The Poetry Corner

Dream Tragedies

By William Henry Davies

Thou art not always kind, O sleep: What awful secrets them dost keep In store, and ofttimes make us know; What hero has not fallen low In sleep before a monster grim, And whined for mercy unto him; Knights, constables, and men-at-arms Have quailed and whined in sleep's alarms. Thou wert not kind last night to make Me like a very coward shake, Shake like a thin red-currant bush Robbed of its fruit by a strong thrush. I felt this earth did move; more slow, And slower yet began to go; And not a bird was heard to sing, Men and great beasts were shivering; All living things knew well that when This earth stood still, destruction then Would follow with a mighty crash. 'Twas then I broke that awful hush: E'en as a mother, who does come Running in haste back to her home, And looks at once, and lo, the child She left asleep is gone; and wild She shrieks and loud, so did I break With a mad cry that dream, and wake.