I wake in total darkness, seeing naught.
My breath and heartbeat are the only sounds.
I feel hard ground, soft grass beneath my head,
And bitter cold that seeps into my bones.
I close my eyes.
Then, suddenly, day breaks:
Light bursts into existence all around,
From all the sky at once, and warmth returns.
And with this grand rebirth of glory, too,
The world begins to wake. The light’s first rays
Stir life around me into glorious motion:
A palomino pegasus takes flight,
And silver-winged insects swarm below.
Do I but dream? Or is this waking-real?
I see no way to tell, so I shall live
Until I sleep and dream, or till I wake.
This poem takes Aubrey Hansen‘s as-yet-unpublished setting “Erde” as its inspiration. (Unfortunately, all the publicly-linkable information about it vanished from the Web when she rebooted her blog …) This setting, even more than her worthy science fiction and alternate history, I am convinced has the potential to be one of the most significant literary contributions of our generation … but maybe she just caught my imagination. Write, Aubrey, write!
As always, I earnestly welcome your (further) 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’d like to read more of my poetry, you can read my archive (also organized in more manageable installments), follow this blog for (now only occasional) new poetry (among other things), or get my book, which contains over sixty of my best poems, each paired with a public-domain illustration or drawing. You may also share this poem with others, subject to my sharing policy.