“Averted Nightmare”

First day of class! A crowded lecture room,
A crush of people jostling for a seat,
But not a single face I think I know
(Until the dream, near morning, comes again).
For once not late, I still can hardly hear,
And, burdened by my books, might as well be.

The speaker in this dream is charismatic,
But the syllabus he reads is cruel,
And whispers say that he is only kind
In this first session—but what can I do,
With every other section more than full,
And this a mandatory entry course?

But at that moment, just before despair,
I blink, and saw the dream begin again.
But now, beside the only open seat,
I find a well-beloved, long-lost friend.
With courage that I only find in dreams,
I greet her with a warm and fierce embrace.

From there, the class proceeds on much the same.
But with a dear friend sitting by my side,
Things don’t look quite as bad; I think I’ll manage.
And from a nightmare I could not escape,
The Author has, with this one change, now made
A dream I vainly cling to when I wake.

I wrote this a couple of weeks ago, after the same dream which prompted last week’s poem. This is a description of the dream, as best I could remember it when I was awake.

As always, I earnestly welcome your comments, suggestions, questions, critique, or other feedback about this or any other part of my work. (In other words, if you liked this poem, or you didn’t like it, or it made you think of something, or … please leave a comment to let me know.) If you liked this, you can follow this blog, which includes one of my poems every Friday, or read other poems I’ve written here on my blog (starting with those linked from one of the “archive ” installments, since the full archive is by now, at well over a hundred poems, somewhat daunting); I’d especially like to know, as part of my preparations for a collection, which poems you think are my best. You may also share it with others, subject to my sharing policy.

This poem is also archived on my wiki.

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