Darkness is enveloping my body, sleep is trying to claim me.
But is it truly sleep, is it actually the real thing.
Or that phantom half-world between sleeping and waking,
Where today and the past fight for supremacy in my dreams?
It feels like a giant whirlpool, ever pulling me down,
Further and further under, with its unrelenting hold.
Into that unknown world where reality and memories are merged,
So that you cannot tell which thoughts will surface tonight.
The more I try to fight, to gain control of events,
The harder I am pulled, until that control is surrendered.
Because in that netherworld I must give way to the unknown force,
That will make the decision on which path I will tread.
Sometimes it is a frightening path, one I attempt to resist,
But the more I try the greater becomes it's vice-like grip.
Until I wake with a cry, covered in fear-induced sweat,
Or sit up quickly, still asleep but mumbling words thought forgotten.
Other times it is warm and pleasant, a place of peace,
Where I know I can feel relaxed and let it carry me along.
A world where nothing can harm me, and peace will reign,
Until again waking claims me, taking me back to reality.
There are frequent nights when two sides are calling,
And to visit them both at random is not an unusual event.
But on these nights the confusion is greater than normal.
And sleep becomes a time of great confusion, not sweet rest.
No matter which world I inhabit in my dreams,
When I awake their memories are no more.
Or they have become so jumbled in my mind,
That to try and sort them out is beyond me.
There are times when I feel detached from my body,
And float above, looking down on my sleeping form.
These are nights when I feel I am flying above the world,
Floating to whatever place chance will take me.
They are nights where there is no fear, only exhilaration,
Because I feel totally free of my earthly worries.
These are nights when my fantasies are allowed to take over,
And times and places, real or imagined, are spread out before me.
They are also nights which leave memories deep in my mind's recesses,
To perhaps be unconsciously recalled at some later time.
Recalled because a place I have never been before seems already known,
And events that are happening appear to be a replay from my mind.
These are the nights I prefer, because there is no dying or violence,
Only peaceful faces, and worlds where tranquility is the norm.
How I wish there were some way to make all nights like these,
But this will never be, as long as I remain a mere earthly being.
Copyright - John Casey - 24 January 1995