Tag Archives: dream poetry

Q&A: Working to Understand Dreams

Q: Do you have any suggestions for how I can work to better understand the messages contained within my dreams?


Seeking Understanding

A: Dear Seeking,

Did you know that in my other life I’m a poetry teacher? Yes, I teach teen mothers, and other young adults and adults in literacy programs. My students have had a wide range of educational experiences—well, not such a wide range, really. Their experiences range along a narrow band of really bad encounters with the public school system. They have a great deal of trouble spelling some of the most basic vocabulary words, like through and maybe, and knee. And it’s my job to introduce them to the works of Rosetti and Whitman, Plath, and Poe.

I had no formal training in how to be a teacher when I first set foot in a classroom, so I stood clutching my folder of poems before a room full of teens whose babies were downstairs in the daycare, or whose pregnant bellies peeked out from of the unbuttoned waistbands of their jeans.

I decided right away to skip the whole “what do does this poem mean?” discussion. Shakespeare’s “wandering bark,” Dickinson’s “mechanical feet” going round on their “wooden way” were baffling to my students—as they were to me the first several times I read them. Instead I asked: “What does this poem make you feel?” and then “Oh, really? What in the poem makes you feel that way?” After a while I might press further: “Any idea why someone would have written about all this stuff?”

Oh, but you were asking about how to work with the messages in your dreams, right? I guess it was that word work that got me thinking about teaching, because that’s technically what I do for work. And work is hard and I don’t want to work, I want time to play and experience life. And I definitely don’t want poetry to turn into work. Poetry is mystical and mysterious and beautiful and totally accessible as long as no one asks me what it means and as long as I don’t ask anyone what it means.

So, to answer your question, Dear Seeker: Put your feet up, get yourself a drink with a paper umbrella in it. Stop working so hard. A dream isn’t something to decipher like a message tapped out in Morse Code; it’s the creative musings of your inner poet wooing you with sweet somethings.

But you want to know what it’s saying? So, listen.

Z Tell someone your dream. Your cat will do if there’s no one else around, and if there is no cat, talk your dream into the voice recorder on your phone. Let the images, the colors, the quality of the light, and the sense of movement in the dream wash over you. Notice how you feel. Which parts make you anxious? Which parts make you sigh? Where in your body do you feel it? Let yourself sink into a state of wonder. Allow your curiosity to be piqued. Marvel at the view.

Z Write the dream down, slowly. That’s another way to listen deeply. Grab some color pencils or crayons and sketch it. Wait for the message to unfurl like a morning glory opening to the sun.

Z That might be enough …. but if not … go ahead and dive into each image. Associate and amplify to your heart’s content.

 Z Find a dream group or a dream therapist. (Okay, that’s a little shameless self-promotion there, but a dream therapist has to eat, too, right?).

Z And since I am, after all, a poetry teacher…why not try writing a poem from your dream. You can find instructions elsewhere on this blog by clicking here.

Dreamily yours,



Want to learn more about your dreams? Contact me to find out about upcoming dream groups in western Massachusetts, or individual dream sessions by phone, Skype, or in person.


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L is for dream LINES (CV)

sometimes a line from a dream

lingers in the imagination

lovely, literary; it doesn’t want to be analyzed, doesn’t want to be any longer than it is

let the line be

let it lead you




she writes her phone number in watery symbols I can’t translate



A man offers a soliloquy about love while submerged in a swimming pool.



We wake entwined in each other’s naked limbs, in our little sunk-in bedroom. Above us, passersby wave and say hello. We wave back, then turn and kiss some more.



these lines landed from various dreams I had in December of 2012

What dream lines linger in your mind?

To learn more about your dreams and how to understand them, contact me.

Joanne chose this week’s them, “Starting with L” as part of Corner View, an international network of bloggers who post on a common topic each week. To see more Corner Views beginning with L, start here.


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Dreaming is the Poet’s Work (CV)

In her book The Writing Life, Annie Dillard claims she never learned anything useful from a dream. And yet she gives us this quote by Octavio Paz:

Octavio Paz cites the example of Saint-Pol Roux, who used to hang the inscription ‘The poet is working’ from his door while he slept.”

From The Writing Life by Annie Dillard (p. 15)

Clearly Paz gained much from dreaming …

“Between what I see and what I say

Between what I say and what I keep silent

Between what I keep silent and what I dream

Between what I dream and what I forget:


Octavio Paz

What about you … what do your dreams teach you? What lives between silence and dreams? Dreams and forgetting? … What poetic insights have you gleaned from a night of dreaming?

No need to rush to answer …. close your eyes and go to sleep and see if your dreams have an opinion.


To learn more about how I can help y

ou learn about your dreams, tap here.

To see what others around the globe are dreaming of, tap right here.


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October Shadow (CV)

Dark echo of my self,

you glide along the cement way beside me

pockmarked and dappled;

blade-tickled, you swim through the grass.

My undrawn twin,

are you a silent premonition of my spirit?

