Dreams Old and Nascent: Nascent

NASCENT

The world is a painted memory, where coloured shapes
Of old, spent lives linger blurred and warm;
An endless tapestry the past has woven, drapes
The halls of my mind, compelling my life to conform.

I have lived delighted in the halls of the past
Where dead men's lives glow gently, and iron hurts
No more, and money stinks not, and death at last
Is only sad men taking off their shirts.

But now I think I have seen it all, and now
I feel thick walls of stone behind the arras.
I am shut in, a prisoner, I know not how.
And past lives hamper me, clog and embarrass.

They have no hands, they have no bodies, all
These shapes that now are dreams and once were men.
And so my heart begins to cry and call
But to get out from this dim, dreadful den.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The surface of dreams is broken, the arras is torn,
There's a breach in the walls of the past, lets the daylight through.
Fluent figures of men go down the upborne
Track of the railway, alive, and with something to do.

Along the railway, active figures of men!
Each with a secret which stirs in his limbs, as they move
Out of the distance nearer, coming to prove
With a touch the dead and the living, while time counts ten.

In the subtle lift of the thighs as they come unmarching
Beats the new fresh air of life. They come for strife,
For the ripping of arras, and smashing of walls, and the fight for life;
With axe in hand, and the hammer, and the pick-axe over-arching.

Oh come, and break this prison, this house of yesterday!
The arras is all illusion, oh come and tear it away!
The walls are thick, and the inner rooms are such, they dismay
The heart, all crowded with slaves, most working, some few at play.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The old dreams are beautiful, beloved, soft-toned and sure,
But worn out, they hide no more the walls they stand before.
Walled in, walled in, the whole world is a vast impure
Interior, a house of dreams where the dreamers writhe and snore.

Oh come, and wake us up from the ghastly dream of to-day.
We asphyxiate in a sleep of dreams, rebreathing the impure air.
For the house is shut and sealed, and the breath of the hosts is grey
As they dream corrupted dreams, all poisoned with care.

The ghastly dream of labour, and the stench of steel and of oil.
The writhing of myriads of workmen, all dreaming they are going to be rich
And giving off dreadful effluvia in a ghastly effort of toil.
Unfinished for ever, but gasping for money, as they dream and they itch.

The ghastly dream of riches, of masses of money to spend,
Of walking over the faces of men, like cobble-stones!
Of riding, and being envied, such envy as has no end!
Of making a triumph of envy, the rich and successful ones

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The whole wide world is interior now, and we're all shut up.
The air is all close and poisonous, it has drugged our souls, so we sleep
A sleep that is writhing stupor, weighed down, so we can't wake up.
The rich and the poor alike dreaming and writhing, all in one heap.

Oh come, oh, men along the railway! Oh come as men
And break the walls of possession of all the wide world!
Give us air, we cry. Oh, let us but breathe again!
Let us breathe fresh air and wake from foul dreams in which we are furled.

To feel fresh air in our throats, to have fresh breath in our breasts,
To make new words with our lips, to escape the foul dream
Of having and getting and owning, the struggle which wrests
Money from out of the earth or the beast or the man, as they labour in steam.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Oh, men with the axe and the pick-axe, break the walls of the filthy dream
And release us, poor ones and rich ones, let us breathe and touch
One another in wonder of wakening, let us wake to the gleam
Of real daylight upon us, released from the foul dream's hutch.

For the proper dream-stuff is molten, and moving mysteriously,
And the bodies of men and women are molten matter of dreams
That stirs with a stir which is cosmic, as ever, invisibly
The heart of the live world pulses, and the blood of the live world teems.

And what is life, but the swelling and shaping the dream in the flesh!
And our bodies molten drops of dream-blood that swirl and swell
In a tissue, as all the molten cells in the living mesh
Of a rose-tree move to roses and thorns and a delicate smell.
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