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Edgar Allan Poe

(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849 / Boston)

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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?

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002
Edited: Monday, August 18, 2014
# 10 poem on top 500 Poems

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8.7 / 10 ( 1,036 votes )

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  • Rookie - 0 Points Audrey Malloy (11/14/2014 9:38:00 AM)

    I don't think the sand stands for time in the sense of the day by day but by the sum of our time on earth. We try to grab it and hold it but it slips through our fingers nonetheless. How many times have you said, it seems like only yesterday. Think about how Poe lost his mother, then his stepmother, then Virginia. A deep sadness not just for the loss of the people he loved, but a deep sadness for the fleeting moment he was given with each. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 30,197 Points Aftab Alam Khursheed (10/31/2014 9:47:00 AM)

    This earth is itself a dream and we dream so dreaming within the dream thus making earth a Pilgrim why because poet has many to ask with Lord- 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? how beautifully asked... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 322 Points Chris Howie (10/11/2014 8:56:00 PM)

    A poem about dreams, delivered in Poe's classic stylings. The tone, the voice, and the meter itself is quite easy to read, and there is a relateble sympathy in the way he, as we all try to, control and grasp each day as it passes, yet find that time marches onward. One of Poe's best, and that's saying something. (Report) Reply

  • Bronze Star - 5,547 Points * Sunprincess * (6/3/2014 7:56:00 PM)

    ............truly this is a brilliant write....and one of my favourite poems....love reading this one... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Eric Sawyer (5/21/2014 9:05:00 AM)

    I disagree about the golden sand. I don't believe it represents time. I feel that the golden sand is everything good and positive. Also I have thought that the golden sand could be about women (or men) too. (Report) Reply

    Rookie - 0 Points Wenzdae W (8/28/2014 6:46:00 AM)

    he means each grain is one day of your life

  • Rookie - 166 Points Angelina Holmes (5/6/2014 8:30:00 PM)

    I love the way he talks about time with the golden sand. The sand can represent time and how it slips through his fingers no matter how hard he tries to hold onto it. Very nice and rich poem. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 393 Points Michelle Claus (5/1/2014 11:14:00 AM)

    At the close of the first stanza, Poe declares that this is a dream within a dream. At the end pf the second stanza, he begs the question, Is this a dream within a dream? We each wrestle with the nature of existence, time, and how to reconcile our inevitable end. This poem has universal appeal. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 100 Points Nathan Coppedge (4/28/2014 12:09:00 PM)

    I recommend my profile for some competition to Poe. Sublime poems without the pangs of sadness, mixtures of the urban and the sublime. (Report) Reply

  • Bronze Star - 5,547 Points * Sunprincess * (4/27/2014 12:40:00 AM)

    ......thinking of all of those yesterdays....now they only feel like a dream...life is truly a mystery...an amazing poem.. (Report) Reply

Read all 195 comments »

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