Tonight I was visited in my dreams by a ghost. But it wasn’t me in the dream, for I was a ghost there as well. I saw both ghosts and for an instant, remembered who I am, where it was I left myself for safe keeping.
In dreams we can travel where we wish. I don’t think Shelley actually awoke in this poem, but instead awoke in his dream. Or maybe like me wasn’t asleep at all, but lost in a memory.
He wrote, in Defense of Poetry, “A poet is a nightingale who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds; his auditors are as men entranced by the melody of an unseen musician, who feel that they are moved and softened, yet know not whence or why.”
It’s what I do to still the loneliness of life, to take away the sting of solitude. For in solitude we can go deeper. It’s a form of time travel, going back to how we felt, how we saw the world, what that world looked like.
When love breaks the solitude, the joy of reuniting, that first hug where you’re sure your heart will break from the beauty of the moment .. that moment is as transcendent as anything Shelley ever wrote, or that humans can feel.
It’s where I was when I set this to music and we started recording it months ago. It’s not where I am now, and it’s a testament to how universal the feelings are. I started it consumed with domestic bliss, and finished it in solitude. And it applied equally well in both places.
And in keeping with the Indian nature of Shelley’s inspiration, I wasn’t alone when I finished it. I had my ghost there, right where it belonged to help me say goodbye to this poem.
It’s odd that in both love and solitude, I found a love for silence – hushed tones. As Blake said, and I’m paraphrasing the shit out of this, love can be feverish, but transcendent love can also be the opposite, which is what sustains you when youth and marital passion ebb. For in the end, there’s nothing so intense as what Shelley describes as softening, as gentleness, to contrast with the harsh reality of the world. It’s our safe harbor. It’s why in dreams, we go back to where we belong. And commune with ghosts.