Do they dream of past lives and unlived dreams
unspeakably human or unimaginably bestial?
Do they struggle to catch in their slumber
what is too slippery for the fingers of day?
Are there subtle nocturnal intimations
to illuminate their undreaming hours?
Are they haunted by spectres of regret
do they visit their dead in drowsy gratitude?
Or are they revisited by their crimes
transcribed in tantalising hieroglyphs?
Do they retrace the outline of their wounds
or dream of transformation, instead?
Do they tug at obstinate knots
inassimilable longings and thwarted strivings?
Are there agitations, upheavals or mutinies
against their perceived selves or fate?
Are they free of strengths and weaknesses peculiar
to horse, deer, bird, goat, snake, lamb or lion?
Are they ever neither animal nor human
but creature and Being?
Do they have holy moments of understanding
deep in the seat of their entity?
Do they experience their existence more fully
relieved of the burden of wakefulness?
Do they suspect, with poets, that all we see or seem
is but a dream within a dream?
Or is it merely a small dying
a little taste of nothingness that gathers in their mouths?
Yahia Lababidi (born 1973) Egypt
Source: Big Bridge
The poem is available in his book Balancing Acts: New & Selected Poems 1993 – 2015 which can be purchased here