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Per Diem for September: Dream Speak

Kirsten Cliff removes us from the diurnal with her gallery of poems from across the thin curtain of our waking. She writes:

Suppose someone told you

that there was something that spoke to you every night,
that always presented you with a truth about your own life and soul,
that was tailor-made to your individual needs and particular life-story,
and that offered to guide you throughout your lifetime,
and connect you with a source of wisdom far beyond yourself.
And, furthermore, suppose that all of this was absolutely free.
Naturally you would be astonished that something like this existed.
Yet this is exactly the way it is with our dreams.”

—John A. Sanford, Dreams and Healing (Paulist Press, 1975)

The view I subscribe to in doing my own dream-work is that of Carl Gustav Jung, the twentieth-century Swiss psychiatrist. Paying attention to and interpreting my dreams is part of a spiritual path that I’ve chosen to take, and one I’m grateful to have found.

dream speak . . .
sunlight on the opening
tulip’s tips

“Jung observed that dreams perform restorative, corrective, compensatory, prophetic, and developmental roles in our psyche; that to attend to our dreams is to attend to the cry of the soul.”
From The Art of Dreaming by Jill Mellick (Conari Press, 1996)

But it doesn’t matter what beliefs one holds. We are fascinated by our dreams, and haiku is just one way of expressing the images and feelings we have gained from a night of dreaming. Our Japanese counterparts have been working with the stuff of dreams in their poetry for hundreds of years. Here I’ve collected a month of haiku that joins that tradition in celebrating dreams: our experiences of being in them, waking from them, and falling back into them.

As Joseph Kirschner wrote in Inside Out: Haiku and Dreams (Deep North Press, 2003), “One may consider each contributed dream haiku as a snapshot of an individual somewhere on his or her journey into heightened awareness – a spiritual awareness.”

See what this side of wakefulness makes of the other side all month via Per Diem, on the THF website.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. .
    I used to love nightmares more than ‘dreams’ and even had interesting “night terrors” that were challenging but I overcame.
    .
    What are dreams but a foray into a reality we avoid, maybe? 🙂
    .
    .
    version:
    .
    snowed in…
    the street lamps
    dream of Narnia
    .
    Alan Summers
    original: Blithe Spirit vol. 20 no. 4 (2010)
    .
    .
    bamboo in the rain
    the garcinia man cuts deep
    into my dreaming
    .
    Alan Summers
    Adventum Magazine (Issue IV January 2013)
    .
    .
    counting down

    to those waking dreams

    my skill at handguns
    .
    Alan Summers
    c.2.2. Anthology of short-verse ed. Brendan Slater & Alan Summers
    (Yet To Be Named Free Press 2013)
    .
    .
    midsummer dreams
    my friends in the patterns
    of bedroom walls
    .
    Alan Summers
    Sharpening the Green Pencil 2013 The Book of the Contest (Romanian Kukai Group)
    .
    .
    night of small colour
    a part of the underworld
    becomes one heron
    .
    Alan Summers
    Poetry as Consciousness – Haiku Forests, Space of Mind, and an Ethics of Freedom
    ed. Richard Gilbert Ill. Sabine Miller (Keibunsha, 2018, Japan)
    .
    .
    Pages 223 and 224:
    .
    This haiku is classified as mythopoetic reality. The mythopoesis [is] evident in the semantic twist of “small colour” of night, a part of which “becomes one heron.”
    .
    What lies between realism and imagination, between living and dreaming, [as] a particular form of sanctuary; a space of poiesis. It seems most fragile and nuanced, insignificant and ephemeral—yet it calls or we call, in seeking deeper, more enriching, increasingly multiple, multifarious dimensions of knowing in psyche.
    .
    Wallace Stevens refers to this poetical process as “enlargement”.
    .
    Commentary by Richard Gilbert, Japan
    .
    .
    First publication Credit: Modern Haiku Vol. 45.2 Summer 2014 ed. Paul Miller
    Other Anthology credits:
    Haiku 2015 (Modern Haiku Press, 2015) ed. Lee Gurga and Scott Metz
    Yanty’s Butterfly Haiku Nook: An Anthology (2016) ed. Jacob Salzer & Haiku Nook team
    .
    .
    .
    after rain midnight dreams a hedgehog
    .
    Alan Summers
    Publication Credit:
    brass bell: a haiku journal
    One-Line Haiku curated by Zee Zahava (2014)
    .
    .
    Unforgiving rain I write my next epitaph in a dream
    .
    Alan Summers
    Asahi Shimbun (Japan, July 2015)
    .
    .
    I dream of swimming office blocks
    .
    Alan Summers
    Blithe Spirit 25.4 (November 2015)

  2. Dear Kirsten,

    Per Diem is part of my early morning schedule, and I look forward to reading the haiku you’ve selected. Your “dream speak” is beautiful. I know of Jung but have not read his work directly. Surely appreciate rest and find that poems others find helpful have so many hours of quiet around them – which were required by health and caregiving. So the beautiful mysteries . . . sometimes though, when I taught full-time, gifts were given “in the middle of everything else.” My mother said, “If you’re a writer, you’ll write.”

    Always more to learn here – thank you.

    Ellen

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