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Photo Credit – Elmar Akhmetov, Kazakhstan, Winner, Low Light, Open Competition, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards

Why did I dream of you last night?
Now morning is pushing back hair with grey light
Memories strike home, like slaps in the face;
Raised on elbow, I stare at the pale fog
beyond the window.

So many things I had thought forgotten
Return to my mind with stranger pain:
– Like letters that arrive addressed to someone
Who left the house so many years ago.

-Philip Larkin

Some poems say it all and some pictures don’t need words at all…. But there are times, you have to say why. Philip Larkin is one of my all-time favourite poets. I always find meaning in his poems, some I even closely relate to. His poetry says it without embellishments and political correctness, and you catch a glimpse of his real self and life through them. “Why did I dream of you last night” is one of Larkin’s earliest works, and it’s been sometime since I have grown all too familiar with each and every word in this poem. Dreaming of someone you are not supposed to dream about  wounds your soul. It’s like, each time you dream…your soul gets a little bit torn. The aftermath is waking up with almost physical hurt somewhere inside of you that you can’t point out. There’s nothing you can do about how and when that hurt disappears. All you can do is wait… until it dies down on its own…

Dreaming is beyond our control. It is the danger zone where our worst nightmares can capture and bound us, and make us watch helplessly what we dread the most. I dream a lot and I didn’t mind it, because I would wake up and realise that nightmares were not real and sweet dreams were possible. But now, it’s different. Once your nightmares have come true in real life there’s nothing else to fall back on after you wake up. Everything you have been trying to forget plays in your head, awakened by fresh blows to the memory. And again, block by block I have to build up my stronghold to keep those memories and thoughts away. It’s a messy business and I’d rather I didn’t have to do it.

Unlike the handprints on sand that are easily erased forever, the memory of those handprints on that sand comes to stay with you forever. And you build these giant fortresses and sophisticated defense systems to keep the memory away, when all the while it was inside and never outside to keep away. This is why we have to be afraid of what’s within… Our own hearts can betray us and our own dreams can torment us.

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