Under the Sea

I had a dream
in which I died

And in that dream
I neither laughed nor cried

I was in water
neither hot nor cold

I didn't feel fear
I no longer felt old

I was simply puzzled
as to how it could be

That I was alive and could breathe
under the sea

I was inside a house
Victorian style

Where sea horses beckoned
with mysterious smiles

Standing at the bottom
of a long flight of stairs

I realized I could pull myself up
by the heavy siderails

Ascending a step at a time
neither floating nor drifting away

Each step seemed to wash off
a bit more of yesterday

The higher I climbed
the lighter I became

No longer subject to the gravity
of another world's claim

I moved as easily
as if I was moving through air

Step after step
as I climbed the stairs

When I reached the top, I paused ...
contemplating from whence I had come

It was gloomy and murky
a deep shade of glum

Yet when now was then
it seemed none of these

Then glided like a butterfly
on a warm summer breeze

But time passed and the butterfly
became a cold gray cocoon

What never really mattered
was dead and entombed

At the bottom of the stairs
under the sea

Of an old Victorian house
for me to see

How could it be
that in the light all seemed right

But now sight was clearer
through the gloom of night

Embers of thoughts
flickered out and were gone

And the associated memories
as well passed along

When I paused to catch my breath
bubbles floated up under the sea

And a passing sea horse got caught,
threw back his head and sneezed

Tiny ripples of water tickled my face
and I laughed, well pleased

For wherever I am
isn't important, you see

For wherever I am
I am still me

It was then that I awoke
and marveled at this dream

It didn't make sense,
it wasn't what it seemed

Was it a ghost of the past
come back to haunt

Or was it a vision of the future
sent to taunt

It gave neither sense of dread
nor fear of death

No loss of time or space,
or loved ones left

Perhaps death is nothing more
than a passing through

Of some other space and time's
phenomenological zoo

The dream never returned
so I'll never know with certainty

The meaning of the riddle
sleeping silently under the sea



2002 Cheryl Nelson