A dream within a dream

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow —
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?  
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand —
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep — while I weep!
O God! Can I not grasp 
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

A dream within a dream written by Edgar Allan Poe will make you question your life’s purpose as soon as you’ve read the final sentence. As deep as that may sound it’s true, for this poem holds some very powerful messages that can be unraveled by the reader if they are willing to put in the effort. The poem has a rather grim tone and discusses some things that most people tend to not think or talk about on a daily basis. That being death. Even though it’s a dark poem there is beauty within, for it’s a poem that leaves one questioning many things. The poem is incredibly opened ended and can mean something entirely different from person to person. Different people will take away a different message from it and that’s the beauty of this poem. This poem is depicting the reality of how time is passing away and there is nothing we can do about the inevitable end that all humans face.

Many lines in the poem can be interpreted differently, for example “O God! can I not save One from the pitiless wave?”, this line can be interpreted in various ways but one of the more common ideas presented here is that life is like a wave that has its up and it’s downs and like life, a wave will have to reach the shore and come to an end. There is no denying that death is inevitable and when said like that everything sounds rather miserable. Even so life is filled with so many joys that it becomes easy to brush of this truth. Death is something one mustn’t dwell on as it easy to find yourself becoming absorbed in a world of negativity. This poem resembles the reality we all face in life but that doesn’t mean one must surround themselves in these realities. We all face death regardless to the quality of life we live but that doesn’t stop us from living. Its important people must live a life of fulfillment in which they set and achieve their ambitions. Time is always ticking by and some people are unable to grasp onto the time they have and put it to good use, whilst others can achieve extraordinary things with their time. The line from the poem, ‘And I hold within my hand, Grains of the golden sand’ reiterates this idea as it is referring to the sand as time. The poet is saying he is aware he controls his time on earth and its up to him how he uses it. By controlling time I do not mean he can control the time continuation but can control what he chooses to do with his time. The author makes its out like time is a personal belonging that is only affected by what he does with it, “How few! yet how they creep, through my fingers to the deep.” This line helps to strengthen the mentioned idea that time is a personal belonging to the poet because he regards the grains of sand as being in his hand and how little sand he clutches. This shows us that he is aware of his time as he is able to create a metaphor for how he perceives his time which shows he has a great sense of awareness around his own personal existence on earth. This concept is rather empowering because it gives the reader the feeling that their time on earth is only as good as what is made of it. How does one chose to spend their precious time, their ‘grains of golden sand’. Life and time. They are are the same thing intertwined into ones purpose. Your purpose is dependent on how willing you are to take action towards whatever aspirations you have. Time is not a physical thing but merely something we human beings have created for the sake of systems, measurement and security but this poem takes it out of the context and puts it into a philosophical perspective. When someone becomes aware of time and sees that they are not controlled by it but are the one who is in control of their time amazing things can be achieved. However it’s up to you how you perceive time and only you can be the decider of your fate.

You may find a positive message buried inside the poems discreet writing or perhaps you’ll be left with a negative outlook on life or maybe nothing at all. This is why it’s important after reading this poem to take some time in thinking about the poem and any questions that arise.

Respond now!