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Dream Gates

Dream Gates

The Double on the Balcony

You are not my shadow.Thumbnail image for Balcony_granada.JPG
You stand closer to the sun.
Of all my doubles, you are the most interesting.
You are watching when I forget you.
You are with me when I don’t notice.
You are not my judge, or my guardian angel.
You are the one who remembers.
You are my witness on the balcony above the world.

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My friend the witchdoctor calls you
My “double in heaven”. You smile at this,
Reminding me the African lives are mine, not yours.
You saw all of it, from your balcony,
But did not drink the blood or savage joy.
It’s the other way round in other lives, you say:
From life to life, we change places.
When you come down to Earth
I take your seat on the terrace above.

We are together now, for a moment.
I’ve slipped out of the body
That neither confines nor delights you
To join you on your balcony above the world.
The wine in the cup is the color of moonlight.
Below us are all the roads of the world,
The casts and dramas of the many lives
Laid out in dioramas, as manageable from here
As toy soldier sets, or tea-party dolls.

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You chide me gently (since humans are forgetful animals)
For forgetting you. I have been a serial amnesiac,
Losing bright nights when we roamed together,
And an ingrate – not seeing your hand in everyday miracles,
Not hearing your voice in the still sure moments of knowing,
Not feeling the breeze of your wing when you come,
In reluctant extremity, to restrain or release me.

When my road was blocked, you were the one
Who reminded me we can fly.
You love to travel in disguise
And I often missed you behind your masks.
When I mislaid my sense of humor
You burst in as a stand-up comic
And shocked me alive with belly-bawdy farce.
It’s easy for you to bring light, and lighten things up:
You stand closer to the sun.

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Note: Poems really shouldn’t be explained. Nonetheless, I’ll add two notes on the sources of my poem. The Yoruba of West Africa say that while we are living our lives in the “marketplace” of this world, we have a “double in heaven” who observes us from a higher level, and that we swap roles from life to life. In a big dream Wolfgang Pauli encountered a mysterious bright-and-dark stranger and (having been mentored for years by Jung on the categories of analytical psychology) asked, “Are you my shadow?” To which the stranger responded, “You are MY shadow. I stand between you and the sun.” (For the exact quote, and the full story, read the chapter on Pauli and Jung in my Secret History of Dreaming)

  • http://annsbridgestotheafterlife.blogspot.com/ Ann West

    Robert, thank you for these beautiful words, thoughts, feelings! They brought tears – tears of joy and awareness of my intimate connection with my other self (selves). It’s been a while since I’ve felt the reality of that connection to this extent. I always know, but don’t know how to express the meaning in words. So, thank you!

  • http://silvermoonfrog.blogspot.com Honor

    I love this Robert. Thank you for sharing it. This last Spring I was living a story of connections with people through layers of time that seemed to be compressing. I tried to figure this out on paper at some point, and ended up doing a series of drawings, somewhat mandala-like. The drawing that initiated these, was an attempt to illustrate what you write about (in part), in conjunction with how we are all connected on either side of the veil between these two you speak of. Ultimately I see that what we look like is an infinity symbol – on either side of the membrane of dimension (that rests between loops) is each of these selves – our current life, and what we are when we’re not here. In my first drawings, we’re quite small on this side and quite large on the other side (where we also overlap with others). My feeling is that a goal might be to get to where the loops are equal and more like the infinity symbol, and at the same time the membrane begins to disappear and we more consciously move around the loop and see from all these vantage points.
    Interestingly, while I was doing these drawings I had the following dream (May 25, 2010):
    My drawings are lighting up or glowing in certain parts and they relate to certain people and my cats. I am getting that they are connecting people to each other, creating a network. They are bringing these people into a certain harmony and connection. I feel like it is my inner circle, including the folks I have made important to myself, like D and Q, etc. And my cats, because I can see the lights touching my cats on this dimension as they are on my bed with me.
    Some of the drawings are at: http://silvermoonfrog.jalbum.net/May%202010%20Drawings/slides/May%207a%20MSM.html

  • Nina

    Thank you very much for the enthralling poem on our “celestial self” and for Pauli´s dream about the shadow as well.
    I think his dream, through the stranger´s words, gets one important message across. It´s always up to our will how much light we allow to shine out of us. We have made the obstacles, maybe manifested in dirty-coloured shadows and we can dissolve them by accepting them. The importance of making our being as clear as possible in our daily situations has been known everywhere and since ever.
    The devils are great experts for these questions as I was reminded when listening to Yeats adaptation of the Irish folk tale Countess Kathleen O´Shea (I got interested in his literary works owe to your posts and people´s comments and I haven´t got further yet but I will) When she comes to sell her soul, one of the devils says: “The soul, like the diamond, is appraised by its transparency.” It´s beautiful truth, and really who can know more about clarity of the soul than her counter players. So in the end it looks like, one should be very grateful to his or her shadowy parts for giving the right directions. I usually realize it only when it´s too late :-).
    Lots of inspiration for lots of great poems.

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