been picking up on her distress? I acknowledge the personal psychological level to last night's dreams (which I go into below) but knowing how multi-faceted dreams are, wonder if I weren't also tuning into her dreams.

And second, this nightmare series was clearly connected to a dream series I had much later last night (an evening's dreams often have a common thread):
no time off
computer glitches repeat
in my dreams

This later series of dreams was of continual repetition and frustration, and fairly realistic. The considerable amount of work I've been doing both word-processing my posts for this blog, and then learning to use and cope with the blog program, has been on occasion "nightmarish."

I can now hear that these dream series of fear and frustration, are what I was not aware I was feeling as old issues and problems resurface in my inner life, to be dealt with again and again.

Frightening, because I have been sensing, without knowing I was, that I have new insights coming that may be hard to accept. If the past is any indication, though, I will take them in. I also know that fearful anticipation is always harder to tolerate than the event itself. I wish that this awareness could calm my anxieties, but it rarely does.

Frustrating, because I have been doing "inner work" for almost 40 years. I do accept that, in some way, we are always in progress. But repetition doesn't feel much like progress.

However, and this is a very big "however," I need to remember that more often than not now, there are positive changes resulting as I face and deal with the repetition, no matter how frightening or frustrating.

One of the ways we learn is through repetition. May we learn from all our re-runs.

Resource:, you can keep an online dream journal here.

‘til next time, keep dreaming,


* * * *If you wish to copy or use any of my writing or poems, please email me for permission (under “View my complete profile”) * * * *
FUTURE POST(S): Using Tarot to Explore Your Dreams; Writing Poetry Based on Dreams (with example dream-based poems); Using Your Dreams to Create Poetry & Stories (4 fun exercises); Using Tarot With Dreams That Got Away
* * * *

Friday, April 14, 2006

Inner Work Comments With Poem & Haiku

I have occasionally been asked what value I find in not only going through intense inner exploration, but in then also writing about it. The full answer is still unfolding with my life but contains the phrase "....because I must." The poem below also contains a partial answer:


Sunk again with no warning
in the oppressive depths.
Impelled along the bottom mire
by her heart’s faint pulse.

Once more stumbling
over lost and discarded
fragments of her life:
lumps of lava, skeletons,
tin cans, mother boards.

Struck by the diffused light
playing with their secrets.
Where are they going?
How do they fit?
Surprised and buoyed each time
by a surfeit of answers.

Rapidly surfacing time and again
bearing old mysteries and new gems
that will whisper their stories
through her pen.

Welcoming the bubbling of joy
in her blood,
and, oh, the fresh air
filling her lungs.

(written January 2006)

Or, in a similar vein but more concisely put in a haiku:

frigid rain ends
sudden sunlight crosses
the empty page

(written January 2006)

* * * *

In writing the above haiku I did not have a pre-conceived idea or image. I just attempted to record a moment that struck me. This is not to say there may not have been an unconscious preconception urging the writing. But this is the beauty of haiku writing (when it happens this way for me, which is not common): any deeper implications or implied connections and images only become apparent after the moment is on the page. This makes for a simplicity in the writing process. I hasten to stress again that I do not often achieve this simplicity, tending as I to do tweak at and over-stuff my haiku. But when it does happen, it’s a lovely experience and probably largely why I keep returning to the form. This is said in comparison to writing free verse, during which I can get bogged down in preconceptions, images, thoughts, feelings, associations, etc., etc.

Each form offers a freedom of its own, in my experience. Haiku: the freedom that comes from not challenging limits, from accepting what is. Free verse: the freedom to explore, to shape and mold, to question, to pick and choose from many different moments and places, all within larger, less limiting boundaries. However, both require that we be focused and present with all our senses.

All that said, may we listen for the questions and sense the answers our spirits urge upon us.

Resource: DayPoems. A different author's work is posted each day and there is a forum for sharing your work, plus some interesting links to other poetry and art sites.

‘til next time, keep dreaming,


* * * *If you wish to copy or use any of my writing or poems, please email me – it’s under "View my complete profile" – for permission.
FUTURE POST(S): Using Tarot Cards to Explore Your Dreams
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Thursday, April 13, 2006

On My Father (and Spring Cleaning) With Poems

I have drafted a lengthy post about using The Tarot cards to explore our dreams. It will be posted soon. My roommate’s having a house guest in a few days and our apartment needs a bit of “spiffing up." It's time for spring cleaning, anyway. Therefore, no lengthy posting work today. Just two poems, the first is dream-based:


she had felt the movement
in the corners of her dreams,
large things dragging about

never certain if they were
coming or going, here or there,
she settled for the short view:
this dream must surely be a memory
and that one simply a worry

all the while sensing
that entire continents
could well be folding under
or raising up,
just beyond her vision

and then one night
he enters through a door
she had not known was there,
tersely demanding if she intends
to wax the floor
and when, pray tell,
will she take up residence
in this new apartment
of her heart

(written July 1995; dream-based)

.... and, no, I do not intend to wax the (kitchen) floor. :-)

When I wrote the above poem I was not thinking of my father, nor did the dream itself put me in mind of him at the time. However, on reading it now I hear a decidedly familiar tone at the end, much like one my father used with me on occasion.

