Friday, January 15, 2010

The Locket


I’m in no hurry to greet the day, and the wan light of the wintry morning is not summoning. My dreams have slipped away, so I decide to slip into a conscious dream, in this drifty, liminal state the French used to call dorveille, which means sleepwake and is not to be confused with reveille, its angry bugling cousin.
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But where shall I go? I think of childhood scenes of frights and delights, of old romances, of island lagoons, of the path of moonlight on water, of a library where flying books must be kept in birdcages when not in use.
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I decide to go to the Bazaar of Lost and Found Souls. This is a great open market, rich in scent and color, where you may find many surprises, even parts of your soul you didn’t know were missing. At once I am in a sunny space, bright with the tentlike hangings of the vendors. Shall I go first to the passage of the book antiquaries, or the concourse of the bird-sellers?
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The bare earth underfoot is dry and powdery. Each footstep raises puffs of dust. Looking down, I notice I am not wearing my regular boots. My shoes are made of soft padded stuff and they curl up at the ends. I realize that my clothes match. They are loose and baggy, capped with a turban. I have a great curved dagger with a wide blade tucked into a silken sash around my middle. I also have a dark pointed beard. I touch the stiff hairs on this unfamiliar, sharp-featured face. In this stranger’s body, I am accompanied by his people, a giant African bodyguard, and a pair of young women, one slim and one round, whose charms can only be imagined behind their veils and concealing garments.
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This is mildly intriguing, but I feel that wandering the market as this fellow – I sense his pride and power – will interfere with the experiences I look for in this bazaar of memory and desire. I notice a small dog, a bundle of energy and excitement. I follow the dog as he runs to a pile of rubble beside a wall. There is a small opening there, much too small for a man. But the dog is eager to go down, and I go with him, moving bricks and stones to widen the tunnel until I find this is no longer necessary. I lose awareness of the dog; perhaps I have become the dog. At the end of the vertical descent, the passage widens, leading gently down to a large, bright-lit area that seems to be a workspace. Men in white aprons and coveralls are arranging things on large tables. They do not seem to be aware of my presence.
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A lady in a blue dress comes tripping lightly down a flight of steps to the left of the men. She is very lovely. Her auburn hair is tied up under a little hat that is the same blue as her dress, the blue of a perfect summer sky. Her dress is buttoned to the throat and has puffed shoulders as well as a high collar. It belongs, I suppose, to the Victorian era. The lady in blue looks at me, and holds out her open palm.
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Her smile is like sunrise.
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“We must put you somewhere safe.”
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She is holding a locket. I don’t much care for the idea of being trapped inside, but it is impossible to distrust this lady. It seems to me that her name is Miss Morningstar. She reminds me of a lady in blue I met once before, when I traveled to a spiral galaxy on the other side of the obvious.
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When I enter the locket, I don’t feel confined at all. I am in a place of wonderful light. Can I be inside a jewel, or a crystal, on the front of the locket?
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The light grows and grows. I am carried, with it, into the shape of a man. He is handsome and well-formed, and dressed in a style that matches the lady.
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“Daur,” she whispers, touching the side of the face I now inhabit. This sounds like a name for the fellow with curly shoes.
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We are standing in an airy room with a terrace overlooking an elegant square. I notice horse-drawn carriages outside.
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I don’t yet know who I am, in this scene. I don’t even know whether she projected me from her locket into a body that lives in this time, or conjured a form for me to inhabit.
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These Victorians know a thing or too. Wait a minute. The gardens and the house fronts outside the window are quite familiar. Can this be Tavistock Square, in London? If so, can it be that –

[interrupted by workaday events in the world of January 15, 2010]

11 comments:

Ginta said...

Fascinating and instructive on how you go into dorveille. It's lovely to read, but I think I appreciate even more the way this account opens my eyes (pun...pun? definitely intended...) to possibilities. I asked myself immediately why I don't get such delicious travels in the same wakesleep state...maybe because I just didn't realize that it's possible.

