About a month after I arrived in Japan, I had a dream which was not all a dream. In this dream, a poem, whose name I originally believed to be "Night", which I remember studying in grade 12 Literature class, was played out before my eyes. The meaning was twisted into something about my cats dying, but it was there nonetheless, very vivid, I could remember very specific incidents in the narrative.
In the morning, I asked Allan, my host in Kyoto, if he knew who had written it. I described the scenario, the title, and the fact that I was fairly sure it had been a romantic poet. He, an English teacher, had no idea.
A month or so later, I asked Dennis, another English Lit teacher in Japan, the same question. He had no idea. I described the dog protecting its master's corpse from cannibals, the whole thing. By now I remembered the title to be "Darkness", but I still didn't know who the author was.
I get home from Japan. Ask my dad. He, a second-year Lit teacher, doesn't know. We dig up the Norton.
It's "Darkness", by Lord Byron, and the first lines are: "I had a dream which was not all a dream."
The next day I relate the story on the phone to an agnostic personage, displaying my amazement that I could have remembered those details after only hearing the poem once, and a year previously, and not having thought about it since. He breaks my self-induced fantasy by telling me that shortly before I left, he read the poem to me when I was at his house.
I had (and still have) absolutely no memory of that reading.
And one of my cats came very close to dying from a Urinary Tract Infection while I was gone.
my favourite lines:
...The world was void,
The populous and the powerful - was a lump,
Seasonless, herbless, treeless, manless, lifeless -
A lump of death - a chaos of hard clay.