"What Do Animals Dream?" A Reading on DSound

in dsound •  last year  (edited)


My poem was inspired by watching a dog sleeping, with their eyelids twitching. What began as a curiosity about animals and dreaming soon gave way to a meditation on the human condition. This piece is especially dear to me since it is the first of my poems to be widely used in a college textbook in the USA and beyond, namely, the best-selling anthology: *Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing* (Pearson, 10th Edition)

It is my hope to create, over time, a small virtual reading room on @dsound, where you can pass by—relax, reflect and refresh—as you listen to some poetry...


What Do Animals Dream?

Do they dream of past lives and unlived dreams
unspeakably human or unimaginably bestial?

Do they struggle to catch in their slumber
what is too slippery for the fingers of day?

Are there subtle nocturnal intimations
to illuminate their undreaming hours?

Are they haunted by specters of regret
do they visit their dead in drowsy gratitude?

Or are they revisited by their crimes
transcribed in tantalizing hieroglyphs?

Do they retrace the outline of their wounds
or dream of transformation, instead?

Do they tug at obstinate knots
inassimilable longings and thwarted strivings?

Are there agitations, upheavals or mutinies
against their perceived selves or fate?

Are they free of strengths and weaknesses peculiar
to horse, deer, bird, goat, snake, lamb or lion?

Are they ever neither animal nor human
but creature and Being?

Do they have holy moments of understanding
deep in the seat of their entity?

Do they experience their existence more fully
relieved of the burden of wakefulness?

Do they suspect, with poets, that all we see or seem
is but a dream within a dream?

Or is it merely a small dying
a little taste of nothingness that gathers in their mouths?


© Yahia Lababidi, author of Balancing Acts

(Image by Davide Ragusa, Unsplash)



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Oh and you could have continued. This poem goes on along with my day that I am calling a new awakening, yesterday I went through a down spiral and today I am awake again and this poem is a cherry top. And finally I get to hear your voice. Means so much...Thank you and I give thanks for your spirit and heart that continues to pour out richness. So happy we all on Steemit get to share this part of your journey. @yahialababidi

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Wrapping you in hugs, for lack of any words of wisdom, @rensoul17. You words, your thoughtful commentary, your selflessness - you mark but not to scar. May your awakening last a lifetime or two.

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Brave New Day, Dear Ren... Your comment reminds me of a line by Nietzsche about our virtue after having slept, awakens refreshed 🤓

Long may your new awakening last & I’m happy you appreciated this reading. Really, enjoying @dsound and while I have had to turn down a few opportunities to mentor newbies on Steemit, in writing, reading outloud is one way I’m perfectly comfortable spreading the Good News of Poetry 🤗

With Much Gratitude, Yahia

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I'd give one of my limbs to be mentored by you, but alas....

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Dear-so-soon-Inna, I know (next to) nothing, that’s why I must decline kind offers by writing groups or individuals, here, or elsewhere.

Something bubbles forth, sometimes, and I can neither summon it, nor send it away.

I imagine your writing experience is not too much different...

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True, mostly. But you know that already.

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To get an idea of my dark night of the soul that seemed to come out of nowhere yesterday please check out my latest poem on my blog. I chose to write through my blues.....@yahialababidi

On a slightly more serious note, our remaining pup at 14.5 dreams deeper than ever, but it's always, always accompanied by the dance of his back paws, as if he's running to something, to somewhere in each of these dreams. I'd spent countless hours imagining the world that calls to him thus....

Could never articulate any of it. And now, I don't have to.

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The dreaming deeper than ever seems a parable, or euphemism, for approaching The Deep End...

But, that might be my morbid imagination. Animal dreams are serious business, like ours (especially, if you’re Buddhist, or in analysis). Birds, for example, rehearse flight formation; other animals, too, (like humans) process what they’ve learned that day, or might’ve-could’ve learned 😃

Happy this poem speaks to you, my friend.