Poetry of Kansas

A Dream Within a Dream.

I had a dream within a dream;
   I dreamed that I was dreaming,
As mellow light the queen of night
   Across my room was streaming.
I dreamed that where the harvest fair
   Invited harvest sabres,
I swung my blade, until the shade
   Allured me from my labors.
Among the trees a gentle breeze
   Set all the leaves a-flutter;
While sweet-voiced birds poured forth the words
   The zephyrs tried to utter.
With every thought of toil forgot,
   Unconsciousness soon found me;
Fantastic things on dreamy wings
   Seemed floating all around me.
I cannot tell what subtle spell
   Effected thus my capture;
But sorrow, pain, and all their train
   Were gone; and all seemed rapture.
And thus, at last, the day was past;
   But when the spell unbound me,
Lo! at my side, from far and wide,
   The reapers stood around me.
The Master came and called each name
   Each man in turn replying
How long he'd wrought, what sheaves he'd
   How hard the day, or trying.
In deepest shame I heard my name;
   I crimsoned fast and faster;
I felt disgrace writ on my face,
   And thus addressed the Master:
"Good Master, be not wroth with me,
   Nor too severely blame me;
By heat oppressed I stopped to rest,
   When slumber overcame me.
"Thus lying here, sleep's prisoner,
   The precious time slipped by me;
But I'll redeem these hours which seem
   Thus lost, if you'll but try me."
Though kindly sad, his answer had
   A tone remorse-demanding:
"Yon coming rain will spoil the grain
   Which you to-day leave standing."
Just as he spoke I really woke,
   Rejoiced to find, though weeping,
No wasting grain, no threat'ning rain;
   I 'd only dreamed of sleeping.
And more and more I 'ye pondered o'er
   This strange, impressive vision,
And tried to glean what it might mean,
   Till this is my decision:
The world the field, and souls the yield;
   The Christian church the reapers;
The ones who play life's hours away,
   The shade-enchanted sleepers.
The evening scene I take to mean
   That there is surely coming
A day when we shall clearly see
   Of life the total summing.
Though many stand with empty hand,
   Life's harvest-time all slumbered,
I know that some well-sheaved will come:
   May I with these be numbered.

__Harry E. Mills.

The Sod House in Heaven
Harry E. Mills
(Topeka, Kansas.: Geo. W. Crane & Company. 1892)
Pages 74-78

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July 29, 2002 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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