Or a memory of what will remain

when the stories etched into my skin

dissolve, fade, and disappear—

with my forgotten dreams?

© 2011 Tzivia Gover, Certified Dream Therapist


In autumn when the days grow short and the shadows long, it’s the ideal time for dreaming! Explore your shadow side. What can you learn from the parts of you you prefer to keep hidden?

If you’d like to learn more about working with your dreams, contact me for a dream consultation.

TO enjoy views of October from around the world just click here, and follow the links to Corner Views around the globe.


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Dream House (Home View: CV)

Dream House

We’re packed to move _
Forks, spoons, knives
Tossed into grocery sacks.
In the kitchen the ceiling
Is falling. As I check empty drawers
For what we might have left behind
I remember that house
On a mountain, in the snowiest
Part of the state, you bought it
Ages ago. I say, Let’s go there
We haven’t been in so long.
In fact, only once
In my dreams. So we go.
Oh! I’d forgotten how sweet
This house is. Small but immaculate
The fainting couch in the reading nook.
A reading nook! A bright, clean
Basement. Tasteful clutter upstairs.
And an indoor pool. I can see it
So clearly. Through the back window
Stepping stones cross the river.
I can even hear your mother telling me
I’ll have to use the public laundry
Until we get a machine. Yes,
It must be real. I go for a walk.
I love our neighbors. This is perfect.
And you’ve been keeping it from me
All this time.


© Tzivia Gover 2005 Dream House


To read more about the dreams of houses here.
To read my personal reflections on dreams and houses visit here.
And if you want to do individual dreamwork about your dreams about houses … or anything else, start here.

To continue visiting Corner Views from around the world, start here.



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Dream Catcher on My Wall (CV)

The dream catcher that hangs over my bed was purchased last year during a dream conference in N. Carolina. (Thank you DNMNK)

Crisscrossed with light-

filled fibers that catch

dreams like stars

loosed from the sky. Thoughts

like acorns

falling from a tree

into a still lake. Ripples,

open into a corolla

of stories,

memories —

This wall hanging entitled "Dream Tree" was a gift in honor of becoming certified as a Dream Therapist in April. (Thank you again, DNMNK!) It also hangs in my bedroom.

a golden crown.  A hoop

Encircling emptiness,

opening space

for a dream

to drop into.

Last night

a yellow slip of paper

blew into my dream.

My last hope

penned on pale sunshine,

and chased by the wind

through the open net.

This painting of lily pads was done by one of my students. It's like a still pond for dreams to fall into.

Only my happiness,

my heart, held

in the web.



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Dream Houses (CV)

Painting by Joanne G. Yoshida, published in Dream House: Poems by Tzivia Gover 2005

Houses in dreams are said to represent the Self: Windows for eyes, doors representing what you are letting in or locking out, and so on.

Lucid dreamers often have a dream house through which they enter the aware state of dream lucidity, in which they know they are dreaming while they are dreaming.

But as always, the only correct interpretation of a symbol is the one that works for you.

Lately I’ve been dreaming about houses with no walls. I feel oddly safe and happy in these houses where snow drifts in the living room, and there’s nothing keeping traffic noises or passersby out.

I have recurring dreams about the house I grew up in: An elegant white stucco house on a corner lot in a middle class neighborhood on Long Island.

Instead of interpreting the dreams, I often turn them into poems. Here’s one of my favorites:

The Return

Ants eat azaleas growing

Beneath the sign: Dead

End. A house cradled on such

A corner couldn’t promise.

I creep home through broken

Branches. Yellow grass springs

Tall. Mail stacks up on the stoop,

Still addressed to me. There

Is my father. Waiting.

© Tzivia Gover 2005 Dream House


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Once In A Blue Moon – A Dream Poem

blue moon over manhattan

Image by atomicshark via Flickr

In Last Night’s Dream …

The waiter takes our drink orders

He recommends Moon-saki.

I like the sound of that.

It’s nice, isn’t it, my dinner companion says,

To fall asleep beneath the moondew?


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The Place of the Poet

I try to notice
Everything about this room:
The windows, long, low and stretching to the floor,
The blankets woven with
The sure weight of comfort,
The yellows of late afternoon
When rain is done, reds, the color
Of deep inside,
And lazy blues.

I try to notice
Everything about my waking
In this bed beneath the window
The feeling that this world is mine.
This morning — I deserve it.

Then I notice, when I turn to look outside,
People peering in at me.
Women, older than I
In straw hats and crisp blouses
Their chatter sounds like birds
Waking me at five a.m., crowded
And cheerful and just a little too loud.

They see me where I am for who I am
And in their eyes I finally consent
To shrug off false visions
Of who I thought I might pretend to be.

You see, the woman who brought me here
She is my future perhaps, or who I might have been.
She is the poet who has been at work here
All these many years. And I mistook
That self of mine who got into bed last night –
That self who feels so impatient for arriving –
For this woman; this woman who created
This room. Who drew this crowd.
Who earned her place
And who welcomed me, to mine.


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