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Sunday 1 April 2012

The Waterfall

being a Poetics ("Nightmare") prompt by Stu McPherson.

I saw the sacred waterfall when I was young
hidden behind lush greenery:
rushes from below, creepers from above -
and best of all for most exciting,
thick, overhanging trees.

The water stretched itself
across protruding rocks
like shirts of poorer quality
laid out to dry - or maybe not,
for some there were who said my "shirts"
were souls distressed,
their bodies gone -
some washed away,
some turned by salt to stone.
The wind would come
to calm their fears,
but all they'd do was moan.

But that was then and this is now,
and that was in
a lonely, wooded place
and this is where
I have no right to be
this late at night:
my parents' bedroom
with my mother's parents
in the ancient bed - appearing dead,
each with a lily laid across.

The waterfall
is where the wardrobe used to be.
Beside it, drinking from its waters, stand
two horse, purest white. I know,
the way you know things in a dream,
they are my parents.
Proof positive: they wink at me.

Last thing I know: the shirts are filling out,
are taking roughly human shapes,
collecting rocks and sticks
and will come after me.
They wave them threateningly.
I turn to run,
but feel my body falling through the air.
I wake up on the floor.


The Weaver of Grass said...

Don't like the idea of that dream - did you know most dreams only last a couple of seconds? Mine seem to last for hours.
Love the waterfall - want to go there.

stu mcp (hate & hope) said...

David- this was hauntingly beautiful. It gave me such contrasting imagery - the narrator as a child, as an adult, the bedroom turning into a wooded waterfall scene. The saddest, most melancholic, but very touching element of this poem was the horses - the visitors- passed kin- this spoke to me completely- particularly having lost two parents within 4 months- my dreams have been visited often by messengers- just letting me know that they are ok. This poem let me know about our connectivity as humans (if that makes sense)- this was great David - quality writing

Dick said...

Haunting. Almost like something out of myth, which, on Jungian reflection, contains so much from our collective fund.

David Cranmer said...

A very evocative poem, Dave.

A Cuban In London said...

Fourth to comment and third to use the same word: haunting. My favourite line is: The water stretched itself
across protruding rocks
like shirts of poorer quality

I've noticed that a lot of your pieces have a built-in sense of humour that might not be obvious on first reading. I read this one a couple of times. Initially I thought it sombre until I re-read that line and then everything slotted into place. Wonderful poem. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Brian Miller said...

whew...nicely done man...an intriguing progression from the woods to the parents room....knwing you should not be there...the dead grandparents and parents as horse...the filling out of the shirts was a great haunting visual and then unable to get away....nice

Scarlet said...

Your nightmare is real to me Dave. The waterfall, the ancient bed...all chilling with a touch of humor when your parents wink at you. Great read ~

Mary said...

This was frightening, Dave....wouldn't want those shirts following me around!

Manicddaily said...

My first comment lost--but lovely, David. I especially like the horses and your simple phrase of how you know them to be your parents - the proof positive. K.

Manicddaily said...

My first comment lost--but lovely, David. I especially like the horses and your simple phrase of how you know them to be your parents - the proof positive. K.

Daydreamertoo said...

Very haunting and the stuff of nightmares. We humans are such odd beings. How our dreams/nightmares interpret the events of our daily lives. It's turmoil and struggles and its joys. This is fabulous writing. All with the imagery of the confusion of a child mixing it all up with things and objects.
Really fabulous write and even more so, a gripping read.

Ygraine said...

Wonderfully symbolic dream, this, Dave!
Water symbolises Spirituality, and the shapeshifting of shirts into human figures an indication of rebirth.
The White horses? Carriers of your parents' Souls!
How's that for interpretation?
I surprise myself sometimes!! Hahaha

Wolfsrosebud said...

I've had that type of dream too... those gone and very missed. Wonderfully told.

Anonymous said...

This unfolds with grace and beauty, each line drawing me into the poem. You capture liminality well. Thank you.

Carl said...

Wow. I may never look at waterfalls the same way again. This will haunt me for some time.... Thanks for that.

Claudia said...

for me this has a strong movie feeling...i could see all that happened like a film playing before my eyes...very nice and vivid storytelling dave

Unknown said...

This powerfully told, so vivid and clear in its depiction of the dream world. I find its immediacy enhanced by the backdrop of memories, or what seem memories, occurring within the dream or out. That effect in itself, of creating the impression of memory shading into dream, and the boundaries between the two falling away, creates a powerful impression.

JANU said...

This is one beautiful dream, vividly painted with words.

jabblog said...

A very dramatic dream - the idea of the sacred waterfall being composed of distressed souls is haunting and then finding yourself in your parents' bedroom captures the incongruity and bizarre nature of dreams. Very enjoyable.

ds said...