I did not sleep well at all last night. Being able to sleep (and dream) has been one of the few sustained blessings throughout my life. So I find it very upsetting and enervating on those rare occasions that I can’t get back to sleep when I wake in the wee hours. I know how sensitive I am to the anniversaries of intense events in my life. So today being the anniversary of my father’s death may have been what was agitating me unconsciously. I only consciously remembered this anniversary when I got up and around to (belatedly) begin my day. Below is one of the poems I’ve written about my relationship with my father, a deeply troubled but ultimately healed one. (In a future post I’ll write about how, after his death, I worked through to the healing of our relationship.)


Forgiveness of you cannot be this almost absence,
this quiet utility like a pair of old shoes.

Forgiveness should arrive on blazing feet,
bursting my heart with trumpets,
strewing your grave with spectacular flowers.

Forgiveness of you cannot be what was wearing
so painfully into shape, raising blisters of regret,
smothered in rage and self-pity.

Forgiveness should simply alight, pristine,
untouched, untrammeled, radiating wisdom,
a white dwarf sun.

But here forgiveness waits, open and serviceable,
like old shoes I try on
hoping they can carry me through.

The shoes fit.
I wear them.

(written September 1988)

May we all find fitting resolutions to our troubles.

And, Gut Pesach!

Resource: Poetry Archives at This is an archive of classical poetry, something I (and many other poets) would probably do well to read more often.

‘til next time, keep dreaming,


* * * *If you wish to copy or use any of my writing or poems, please email me – it’s under “View my complete profile” – for permission. * * *

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

A Dream Work Session

In my experience, dream exploration has been a tremendously rewarding process. There are many ways to approach dreams. Mine is a decidedly psychological one with a Jungian bent, though I always stay open to other levels that may be pertinent, such as the psychic and the spiritual. The vast majority of my dream work tends to produce insights and advice that I can apply to daily life and to my understandings of it. Sometimes I find cautionary or preparatory advice in dreams, too.

Below is a recent dream of mine, followed by the notes I made on it. They have been only very slightly edited for punctuation and grammar, as my dream work is frequently scribbled when I’m still half asleep – in the wee hours of the night or when I first wake up. Good times for me to do dream work as my inner censor is also rather sleepy then, too. :-)

Dream of March 24, 2006

There’s a new young secretary in our office. She’s not working out. There’s something rather “off” about her attitude and way of working. My boss fires her, but for some reason I feel sympathy for her. I suggest that, if she’d like, we can talk about all this a little bit in private. She seems resistant to the idea but does follow me. I cannot find a really private space to talk, and finally settle on talking to her quietly in a hallway, outside several doors. I say a bunch of good stuff about her work first. Then I say something to the effect of “However, you need to concentrate on doing what you are told to do, especially in the beginning; then later, once you’ve developed a relationship with your boss, then you can begin to be innovative.” She seems a bit put off at first by this, but then appears to take it in.

Notes Made About the Dream on March 25, 2006:

I’m tempted to see this in terms of food issues, too. (An earlier dream that same night appeared to be largely about my food/eating issues. I’ve found a night of dreams frequently has a theme running through them.) I do always take on a diet change in a haphazard way, or in the dream’s terminology “innovative” way. I never completely stick to either what is recommended or to what I myself had planned. How can I ever learn and “get the job done” that way? What sort of message am I giving myself that way? Ah Hah! This also applies to how I do anything new, any new inner or outer “work.” I’d do well to follow the laid down principles and ways, before getting innovative. I’m reminded here of how I first made a good attempt to learn the basic haiku form before experimenting. So I do know how to do this. Putting a different spin on this all, I need to do what I know is laid out to be done – eat the way I’ve learned I must, and exercise – which will earn me the "pay off" of better health. I cannot substitute creative thinking/ innovation for particular action that is imperative and non-negotiable.

