Likelihood of Success

Ron Coleman’s pretty good blog

Yes, the weather is still miserable in New York.

Posted by Ron Coleman on January 30, 2008

Edgar Allan Poe:

Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I have never thought, not for a second, that “life is a but a dream.” There’s nothing dreamy about it to me. I can tell the furshlugginer difference! But I like what Poe says here, and I wish the last two lines of this half-stanza had been the first two, so that he would conclude with the same sentiment J.K. Rowling does when, in the seventh Harry Potter book, Harry has a dialogue with the dead Professor Dumbledore. It is profoundly resolving — almost too good, Harry believes, to be true. And, after all, his mentor is dead.

Haryry asks him, then, is this moment real? Or is it all in his head? To which Dumbledore replies — of course it is all in your head, Harry. But that does not mean it isn’t real.

UPDATE:  The sun is out!  And it’s not just in my head.  (In fact it’s still rather dusky in there.)


4 Responses to “Yes, the weather is still miserable in New York.”

  1. Jack said

    Within the heart, or in the head,
    How is fancy really bred?

    Within the blood, or in the soul,
    How in heavens do we know?

    And what is real about us now
    That this world will best allow?

    Is not God, or is he real,
    Tell me mortal, make appeal?

    All these questions answer not
    Things remembered, things forgot,

    And yet is love our best reward?
    Or things most ill we most abhor?

    One day to man is passing fine,
    The next eternal in his mind,

    But is the mind the truth we see?
    Or mindful truth quite absentee?

    I cannot answer what I know
    It matters not, not apropos,

    And yet all is mine, is mine alone
    To damn, or maybe, to atone,

    So is it real, or is it nay?
    If language could then I would say,

    But some things we can only hint,
    You cannot save what must be spent,

    And so to every man himself
    An Eden’s eve, or prison cell,

    I cannot help but wonder why
    Together most, alone awry,

    A man can doubt most everything
    Be it sure, or in a dream,

    Except his doubt seems all too true
    Even when he’s born anew.

  2. Jack, I am not paying for submissions, you realize.

  3. Jack said

    You know, a lot of people say that about poetry these days.

  4. jan said

    “Fleeting as were the dreams of old,
    Remembered like a tale that’s told,
    We pass away.”
    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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