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In dreams an island looms in silhouette
and speaks through the outline of a mouth
and murmurs it’s an idea not an island,
not an island.

An idea looms in dreams in silhouette
and opens as the outline of an island
as sails, like faces, unfurl and pass,
furl and pass.

What is an idea when it is an island?
Is there a dream book with the answer,
taking on the color of surrounding water,
becoming water?

An idea in a dream.  A dream of islands.
The solution to the riddle knocks without entering.
The waking world, a dragging anchor,
claws at the door. 

Photo by Madeleine Maguire on Unsplash

Mark Jarman

Mark Jarman is the author of Dailiness: Essays on Poetry (Paul Dry Books, 2020). Zeno’s Eternity, his next collection of poetry, will be published by Paul Dry Books early next year. He is Centennial Professor of English, Emeritus, at Vanderbilt University. His website is

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