new zealand electronic poetry centre

Lola Ridge

online works

The Dream Man

The stars in their helmets white
   Keep guard o’er the sleeping towns,
With their sabres drawn and bright –
Will the Dream Man walk tonight
   In the moon-set on the downs?

Hark! Is it a fairy harp,
   Brushed by a night-bird’s wing,
On the bough of some miro bark?
No, the bush is hushed and dark,
   And no bird wakes to sing.

What is it that music tells,
   And what is its mystic key?
Like ringing of far off bells,
In rhythm of ocean swells,
   It plays to the soul of me.

And what does the Dream Man mean
   Waving his shining wand?
Far out where the tussocks lean,
He walks on the plain unseen,
   And calls to the night beyond.

Who follows his eyes may gain
   No guide of a moon or star;
And what if their light should wane
Out there on the Dead-tree plain
   Where the twisted shadows are?

But only the Dream Man knows –
   Deep are the spells he weaves,
And dark is the path he goes,
(How the music ebbs and flows!)
   And the feet that fail he leaves;

For he stays his steps for none
   But the gleam of his sombre eyes –
Oh, dearly this glance is won!
Is more than the moon or sun,
   And all the light of the skies.

And now from the distant sea,
   And now from a far-off range,
He calls to the soul of me,
And plays in an unknown key
   A song in a rhythm strange!



‘The Dream Man,’ NZ Illustrated Magazine 8.9 (Dec 1903): 247. Lola Ridge.
See also Verses 1905: 38-39; Ainslee’s 1909.

Last updated 29 May, 2013