I woke from a dream of singing. I was performing in what was probably a church worship service, singing with a mike (I usually don't sing "plugged in"), and with two hispanic women singing the same song, echoing me, but translating the song into spanish. And they sang in harmony - in thirds.

They were singing translators.

Fascinating.

Happy Friday- Ginta

Wanda said...

How inviting, and what a fabulous ending which invites all of us to continue this story from our place inside a locket - or, perhaps if we are ladies, inside a beautiful gold encased watch suspended from a fob.

Your dorveille experience took me back to the first days of living in my Victorian home. My dreams invited me into the landscape of the original owner - Mary Vandeveer Edwards. The dreams moved effortlessly into waking reality where letters written in her hand found their way to me, where I awoke still hearing the discordant chords of her anger as she pounded on the piano in the parlor a floor below, where people found their way to my door offering a Chinese vase, a small Victorian pincushion, other trinkets and even larger pieces of furniture once owned by her that they felt needed to be in her house again; and, the most beautiful moment where I found a Victorian clear glass necklace while I was digging a garden at the back door. I knew it was hers and the light sparkled through it when I cleaned the dirt away. I bought it a black silk cord and wear it occasionally when I wish to feel just a moment of crossing time. I could travel in that glass jewel - and might. I wonder where it will take me.

Barbara said...

"... I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space ..." (HAMLET, II.ii.273-4)

Savannah said...

Dorveille... lovely - sounds like merveille! An intriguing adventure, to enter a market searching and to be found and brought home perhaps as another man's lost soul, or... And what an inspiring invitation to spend more time in the between. I picked up a treasured set of View Master slides from a dream visit to the Bazaar that would make a fabulous doorway!

Patty said...

No way. I'm hanging here! "If so, can it be that... WHAT?
You had my full attention. There I am moving with the scene, getting into the characters. Complete delight after a long day and then cliff hanging. Ahhhh!
How about just a few more lines?
Patty

Robert Moss said...

Ah yes, Patty, the cliff-hanger. Sheherezade was the master of it, long before modern thriller-writers. Every night, ending with a cliff-hanger saved her neck.

I didn't need much storyteller's art to end this tale from dorveille where I did; the noise of my family entering the working day accomplished that. You never know. The report is exactly as I wrote it down when I got to my desk, innocent of edits and revisions. You never know; there may be more installments.

Robert Moss said...

Savannah, I love that rhyme of dorveille and merveille, thank you. And it is indeed marvelous what can open to us in the liminal states of sleepwake and wakesleep.

Robert Moss said...

Ginta, I love your dream of the singing translators. If I were you, I'd be open to delightful adventures in dorveille now you are primed for them.

Wanda, as you write of a ladies' pocket watch you remind me of an earlier cycle of wakedream adventures that I have yet to post or publish. Your encounters with a past owner of your house are a fascinating chronicle of the benign activity of a certain kind of house spirit, and you generously allowed me to write a little about them in my "Dreamer's Book of the World".

Barbara, your-well chosen Hamlet quote puts in a nutshell something central to my personal experience of inner and other worlds, over all of this lifetime: the easiest way to travel to another universe is to become vanoishingly small.

Susan said...

She reminds me of a lady in blue I met once before, when I traveled to a spiral galaxy on the other side of the obvious.

How intriquing!! The other side of the obvious....maybe a place that would be helpful for us.

cobweb said...

I had the strongest feeling that both the characters in your dream were previous incantation of the you today as they even verged on merging at one point and I think you were about to realise you lived somewhere you had lived in a previous life when you awoke, such a wonderful insight intouch experience.

Robert Moss said...

Cobweb - I greatly enjoy your use of the word "incantations" - whether it is (as I assume) a typo for "incarnations" or a knowing insider's remark. The people I become in this sleepwake state may indeed be "incantations" but it's too rapid and confining s thought for me to tag them as "incarnations" of my present self. There's a lot more out there in the multiverse than we can possibly explain in linear terms. Anyway, the joy of this experience lies not in how we may interpret it but in the fact that it can be read and savored, quite simply, as a story.