The Dream of Now

The Dream of Now, by William Stafford

This, and not I Go Down to the Shore, might be the first poem I memorized as an adult, years ago now.*

I speak it a lot, but I’m still not certain how best to do that. I did a bunch of takes for The Memory Book Project, and ending up going with the first one. It sounded the most like me, and not someone trying to get the poem right.

The Dream of Now offers a comfort that approaches—then veers away from—cliché, along with an arresting opening image I regularly wake to, and one line that sounds simple, but which I still don’t understand.


*We are not counting The Highwayman—a very different sort of poem—which I had entirely by heart in my middle teens, but have since more than half mislaid. My heart is perhaps a bit different these days.

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