I agree with Claudia--your dream unfolds like a movie (and isn't that the way they happen?). Waterfalls are my sirens--they make me want to fall into them--so this was intense. Shirt ghosts, your parents as white horses, winking. Brilliant stuff, sir. Beautifully worded. Thank you.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Visionary and haunting David. This time I couldn't but feel Rimbaud behind all this. Rimbaud, the first poet I have really loved.

Windsmoke. said...

Very haunting and enjoyable nightmare :-).

Janine Bollée said...

So clever.
It's upside down, inside out and back to front.
All at the same time, and then, intermittently, quite normal.

"Appearing dead,
each with a lily laid across"

Such a matter-of-fact dismissal of the scene
as if to say:
Well, that's alright then :-)

Gradually and almost imperceptibly, the strange laws and rules from dreams are made acceptable and everyday.That is, we begin to accept them as ordinary.

For me, it could have ended with the parents winking.
But that is probably because I'm missing something.
[Again ;-)]

Maude Lynn said...

This is deeply unsettling. Well written piece!

Luke Prater said...

Dave you are amongst the very best of the blogging poets. Your work amazes me often. Get a book published, man! Or if you did already, get another! You are a serious poet. I don't 'blow smoke' as they say. Scintillating. Missing you on the crit board :)

Dulcina said...

You woke up on the floor...you fell from bed like another waterfall.
I enjoyed the vivid description of your nightmare.
I especially like the purest white horses drinking from it representing your parents: lovely symbolism.
The waterfall of eternal life.
These are my favourite haunting lines:
for some there were who said my "shirts"
were souls distressed,
their bodies gone -
some washed away,
some turned by salt to stone.

This poem reminds me of another you wrote, Light and Dark, on December 23rd, 2011.
I my nightmares, when something or someone was coming after me, I couldn't run.

Dave King said...

Weaver of Grass
I did know that, yes. And yes again, I agree: they often do seem to go on for hours. Maybe time runs differently when you are asleep.

stu mcp
Yes, that does make sense. Interestingly, the horses seemed the most melancholic part when I awake and set abot not forgetting the dream. Your comments are intensely interesting. Thank you for them. Hope it didn't stir too much too many sad memories.

Mmmm, maybe there's something to this collective memory, after all - though so far I'm not convinced.

Thanks so much.

A Cuban in London
Great comment. Spot on. Thanks.

Thanks for this. It's very reassuring to hear such takes - just as I would have wished when I was writing.

Thanks so much for this. Really good to know your thoughts.

No, you're right. It was the only scary part of the dream.

Thanks for this. Absolutely, it impressed itself upon me later as the mainspring of the dream.

Thanks so much. Dreams ar ean odd mixture of clarity and confusion, I find. Very often what would seem clear is confused and that for which there is no evidence is unarguably so.

Yes, I go with that, all the way. it is a possible - highly probable - reading, but it is a strange phenomenon, is it not, the way dreams have a raft of possible interpretations. Thanks as always for a stimulating response.

I do't have them as regularly as I once did - or I don't remember them as often!

Good to have your comments. Thank you so much for them.

I do understand that response. Natural waterfalls, esp. small ones and in woods, often do strike me as eerie.

I like thaat. Thank you. The inspiration for my poems often is visual - all those years at art school, no doubt!

Yes, you are correct. The waterfall was an actual place, as was the bedrrom, of course. It's the people who are not so clear cut.

Hi and a warm welcome to you. Thank you very much for your feedback.

My thanks as always for an appreciative and thought-provoking comment.

I like that - waterfalls as your sirens. I understand this - and it has possibiliies. Maybe you should work on it?

Well, who am I to reject Rimbaud? Thanks so much for such a kind thought.

Much thanks for this.

A very warm welcome to you and thank you so much for your very kind and comprehansive critique. Each comment is reassuring in its own way - and I do see what you are getting at in finishing at the wink. I shall give it thought.

Mama Zen
Love this response. Thanks for it.

Wow! I am rather overawed by your response. I do thank you, very sincerely for it, and no, there is no book out there. I have made overtures to publishers, but either not the right oes or I haven't the necessary persistence. I'm contenting myself at the moment with the thought that my poems are probably reaching more people by being blogged than if printed. Thank you once again, and a warm welcome to you. I will maybe have a rethink.

Thank you for the comprehensive comment - and full marks for your memory!
Yes, I too, occasionally have this " frozen" state in nightmares when I am not able to move away.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Dave - this is one of your wonderful creative pieces that make me swear with the majesty of it!

I totally agree with Luke - you are an amazing poet - and do have a rethink!

Anna :o]

Dave King said...

Many thanks for this encouragement. To tell the truth, I have been somewhat gobsmacked of late by some I have received. It does mean a great deal to me. I am having a think. In fact I am trawling through my posts to see what is worth extracting. One prob might be that I have nothing of worth unpublished, so not sure what the next step will be. Thanks again.

Rinkly Rimes said...

Our escape routes change as we grow older. You sound content.

Anonymous said...

Such a lovely poem and great too.You write these yourself????