Sunday, August 30, 2009

Poetry Dreams

Last night I had a dream I met Walt Whitman's son, Ben. Ben Whitman.

Of course, as far as I know, Walt Whitman does not have a son named Ben, but there he was in my dream. He was saying he didn't know who his father was (he was probably in his fifties) and there was an announcement for anyone who might be able to help this man. I just remember searching a bookcase for Leaves of Grass with the above photo of Whitman on it and saying, "You look just like a young, shaved version of him." Somehow, we were sure it was him by the end of our talk.

I always wonder what poet dreams like this are telling me. I have been camping for two days and have not had poetry on the mind at all. Why was I thinking of Leaves of Grass? Of Whitman? Of a ghost son?

Maybe there's a poem in here for someone or for myself.


On a personal note, I wiped out mountain biking yesterday and almost ended up in the ER. What was stupid was that it was on what I'd call a "bunny hill." I was in my head thinking about autumn and other mountain bike hills I'd ride with the leaves changing and I absent-mindedly reached for my left brake (the front brake). Anyone who has ever ridden knows that if you want to completely flip over the front of your bike, this is the brake to press.

So my front wheel locked and I went flipping over the front of my bike and got a nice bruise/raspberry on my leg. That wasn't the issue, the issue was while I didn't hit my head, I somehow whiplashed it in the flip and had a terrible headache on the right side of my brain as well as pain behind my eye.

I was far enough ahead of my bike riding partners that I was able to get up so I wasn't found in my awkward position of girl in dirt, bike on body. I kept on for about 4 more miles then ended feeling as if I needed to go back to camp and rest.

Thankfully, my husband is a firefighter/EMT so he watched me for any bad signs.
I kept saying, "I don't want to be Liam Neesom's wife" to which my husband being unaware of the tragedy that happened to her said, "Why not? He's a rich and handsome man..."

Finally, the pain faded enough that I felt as if I didn't do some major damage to my brain.

It was a good reminder to:

1) Stay focused, even on the easiest parts.
2) It's okay to be in your head, but be in the moment when you need to be.
3) Mistakes happen even when we think we know what we're doing and have done it a million times before.
4) Always wear a helmet.

All good messages that can also be transferred over when writing a poem-- well, except for the helmet one, that would just be silly.



  1. Kelli! I would interpret "Ben" to be a part of yourself, a masculine and creative energy. He's the child of Whitman (he doesn't know it, but he is).

    Pretend you're describing Walt Whitman to someone who's never heard of him before. Write down that description. That is describing a part of yourself, a part that you're only now beginning to be able to place and identify. Until now, a fatherless part.

  2. I like Rebs interpretation a great deal :)

    And I probably should wear a helmet when working on poetry - I have fallen out of my chair before.

    And yes, I am a klutz!

  3. Reb,

    Thanks for that! That's an incredible interpretation. As I wrote the description, I could see themes of things that have been on my mind recently in regards to my own writing.

    Very helpful! Thank you. I'm continuing to go back to my dream and see if I remember any other details on it.

    Appreciate your note.

    * * *

    Very funny about falling off the chair...

  4. Hi, Kelli,

    Glad to hear you're okay, sorry about the accident. Remind me to tell you about my poetry dream, by the way. It's not as cool as yours, but it's interesting nonetheless :)

    Peter G.

  5. Yikes! Be careful. If you start seeing Ben Whitman at the store, at the library, etc., get to the nearest hospital. Stat!

  6. Sorry about the accident! Hope you are all better now :)
    I also like Reb's interpretation!

  7. I also probably should wear a helmet while I'm writing poems. I haven't ever fallen out of my chair while writing, but there's always a first time...

    And glad you're recovering from the bike spill.

  8. Good to know that you are OK. That did seem like a scary incident.

    And why don't I have poetry dreams? I want some of those. Or one. Or half.

  9. Thanks for the good wishes everyone. It was a good reminder for me to stay in the moment. I signed up for my first mountain bike race in Oct, so think good (and safe!) thoughts!

    Lori-- I think now that you've put it in your mind you want a poetry dream, you will have one. Just focus on a poet or poem before falling asleep and see what happens.

  10. So sorry to hear about the accident. Glad you are okay - and no don't become Liam's wife! I woke up this morning to a smoke detector going off ~ all is well...


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