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The House Of Dust: Part 02: 04: Nightmare Analysis



Author: poem of Conrad Aiken Type: poem Views: 6

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'Draw three cards, and I will tell your future . . .

Draw three cards, and lay them down,

Rest your palms upon them, stare at the crystal,

And think of time . . . My father was a clown,

My mother was a gypsy out of Egypt;

And she was gotten with child in a strange way;

And I was born in a cold eclipse of the moon,

With the future in my eyes as clear as day.'



I sit before the gold-embroidered curtain

And think her face is like a wrinkled desert.

The crystal burns in lamplight beneath my eyes.

A dragon slowly coils on the scaly curtain.

Upon a scarlet cloth a white skull lies.



'Your hand is on the hand that holds three lilies.

You will live long, love many times.

I see a dark girl here who once betrayed you.

I see a shadow of secret crimes.



'There was a man who came intent to kill you,

And hid behind a door and waited for you;

There was a woman who smiled at you and lied.

There was a golden girl who loved you, begged you,

Crawled after you, and died.



'There is a ghost of murder in your blood—

Coming or past, I know not which.

And here is danger—a woman with sea-green eyes,

And white-skinned as a witch . . .'



The words hiss into me, like raindrops falling

On sleepy fire . . . She smiles a meaning smile.

Suspicion eats my brain; I ask a question;

Something is creeping at me, something vile;



And suddenly on the wall behind her head

I see a monstrous shadow strike and spread,

The lamp puffs out, a great blow crashes down.

I plunge through the curtain, run through dark to the street,

And hear swift steps retreat . . .



The shades are drawn, the door is locked behind me.

Behind the door I hear a hammer sounding.

I walk in a cloud of wonder; I am glad.

I mingle among the crowds; my heart is pounding;

You do not guess the adventure I have had! . . .



Yet you, too, all have had your dark adventures,

Your sudden adventures, or strange, or sweet . . .

My peril goes out from me, is blown among you.

We loiter, dreaming together, along the street.






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