(End of Notes of March 25, 2006)

I hasten to add that having worked with a dream this way doesn’t mean I’ve gotten everything it is offering. Only probably what I most needed or was able to hear at the time. I.e., I’ve had new insights from dreams days, weeks, and even years after working with them. Whether this is in the very nature of dreams or simply my way of working with them I don’t know. However, I often see them as being like sophisticated Rorschach ink blot tests onto which we project aspects of ourselves. As Jung said about symbols: vessels into which we pour our unconscious contents.

These notes illustrate a common experience I have when working with a dream. I have preparatory and often convoluted responses to the dream. Then something crystallizes or “pops” and a valuable point becomes clear to me. Some of my dream notes can go on for many pages, with several valuable gems “popping” along the way. In these notes the valuable point is in the last two bolded sentences. Not all dreams offer gems of insight, some give sweet or funny chips. But all offer something if I take the time to sit and ponder them.

I approached this dream as I do all, by re-reading it as needed and letting the responses flow in writing. I find that handwriting forces my sometimes erratic thinking to organize itself, and at the same time, avoid the distraction of instant editing that keyboarding offers.

I also occasionally use The Tarot with a dream if I don’t seem to be able to “decode it” or an image has a resonance I can’t quite bring through into awareness. In a future post I’ll talk more about how I use Tarot with my dreams. It’s basically not all that different from what I did above: being receptive to whatever thoughts, feelings, memories, images, associations, etc. surface. Even allowing myself to go down paths that may appear to be – and sometimes are – absurd or irrelevant. In my experience, they all prime the pump for that eventual “pop;” that crystallized awareness; that gem of insight or advice.

In closing, here's an excellent resource in the field of dreams:
The Association for the Study of Dreams.

‘til next time, keep dreaming,


* * * *If you wish to copy or use any of my writing or poems, please email me – it’s under “View my complete profile” – for permission. * * * *

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Scifaiku (A Haiku-Based Form)

Since my first two posts were rather intense and contained free verse, I feel like sharing my attempts at what may be seen by some to be an “odd ball” form, scifaiku, e.g.:

an embrace of tentacles:
oh, for the willows
of Earth

Scifaiku is basically a science fiction/fantasy/horror form based on haiku. I enjoy it thoroughly as it gives full rein to imagination, and as you’ll see below to the absurd, while maintaining that lovely distilling quality of haiku -- if I do it well, of course.

Before sharing more scifaiku, I’ll briefly mention two points about my approach to haiku (the underlying form for scifaiku):

One, I do not necessarily adhere in haiku (or scifaiku) to the well-known convention of three lines of 5/7/5 syllables. Although in Japanese that is the convention, Japanese is a polysyllabic language. Therefore, there are likely to be fewer words in a Japanese haiku of 17 syllables, than might be in a 17 syllable English haiku. So to come close to what the “feel” of a Japanese haiku might be in English, I believe fewer syllables are required. Plus, the more I wrote haiku when I started, the fewer words I found myself wanting to use.

Two, the issue of one word in a haiku indicating the season it is set in. This is a tradition I mostly try to honor. But I can find a season word to be a challenging prospect, especially in scifaiku or dream-based haiku (e.g., what would be the season, if any, on Jupiter?). So I sometimes do not use one in a haiku, and rarely in a scifaiku.

Though not all scifaiku writers would necessarily agree with me, the email group I have been participating in for much of six years, embraces all sorts of form experiments. And I recently entered a Japanese haiku contest that actually requested non-traditional, experimental haiku, such as those without season words and differing syllable counts. Suffice it to say, adhering to these two aspects of the traditional form (there are others I am not addressing here) as closely as I can was and still is a useful and rewarding writing experience. However, I equally enjoy experimenting, as do many other haiku writers. And I hasten to add that I continue to learn; that I do not consider myself a polished haiku/scifaiku writer, by any stretch of the imagination. Just one who really enjoys the challenges and focus the forms afford.

Back to sharing scifaiku; these are some of my earliest attempts:

across the dark
of her plastiskin
cherry blossom petals

(Clearly, I was still very attached to the translated
Japanese haiku I’d been reading. :-D

* * * *

moons rise
overlapping shadows
lead us home

(This is a bit of a “cheat,” tweaking a haiku
into a scifaiku by pluralizing “moon.” :-D

* * * *

jumping the broom’s
more fun in free fall

(I’d just been to a Pagan wedding. As the couple
jumped the broom I was grateful there was lots
of hooting and applauding, because I got intense
giggles imagining them in free fall.)

* * * *

moonless world:
we crane our necks

(Another one heavily influenced by Japanese haiku.)

