Who’s left to understand my dreams for me?
Della Casa in that book of manners
which took Dante to task for bad language
deemed almost all dreams worse than pointless,
especially if we have to listen to them.
But you listened to dreams with a wide-eyed,
belief in their importance. The importance,
to you, of other people’s inner lives
is a source of continuing amazement to me,
and now an absent source. I can feel for
the person who left a note on your grave
(perhaps I shouldn’t have read it, talking of manners):
You were the only one who believed in me.
I keep thinking you might’ve kept a little more
of that belief for yourself, for your own life
which could hardly have been replenished by
giving so much away. Even now when you’ve given
no less than everything I catch myself
wondering what on earth you’d have made of me
being ferried last night in a stone coracle
by one Eric the Red and an African pilot,
who looked like the ivory Pequod’s third harpooner,
to a rockpiled coast on which a village hung
somewhere I guessed must be the Western Isles…
With you there to hear it, it wouldn’t seem so pointless
– but you’ve taken your skills and your odd
questing respect for the other world
to the other world, wherever that is,
however we get there – taken them with you
now when more than ever
I’m in need of them to understand.