dreamcatcher 2.jpg


All useless things – numb limbs, oversized clothes

And frayed wires – they all dangle, don’t they?

As too does this circle of yarn

And its few loose feathers, draped earnestly

(If misguidedly)

On a curtain rod by the sleepless side

Of my bed.


Not so much a web as a flimsy net

Not fit to capture a falling acrobat,

Not fit to trap a passing thought, I think;

Let alone a persistent, creeping dread.

No safety in its sparse, fragile embrace.


If there’s no faith in it, then there are no dreams

To be caught, of course, I tell myself…
As though dreams could be stung

By such flimsy strings. I turn again


To the other side of the bed, the one

Away from the window, the darkened corners,

Where the certainty of the creeping nightmare

Weighs heavy on the duvet.


The dream-catcher has almost been out-dreamt:


And then, despite myself, near-somnolent,

I cannot help but wonder, of this web,

… Where sleeps the spider?



I frequently have nightmares. My husband gave me a dream-catcher to assist, and hung it by my side of the bed: he possibly had greater faith in its powers than I. And perhaps my lack of conviction has contributed to its redundancy. I have, consciously or otherwise, rendered it otiose and welcomed the nightmares to my bed. 

But the same principle applies to all articles of faith. We banish the bogeyman when we forget him; we kill the Gods we ignore. Perhaps a little more faith in the device would allow it, as it were, to work its magic.



One thought on “Dream-catcher

  1. Thanks James

    My tattered dream-catcher hangs from a plum tree in the garden. I don’t know what it catches. I enjoyed this poem. As I am reading Pat Barker’s Regeneration which is full of images of nightmares it was even more poignant. Gran

    Sent from my iPad


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