* * * *

solo dancing:
held only by
this planet’s rings

* * * *

in the nick:
his jaws trap only dust
as we blast off

* * * *

land of endless day:
alien skeletons
dazzle like beach glass

(A no-no in haiku is simile/metaphor, but I like the image
and it’s a scifaiku so maybe I can get away with it? :-D

* * * *

acid tipped antenna
explores my cheek

* * * *

fragile cloud turns
on its ardent pursuer:
death tango

These next are more recent:

tsunami season
the satellite arks
eclipse the moon

(My imagined solution for a world prone to many tsunamis
– precipitated by our globe’s recent one.)

* * * *

new house program:
semi-feral dust bunnies

(Obvious wish fulfillment!)

* * * *

death games
shadows play tag
beneath the ice

(Dream-based, placed on an alien world.)

* * * *

an ego for lunch
hungry again in one hour:
psi-vamp on the prowl

And this last is a “scifaibun” (a haibun is a prose paragraph capped by a haiku):

The Sentient Trees

I tell my friend that this is my favorite
time of day when the sentient trees long
violet and pale green branches flicker
like strippers' boas in the sky,
turning into lightning fast whippers:

the darkling sky
armed trees

(Dream-based. I woke up both intrigued and laughing.
The “stripper/whipper” rhyme is straight from the dream

So, there you have it, a very brief sampling of my attempts at contributing to the form called scifaiku (link is for I love how it’s far out -- and often far in -- scope can challenge, expand, relax, move, and amuse. I’m sure I’ll share more of this form in the future.

‘til next time, keep dreaming,


* * * *If you wish to copy or use any of my writing or poems, please email me – it’s under “View my complete profile” – for permission. * * * *

Monday, April 10, 2006

On Death and Grieving (With Poems)

Before I go all dour and intense on you, I'd like to say I have been feeling like that proverbital "kid in a candy store" since starting this blog. It's such a treat to allow myself to be so focussed totally on my own writing and thoughts (as opposed to six years of work on my website which now has over 100 authors' and artists' works). Yes, what a sweet treat!

On to more a more serious subject that's been up for me recently. Death has been one event in my life that I've had the least opportunity and/or encouragement to express myself concerning. I have always contended it is not what happens to us so much as how it is responded to by those closest to us. E.g., as can be deduced from the thirty year-old autobiographical poem below, I was not encouraged to share my thoughts or feelings after my mother died when I was 10. Largely out of my family's need to protect themselves from their own feelings. (I'm sure that I appeared to be coping was also a factor.) I'm not suggesting the adults back then could have done any different, but I know it would have been better for me if they had been able to gently encourage me to talk about whatever was or was not going on for me.

grammaw never said it

grammaw never said it
i just knew mama was dead
daddy cried
i didn't
he said i was all he had left
and would hafta be
his big girl now

only thing i felt much
was how unhappy daddy was
but only on my outsides
inside i was like in a tunnel
all echoey and loud an' bright
like i was all eyes an' ears
and no heart

couldn't even cry at the funeral
cept the few tears
i squeezed out cause i felt
so bad 'bout not cryin
there were lotsa people touchin me
but i wasn't carin bout nobody
was sure i wasn't real
couldn't be
couldn't feel nothin

cept those last few minutes
daddy said
kiss her g'bye
you'll miss her more if you don't
it's just like she's sleeping

i knew she wasn't sleepin'
an' she didn't look real
i remembered her all tan
and red haired
like that time she let me
brush her long beautiful hair

we were on the porch
and her back was bare
an' still warm from the sun
'n her hair was like
the mane of a horse
in the very best story
i ever read

but she wasn't sleepin
and she was pale an' her hair
was awful white blonde
like i never liked it
like all the color ran outa her

then he kissed her
wet and long on the mouth
that made my stomach jump
but i kissed her

an' it was like pressin my mouth
on a chilly wall just like i usta
late at night in bed
when i was a real little kid
'n no one came to hold me
when i was cryin
and the cool usta feel read good
on my face and hands
an' specially my mouth

This pattern of grieving entirely alone has continued throughout my life, with the exception of collective grieving post the Twin Towers disaster of 9/11. I have at least come to the point where I no longeer blame others in my past or present life, and recognize what I bring to this on-going pattern. (There's a book I've recently re-read that blew my mind this time around with its pointed and painful relevance to how I deal with all "issues" in my life. It's "The Scapegoat Complex: Toward A Mythology of Shadow & Guilt," by Sylvia Brinton Perera, author of "Descent to the Goddess;" Inner City Books, Toronto, Canada; 1986; ISBN 0-919123-22-8.)

