In a Forest, Near a Stream
Today I napped and had this dream:
you were a wood-nymph and I
was a satyr who happened by.
I stopped to drink from a stream
when I saw you mirrored in a pool,
having appeared from a thicket or den.
Your nubile form was scantily clad in
a peach-colored, silk garment (more
breechcloth than skirt) and a blouse of
same, bordered with forget-me-not.
You had a dimpled, heart-shaped face
and my heart beat at a frantic pace!
As I stood and turned to greet you
I was captivated by your eyes
—long-lashed, lustrous, alluring—
the likes of which I’d never seen,
they were a gray-flecked clover-green.
Your black, wavy, jasmine-scented hair
—in contrast to your fair complexion—
cascaded to your narrow waist,
accentuated by an ample bosom.
In your delicate hands you held
a gold-runed goblet of old.
Your teeth of milky bone
like polished ivory shone,
while your full, cherry-red lips glistened
and purred enticements as I eagerly listened:
“Drink with me, my love!” you said
“Take the vessel from my hand
and share this delicious brew
of nectar and honeydew.”
Readily I received the cryptic cup
of gold-rune and silver fashioned,
and took a gallant gulp
of the cool, fermented concoction
—which crossed my eyes and curled my hair,
and gave me such a thorough scare
that I thought I would surely perish!
Only to recognize the thought as foolish
when I opened my mouth to curse you
and was checked by what I saw
in your calm and comely brow;
for, instead of deceit and malice,
there was guileless love and solace.
So instead of a curse to harm you,
I smiled in order to charm you,
and took a cautious-but-generous sip
then handed you the ancient cup
—which you did in turn
till none remained of the brew.
Then, suddenly, somehow I knew
the meaning of the gold-rune
(decipherable only to those
whom God or goblet might choose
to reveal the curious inscription),
it read: “MADE IN JAPAN.”
Intoxicated with love, laughter and brew
you looked at me; I looked at you
and in that moment we both knew
what the other was thinking
—what we were about to say—
so we smiled, and, in unison,
thought it aloud straight away:
I love you more than words can express,
ou are the form of my happiness!”
We embraced with ineffable delight;
our limbs entangled and strained together
as our lips met in impassioned hunger . . .
Then I awakened with a start to find
t was all a product of my mind.
It had been a dream
in a forest, near a stream.