By Richard Millwood
Come to me in the silence of the night;
Come in the speaking silence of a dream;
Come with soft rounded cheeks and eyes as bright
As sunlight on a stream;
Come back in tears,
O memory, hope, love of finished years.
Oh dream how sweet, too sweet, too bitter sweet,
Whose wakening should have been in Paradise,
Where souls brimfull of love abide and meet;
Where thirsting longing eyes
Watch the slow door
That opening, letting in, lets out no more.
Yet come to me in dreams, that I may live
My very life again tho’ cold in death:
Come back to me in dreams, that I may give
Pulse for pulse, breath for breath:
Speak low, lean low,
As long ago, my love, how long ago.
Christina Rossetti, 1862
I woke at 1:30am from the most warm of dreams.
I started on a train a bit like the old tram in Antalya, Turkey I had recently been travelling on.
Like a London bus, in my dream I had to pull a red cord running along the ceiling to make it stop, a block after where I so wanted it to.
My brother Seán brushed past me to get off and then I found myself walking back to where I was going, through rooms in an old building where they were filming for a TV programme. Young men were sitting on the floor in the first room, then as I entered a second room, a young woman producer glared at me as I walked past rows of clothing items arranged on the floor in small bundles in a grid.
I knew all that was irrelevant, as it was a family celebration I was attending in rooms further on.
As I walked, my aged and experienced Brentwood Labour comrade, David Minns appeared at my elbow walking alongside me – in real life he often shares his advice and experience, particularly in my role as chair of the local party.
In the dream he was urging me to allow time for my grief (I assumed regarding my family deaths). Then I saw my late sister Liz across the room, too far away to speak and instead approached my late father.
I was filled with enormous warmth as I pulled David and my father into an enormous hug, declaring my father to be amongst the finest men who lived. I squeezed my father so hard I could hear and feel him grunt with the pressure – then I woke, as ever, sorry not to enjoy even more!
I report this rather personal dream, because of the effect it had on my continuing emotional reality over the next few days. It says to me that not all of our reality is externally constructed in a physical world, some is made by ourselves either by being in the grip of a careering out-of-control dream or by employing rational thought to reassure ourselves that all is well.
It can go wrong, but it can go so, so, right.