The Problem with Dream Interpretation – TheScreamOnline
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The Problem with Dream Interpretation

He dreamed of risking everything,
Even lying on greasy railroad ties
Between the humming rails
While a train roared over him,
Just to get her attention.

A death wish, said his friend,
The famous psychotherapist.
A passive attitude towards your last girlfriend,
Said his best buddy, annoyed at the metaphor.
Two pencils and the roar of your soul,
Reflected a mystic artist he knew.
It’s obvious, snarled an old girlfriend,
You’re scared to leave any tracks behind,
So you hide under the first thing that passes by.
See what happens, sighed his mother,
When you don’t look both ways before
Crossing the railroad tracks.

“Each of us is meant to rescue the world,”
His guardian angel whispered into
The nautilus shell of his soul.
“Get on up, get on up, jump on the next train,”
His own conscience coaxed him.

The dreamer interpreted his own dream
As meaning he hadn’t woken up yet,
That he had one last chance
To risk it all
For the one thing
No one else
Had named.
You know,
don’t you?

(from “Night Train: New Poems,” Sisyphus Press, 2007)


Windows and Doors

for Jo

I dreamt of you standing before a window by the sea,
in a place that sounded like Brittany.
You were gazing with your thousand-yard stare
at ten-thousand-year-old bluestone megaliths,
which were poised along the shore, ancient sentinels,
strong and steady, as you make me feel
when we walk together, hands entwined,
with the growing strength of oaks
sending out life-seeking roots
through solid rock.

And then you murmured,
I knew I would be the one.

Those dreamquake words rumbled in me
as if another late-night California tremor
had shaken our house on the hill.
When my eyes opened the next morning
our world was not shattered, but still standing.
You were hovering by the window in a wispy white dress,
sunlight blithely dancing on your beautiful bare shoulders,
and spangling your long black hair.

You must have felt my eyes kissing your windblown soul
because you blushed and turned to me, then asked
where I had wandered off to while I was dreaming,

as if you didn’t know
about the small hidden door
in our house of dreams.

(from The Blue Museum: Poems. Sisyphus Press, 2004)

Phil Cousineau is an award-winning writer and filmmaker, teacher and editor, lecturer and travel leader, storyteller, and host of LinkTV’s Global Spirit. His fascination with the art, literature, and history of culture has taken him from Michigan to Marrakesh, Iceland to the Amazon, in a worldwide search for what the ancients called the “soul of the world.” With more than 25 books and 15 scriptwriting credits to his name, the “omnipresent influence of myth in modern life” is a thread that runs through all of his work. His books include Stoking the Creative Fires, Once and Future Myths, The Art of Pilgrimage, The Olympic Odyssey, The Hero’s Journey, and Wordcatcher. See our Talent Index for more of Phil’s work in TheScreamOnline. His website.

Photo ©Joanne Warfield
Polaroid Time Zero Manipulation