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The Long Dream (A Poem)

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When he sleeps, he fears to hear
His beloved's dying gasps
 haunted by the voice that sobs 
The name "Danny" from its tomb

But he dreams himself instead.

Spectacled and sharp of wit
He designs his deadly toys
Surely his dreams should be lit
Up with spies that he may love

But he dreams himself instead.

In a newsroom, plans and plots,
Stubs out fags, then rests and slumps
Into sleep and hopes therein
Will untangle all their schemes.

But it's music that he dreams.

From his fingers the ink spills
Sextets to his Trilby'd love
In the bathtub climbs and lies
And there thinks he'll dream no more

But dreams sweep him to a shore.

He's a writer, keen to tell
Tales of men whose dreams are plagued
by a giant, deadly whale
And so thinks he'll share their dreams

But a poet next, it seems,

Who dares dream of Fanny's lips
Breathing ragged, sans merci
Upon this, his final bed
cast away in Italy

But he dreams himself instead

As a murderer, vile descent.
Orange, myrrh and ambergris.
Draining virgins of their scent,
His dreams must come from his nose

But as spirit he arose.

Mastered by the books and arts
of a moored and much-wronged Duke
Making men mad where man doth
not inhabit. Freed, he's cast

As a mighty King at last.

But a fragile King, he finds
his head stripped of mighty crown
Locked away, cast off, deposed
What now, but in dreams to drown

But all dreams must come to pass.

Cast away upon the sea
Swept up onto England's shores
There he wakes and finds himself:
A bear who loves marmalade.