Intimations of a Dream

When the wind rustles through the open pine,
And the leaves murmur and shudder off dew;
When the sun, like an undeciphered sign,
Through the imperial vault of swimming blue,
Creeps through the mist to light the vague outline
Of lovers in the park unknown to you
A hunger and a thirst well up from the core,
Not for food nor for drink but something more.

It is a desire – nay – craving for moon
In the sinewed and silent shroud of night,
Ruptured only by the song of the loon
Rippling the waters in the scarlet light;
In this rapture you feel as if to swoon
At the wonder raised by the simplest sight,
And unless these signs by the heart are read
The appetite grows until it is fed.

And so day after day from dreams you rise
To observe again and forevermore,
With open and ever unwearied eyes,
The beauty which moved you the day before;
And, in one such moment, you realize
What it precisely is you hunger for.
You hunger for no such material thing,
The urge gnaws at you to rise up and sing.


Mammon’s Rot

(Mammon: wealth or material possessions to which one is excessively devoted)

Not Zeus, nor Yahweh, nor creative Venus,
Among the evergreen wood blushing rose,
Nor any wanton Hour and Lare of place
That ever has ruled mankind’s little race
Has caused such horrible sorrow between us
As Mammon, whose bleak realm shrinks as it grows.

The sins of other gods have been a spark
On sun-dried brush – quick to ignite and quick
To consume, yet quick as well to burn out;
Their terror lasts but one night in the dark,
With their disease for a day are we sick,
And passes swiftly their pigeon-winged doubt;
Satan, the primal republican devil,
Only a moment lapsed deep into evil
When he in violence and with war rebelled,
And was, with equal cruelty, quickly quelled.

There is no mercy in the god of wealth,
No end to his desire for death and pain;
His presence is a slow and constant drain
On mankind’s collective spiritual health.
True poetry of genius, art and love,
Are what the god of wealth is enemy of,
Defeating truth in age on age again.

And woe on them that do rank Mammon’s will
In claiming to desire his favor not,
Yet slyly waiting on his nearest leisure;
Brooding with secret rage that prospers ill,
Envying wicked men their wicked pleasure,
Into their hearts creeps slowly Mammon’s rot.

Yet, cease; for there are, unassumed and rare,
Often unloved by custom, certain few
Servants of good in every age who bear
The heavier burden of being true
To what is good, sublime, profound and fair –
Gods whose bounty is more worth praying to,
And, though they suffer, these alone succeed,
Through substanceless love, in the war on Greed.


Brett Forester is a poet from Ottawa, Canada, who composes entirely in the classical style of English verse. Much of the Ottawa river valley countryside determines the cultural and natural backdrop of his work.

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One Response

  1. Michael Dashiell

    In Intimations of a Dream, I’m delighted to see your use of the stanza type “ottava rima” that Byron famously used in Don Juan. Though Byron’s approach with it was humorous and rambunctious, it’s nice to see how used it gracefully and quietly, certainly more contemplative than Byron’s silliness.


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