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Dream of: 03 January 1987 "Reciting Poetry"

A woman who seemed rather peculiar to me was trying to teach me some poetry. The woman seemed liked someone I had known for a while, but she also seemed like a stranger. Her age was difficult to discern but she was probably in her 20s. Her facial features weren't pronounced. She was slender and dressed mostly in black.

She had been repeating some poems to me and I had been trying to understand and memorize them, but I was having a very difficult time. I couldn't seem to grasp central concepts and I felt as if I were just stumbling along. The woman clearly wasn't the patient sort and she was obviously becoming increasingly exasperated by my bovine nature. Finally she spurted out, "You're not very strong with the words, are you."

I immediately acknowledged that was my problem: I had a very difficult time with words. I didn't understand words well and I couldn't seem to grasp their meanings.

The woman pulled out another poem to show me. What she had in her hand looked like a piece of black bauxite in the shape of a rectangle a little longer and about as wide as the woman's hand. The surface of the side of the bauxite she showed me had been carved so that it had about a dozen different levels rising and descending from one end to the other. I touched it and felt that it was very smooth.

The woman said I was looking at a poem. I had the feeling that it was a particularly difficult poem and that she realized as much. It seemed to illustrate exactly the type of problem I was having with poetry. I saw no words whatsoever on the surface of the bauxite. It was completely indecipherable to me what it could possibly mean. I certainly had no idea what kind of poem could be contained within it.

The woman began reciting as if she were reading the stone. She had an energetic way of speaking and letting the words jump from her mouth. It was painfully obvious that I wasn't following the poem. I couldn't even completely understand it when she spoke it. She stopped and I asked her if she might decipher somewhat for me what she saw on the bauxite.

She clearly was becoming fed-up with me, but she began moving her hand over the stone and told me how easy it was. She touched the highest level of the stone and uttered a Greek word which began with a "c." She said it represented the height of Christianity. She then touched the bottom-most level of the rock and muttered another Greek word. She said that represented the depths of hell. She said that once those two words were known, then the other words simply fell into place and she began reciting the poem again. I still didn't understand, although some of her words seemed to be registering somewhat.

The woman finished the poem. She then began criticizing me and she seemed to be pointing out that I wasn't putting enough emotion into the effort: I needed to feel the poetry and thrust my being into it. Yet she seemed to have grown tired of our lesson and she was ready to recite a poem for herself, one with which she could let herself go.

We were outside; she stood up in the grass and began reciting again. She began dancing around making bizarre motions and finally she pulled out a hangman's noose. She seemed to be working herself up into a frenzy and she finally put the hangman's noose around her neck. While dancing wildly about, continuing to speak and finally wildly screaming the poem, with one hand she began pulling the noose as if she were trying to hang herself.

I thought her actions were more than just a little strange, but I had to admit that a central point of the poem was being made clear to me: that try as she might to hang herself, it simply wasn't possible to do so by the method she was using. One couldn't hang himself by pulling the noose tight with one's own hand.

I felt more and more uncomfortable and I finally walked away. Even though I wasn't that bright, I did indeed know some poetry and a poem even began flowing through my head as I walked along. It was a poem about a lamb which had become separated from the herd of sheep, had ventured near some water and was in danger of drowning. What I particularly noticed was that as I repeated the poem, it became clear to me how poetry reflected reality, and indeed in this case I felt there was a lost sheep which needed to be found.

My feeling was strongly reinforced when to my left I noticed a field with a herd of white sheep. I continued along until I reached a small stream and standing on the edge of the water was a black lamb. I quietly approached the lamb, intending to try to grab it. Then I noticed a second black lamb was also standing nearby in the water.

Suddenly from behind some bushes the woman appeared. She appeared to be wearing a black tuxedo, but her attire didn't stop her from getting on her knees and approaching one of the sheep. She quickly grabbed it and pulled it from the water. I crept up on the other one and was able to grab it. I held it awkwardly in my arms and I tried to position it so I could hold it better. It seemed to have rather sharp little hooves.

I carried it up on the bank and then noticed still a third little black sheep. It was standing near what looked like a piece of dead flesh. The flesh looked like the tit of a mother sheep which was dead. I guided the sheep away from the putrefying flesh.

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