Escapes from Life
An Anthology of Poems
Edited by Blake B

Dreaming is a random and uncontrollable experience in our life and is a mystery to modern science. Dreams leave us with many questions and with a feeling of uneasiness. Escapes from Life is a collection of poetry that deals with how your mind often wanders uncontrollably from reality. I was motivated to create this book to help put into words the way one feels about the crazy, sad, and scary thoughts that invade your mind. Whether at the end of a long day, or in the middle of work, the mind can wander through the mysterious journey that it takes when you escape from life.

I would consider my upbringing rather normal. School, sports, friends, and family all played a large role in the way I developed into a healthy teenager. However, I can still remember horrid dreams that haunted me in my younger years. I can remember waking up too frightened to even open my eyes. It felt as though my heart was pounding out of my chest. I would sit there for a few seconds that seemed like forever. Sweat beads would drip from my head, as I would listen to the every creak my house would make. My covers were the only shields against the evil enemies my mind had created. Finally, with courage, I would bolt out of bed and sprint down the hallway to my parents' bed. I would lie there between the two of them, tears streaming down my cheeks. I would describe what had happened to me, feeling safe in the only bed that had protection from my evil enemies. As I grew up, I didnít have the same terror attacks that a nightís deep sleep would bring, but I did have the same dreams. I was able to understand that they werenít real, only something my mind was making up. Dreams that seem so real make you wonder, what is real? Am I really dreaming, or just waking in the night? These are questions nobody can answer quite yet, but maybe these poems can help you make sense of the questions that you have when you awake.

Poetry helps express many of the feelings that are hard to describe using conventional language. Poetry is a perfect way to describe the blurred understanding of dreams. When one tries to comprehend why you dream, it is like trying to understand the brain itself. clearly, where your mind leads, "No chains can bind it." ("Freedom of the Mind") We dream often about the future. Some see a dream as a prediction, or as an omen for what is to come. We also dream about what we are scared of, like death. I think we are so afraid of dying that we fixate on death. The only way to release this fixation is to dream up a scenario. Alan Seeger, in his poem, "I Have a Rendezvous with Death," describes this feeling:

It may be he shall take my hand
And lead me into his dark land
And close my eyes and quench my breath-
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death
On some scarred slope of battered hill,
When Spring comes round again this year
And the first meadow flowers appear.
Dreams of sadness may cause us to miss a loved one, often times they appear so real they cause the dreamer to become angry when they awake and find out it was only a dream. In "Dreaming of Li Po" by Tu Fu, the author describes his quest each night to be reunited with his friend, only to awake repeatedly disappointed. The author describes why he dreams of his friend, "That my old friend is constantly in my dreams shows how constantly he is in my thoughts." And "For three nights running I have repeatedly dreamed of you."

"A Day for Wandering" by Clinton Scollard was a poem I thought important to include in this book because it deals with letting your body wonder in reality. The poem places great emphasis on the joy found in the small things that can be easily passed by in a chaotic life:

                                I took for confidant
                                The diligent ant
                                Threading the clover and the sorrel aisles;
                                For me were all the smiles
                                Of the sequestered blossoms there abloom-

After reading this poem, one canít help but reflect upon what is important in life. The poem also shows how your body can wander during the day, like it wanders during the night through dreams.

These poems are important to me because they have all captured in some way a feeling of mine that I had not previously been able to describe. Some of these poems may not touch you in the same way they did me, but I am confident that they all will give you something that may help you make sense of the scary feeling of loss of control. The poems are arranged randomly, just like many of the dreams you have at night. It is your job to piece them together in a way that helps you make sense of your feelings. Good luck. I hope in some way these poems will create order in your "escapes from life."

Table of Contents

"A Dream" 
                                    William Blake
"Vertue"
George Herbert
"Dreaming of Li Po"
Tu Fu
"A Day for Wandering"
 Clinton Scollard
"A Dream"
Stephen Phillips
"At the End of Day"
Richard Hovey
"A Dream of the Unknown"
Percy Bysshe Shelley
"I Have a Rendezvous with Death"
Alan Seeger
"Dreamers"
 Siegfried Sassoon
"The Day is Done"
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
"Freedom for the Mind" 
William Lloyd Garrison