The Dream; Sunday Night, Almost Light.
I dream of dark nights
that cannot hold their identity tight,
that break into tight pieces of light
when mind succumbs to dream’s dimension
and stumbles (still sweaty under sheets)
upon hidden altar in open field,
light cast as day amid dark of night,
depth of dream, this stone altar cast of granite grey
and cold where congregation gathers,
each pebble imprinted with the palm
of every parishioner now present before me,
though I know no rock embedded in this sacrificial table
(where body is broken and blood is drunk)
is a captor to my own print
because still I sleep somewhere
above the grey clouds turning translucent
like my skin in this dream
and grass burning green behind the hazel of my eyes
that know this sight is not sound in sense.
Children come to candle
and their faith gives way to flames fired from fingers
in this field of unfavourable familiarity,
in this night of broken light
where community comes together to confess,
confide, comfort or criticize my coming.
I dream of day borne in a twist of still night,
stilled light, still strange in fields I’ve flown from
and now flung back to where heads turn
below those clouds, low and grey, baying,
still grey, stilled breath, as if all colour
(except the growing grey and grinding green)
have not yet been considered.
Stony eyes, cast in concrete that could crush,
cower upon my questioning
of how I fled so far from all that stands so close.
I dream of dark nights
on old roads I could walk blindly,
your cold caress of cross now left behind me
in that stone-cold field now returning to shadow
that the night somehow chose to light for me,
I shiver beneath the darkness,
on this shady street where I stand
and somewhere, in the distance, in the bed,
I lie looking for shelter beneath my blanket of sleep.
I come upon a clearing,
a turning, a returning, I am home,
not my home but a house called home,
that old home I no longer hold the keys to
(though my pockets tingle with too many connections
to other doors now closed).
But it is the home recalled
only in photographs now fading,
not in the building still standing,
a meander of the memory
I barely have the right to call mine
like this skin turning translucent,
twisting off the bone, falling and fading
from a form I seem to not recognize in this sleep.
Still, I search in pockets
hoping to pull out not another cross
to carry on shoulder, to bear down on this tight chest,
growing tighter under this night, now darker,
on this dark night once somehow light,
in this twisting dream
I am both aware of and oblivious to.
I find no key or single soulful saviour
in this starless night,
even the simple sailor had at least the stars
when lost at sea, what hope is there to be found
when one is lost in the dream
he never deemed desirable to dream?
And I stop,
time stops, breath stops.
I stop on front of open door,
wide open in this still night,
still a dream, still asleep,
but I did not open the door,
I did not break handle upon floor
or toss dishes from dresser
or painting from wall.
I did not.
I did not ache for the field
or the weary worshipers watching me
find footing upon a land that has forgotten my print,
whose eyes still creep across my flesh,
sensing its scent to be something foreign,
something to fear.
I did not come willingly
within this nightmare
to stand before this open door,
this battered threshold,
this scene that has lost all soul.
I did not come to drown within the dream
but then came the scream,
behind my ears,
tearing through this dark night,
dark dream, once for a time light,
that scream creeping along the covers,
slipping through time and its displaced dimensions
and settling upon my mouth as I open my eyes
from all that was a dream,
open eyes to the sound of my own scream
beneath the stilled light,
filled with a stilled fright,
below the darkness
that uncovers the stillness of this night,
All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly