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Night Thoughts of a Poet

By Rob S. Rice

I lie in bed musing and think, ceaselessly,
In hope of the visions such times bring to me.
Such intricate splendors, and rotoscoped scenes
Of times elsewhere, elsewhen, with splendid machines!

The ‘whoosh’ of the pistons!
The clatter of gears!
The whirling disk that
Can turn back the years!
The rumbling treads,
The turbines that scream
All loom into view through a veil of steam.

With eyes clasped tight shut I see loom into sight
The tripods the Thunderchild fared forth to fight.
Robur’s groaning aerostat flows through the sky,
And Abraham Lincoln next sails out to die.

The groaning of timbers!
The surge of the sea!
Glowing eyes, thrashing tentacles
Beckon to me.
And, lost in the whirlpool,
I still cannot cease
To wonder where Nautilus
Rusts yet in peace!

Shall Watson and Holmes dare the fog to go chide
A murderous rogue, and take up Edward Hyde?
Shall Union be saved, or will it be accursed?
Which? Monitor, Merrimac, shall get there first?

The clatter of shutters!
The turret’s smooth turn!
Hot shot in the Brookes’ Guns!
But iron won’t burn.
A bulldog revolver,
Or truncheon in hand…
What scene shall my fancy
This long night, demand?

I muse on such fancies as hours slide past,
And hard on such idylls soft sleep comes at last.
The old apparatus, the lime-light’s fierce beams
Fade with my fatigue into less gaudy dreams.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again. And then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open and show riches
Ready to drop upon me, that when I waked
I cried to dream again.

    Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act 2 Scene 3
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Submitted on
October 3, 2014
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