On Mourning

No blame possible now
we all did the best we could
as our lives careened along the twisted path

No more shame left to collide with
on this suddenly hollow
and harrowing descent

And regrets? Only small eddies
in the swift plunge into this hot
and swampy country of mourning

Mourning for the possibilities born in that child
that could not bloom, the earth of her heart
cemented over by fears she had denied
in order to survive in a crush of wounded deniers

And yet there is about this swamp of mourning
something that buoys, something that holds her
as she has never been held before,
totally and with no demand of its own,
that gives back a sense of the shape of her life

This swamp of mourning that suspends her,
an aged chrysalis daring the wait
for whatever future it has left
in which to open

This next was written on the second anniversary of the Twin Towers disaster of 9/11. (It's a haibun -- a prose introduction with a capping haiku.) The recent public release of the 911 emergency telephone call tapes has made it clear to me how healing is an on-going process, on both a personal and collective level. For all the inner work I have done with grief and loss, both personal and collective, I found myself surprised at the pain these tapes released in me. How much more so it must be for those who lost loved ones on that day.

9-11-03 -- 8:25 a.m. – On my way to where I am currently working, only a few blocks from Ground Zero (World Trade Center), I note the atmosphere is even more subdued than usual. At 14th Street the subway car fills with firemen in their dress blues, hats and shiny black shoes, headed to the memorial service. Two stand next to me and start to talk in a quiet manner about having been to the firehouses near Ground Zero, naming who is no longer there. I cannot keep tears from welling in my eyes as I glance up, accidentally meeting the gaze of the taller of the two. He notices the little lapel pin I am wearing with the Twin Towers on it:

talk of that day:
the fireman tips his hat
to my tears

And lastly, I offer this to anyone who grieves (whether over the death of a loved one, or some other crucial loss):


I do not know where your grief walks,
perhaps through an icy fog
across a long forgotten field,
or dives, perhaps through a winter sky,
dodging acute arrows of sympathy.

But I do know this bright beaked bird
can speed through your blood
leaving hollows in its wake
to be filled into healing stillness
by a slow seeping

May we all find the healing we need.

'til next time, keep dreaming,


* * * *If you wish to copy or use any of my writing or poems, please email me -- it's under "View my complete profile" -- for permission.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Beginning, with Two Poems and a Haiku

Hi! This is my first attempt at setting up a blog, so please bear with me as it and I progress.

I have a website, Pegasus Dreaming: Dreams, Poetry & Tarot, but have often wanted a place to be more personal. To post poems, dreams and thoughts that do not really fit the focus of Pegasus Dreaming, therefore a blog should do just fine.

Although Pegasus Dreaming is about to come to the end of its six year run, with over 100 authors' and artists' works shared, you might still be able to view it at:[note of May 2006 -- Pegasus Dreaming no longer exists.]

It's very long story as to why Pegasus Dreaming will soon be no more. I will say here briefly that the host site,, abruptly gave notice that they were no longer going to be hosting sites. And although they gave me a cut-off date of March 31 (with only two weeks notice) the site is still accessible as of today.

Now, I'm going to jump right in here and post two recent poems and one haiku. Taken together they pretty much speak to where I'm at in my life right now. I know it's all going some place better, so I just keep trudging, arthritic knees and all:

[See: Note @ bottom of post]

at this far end of the path
she’d never have expected
to be rending connections,
uprooting what little remained
of always fragile relationships,
one after the other,
and leaving their residue
by the wayside,
sad little heaps of compost

rather, she’d thought this end of life,
down into the unknown forest,
would be about mending, knitting
of the broken bones of things
that life had, willy nilly, tossed about
or that she had unwittingly or otherwise
fractured in the throes of pain and fear

but here she wanders, and on worse days
crawls, breaking, smashing open
what she stumbles over, hardened seed pods
whose withered hearts she reluctantly
leaves behind her

wondering how much more
breaking open she must bear
in order to find healing

* * * *

What worlds

What universes do I obliterate
when I do not honor the worlds in you
that lie behind your changeling eyes,

like the old shoemaker’s elves at night
doing all the too much and ever work?

We are all so much more
than we seem or know.

What worlds
What worlds

* * * *

fallen mirror:
numberless reflections
each holding the whole

By the way, I do not necessarily stick to the conventions of 5/7/5 syllables and a season word when writing haiku. I'll go more into all that in some future post, I'm sure. I won't be able to resist expressing my thoughts on writing haiku in English.

Well, that's certainly enough for a first post. Now, I have to get back to learning how this all works so I can make the blog look half way decent.

[NOTE AS OF 10-14-15, I have decided not to keep the first poem above ("composting") for a number of reasons. So it's been deleted from my computer and no paper copies exist anymore. I am leaving it up here as it's part of my first blog post ever.

'til next time, keep dreaming,

(If you wish to copy or use any of my writing or poems, please email me -- it's under "View my complete profile" -- for permission.)