Dreams and Nightmares

Dreams and Nightmares (Written November 9, 2013)

This is the stuff of nightmares,
This is the stuff of dreams,
This is the doubt we hold of the world:
With this the nighttime teams.

A foggy thought left half undone,
A memory that’s not quite there,
A scene that’s familiar that you can’t recall,
Yet somehow has caught you ensnared.

A horror remembered but never first felt,
Just imagined, or forgotten perhaps,
A feeling of terror that still remains,
But will, after time, come to lapse.

Happy nostalgia without a memory,
A longing for something you never possessed,
The briefest of glimpses to something grand
A pleasure with which you’ve been blessed.

This is what the nighttime is,
This is what is the dream,
This the nightmare we wish to forget:
This is our reality’s seams.


So, I don’t actually have much to say. My day was exceedingly uneventful. Really. I woke up and got dressed and whatnot… Then I read for a while… Then I watched a few episodes of Fringe. Then I cleaned up because my little brother got home today and we wanted the house to be clean when he got back. He had been at the seminary (where you go to prepare to become a priest, if you did not know). He’d just been checking it out to see if he might study there after he graduates next year. I am fairly positive he will go, but I’m not certain he will end up a priest. I used to be completely sure he would be, but now I wonder if he isn’t going to become a teacher instead. Of course, he could be a teacher as a priest too, priests do teach after all, so maybe that will happen. *shrug* That is, of course, yet to be seen. All for the future, I suppose.

So, why the poem about dreams and nightmares? Well, I said I’d been watching Fringe, right? The episode I last watched was all about dreams. I’ve mentioned before that I have a history of bad dreams, right? Well, *shrug* I was just thinking about that. I mean, well, yeah… I guess that is it. =/ Well that was boring! Hmm.. oh, I know! How about this!

Do you know where the word “nightmare” comes from? It comes from Old Irish nochd, or Old English niht, or the more commonly known Latin nox, all meaning night, and the Old Norse word mara, meaning incubus, monster, or goblin. The original/etymological meaning of the word nightmare was actually “an evil female spirit afflicting sleepers with a feeling of suffocation”. Isn’t that cool?  I suspect that that probably had something to do with the early beliefs concerning sleep paralysis (where you sort of wake up, but not really, and can’t move- speaking from experience, it is pretty freaky). They used to think that it was caused by a goblin or an incubus because it is frequently accompanied by a strong feeling of terror. And, of course, it is common that sleep paralysis is accompanied by hallucinations, frequently that of a hag bending over you. Coincidentally, sleep paralysis can frequently be accompanied by sever sleep apnea- hence  the suffocating. Though, I suppose, the suffocating could be because extreme fear can make it hard to breath. Interesting, isn’t it?

John Henry Fuseli- The Nightmare

The Nightmare
by John Henry Fuseli


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