Pillow Verse


English textile designer William Morris always said he wanted to dream a poem. When he finally did and was asked whether he could remember it, he said, “Only the first line, and it went like this: The moonlight slept on a treacle sea.

Archbishop Edward Benson told Edmund Gosse that he dreamed he had been appointed poet laureate and found himself reciting this couplet to the queen:

Your latest atmosphere device
Is all composed of dust and lice.

And Sir John Squire confessed that when he dreamed the following lines they seemed impressive until he woke up:

There was a boy grew twenty inch, yes,
Twenty inch a year,
It might have made his mother flinch, but
She was quite a dear;
Yes, she was excellent,
And she was well content
To watch her offspring forge ahead in his
Peculiar sphere.

(From Stephen Brook, ed., The Oxford Book of Dreams, 1983. See Night Work.)