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The Dream of Dreams


This poem is set in the Turkish Ottoman period. The only visible sign is a tomb in Istanbul with the marking CENNETTE 1789. It is the name of a woman and it means “one from heaven”. The poem is about her and is in the first person. In this poem Cennette gets to meet Shehin Shah, the King of kings.


In the glowing golden hall

Anxious maidens line the walls 

Scrambling and crowding with anxiety

To see the King of kings, pass by,

Restless waiting in their minds.

And I, am one of them.

Not in front, but behind. 

Did he pass by?

In the glowing golden hall

The crowds of maidens

Push one another aside.

“We have to see the King of kings

When he passes by”, they say.

Into a corner I have been pushed

By beauties, way taller than me.

Kind as they may be, 

They know not that,

I can no longer see

 The One that all of us

Have the right to perceive.

Right by the door

That leads to the golden hall

I slip away into a room nearby.

A room so dark

As if drawn by the curtains of night.

Right by the door that leads to the hall

I find a bed to lie

In this place, oh so pitch dark!

Murmurs, whispers, giggles I can hear

And then a lengthy quiet.

So I thought, “He is gone,

And I am still here.”

Then from the far end of the room

A door, I knew not was there, opens

I hear the lord come through

Having said his goodbyes to someone there.

The swish of his robes

Wafts in like a gentle breeze.

Though dark, I now can see

A divan across the room.

There the King of kings

Stretches his gentle frame to rest. 

A conversation he strikes with me.

He knew I lay there!

About his love for birds, I think

We speak to one another

In such a familiar way.

Then, quietly in the dark, he leaves

But only after he places

A seal of surprise

A gentle kiss, to my lips.

The King of kings

Leaving me with a smile

That quiet yet radiant joy

From the kiss of the Divine.

A flurry of attendants, rush into the room.

They request me to get off,

As they prepare my bed.

I tell them, that I do have a place

To retire already, next door.

They nod their heads and state,

“The King’s orders are,

That here is where you are to sleep,

Not there, anymore.”


In the wee hours of the morning

The crisp breezes cajoling

I wander among the trees,

Walking on air as it were,

Knowing that he has selected me.

Yet a secret it must be,

I know he wishes that for me.

Matrons including my mother

I see up high,

Gathering herbs and flowers

For a planned ceremony.

They offer some to me,

Which I deny politely.

My tender frame cannot seem to hold,

The secret within me,

Knowing fully well

That the King of kings

Has really chosen me.

As I pass by a bevy of fair maidens

I see one, dark and quiet.

I walk over to her to share

This precious secret of mine.

Just then, as I open my mouth to declare

I wake up from this Dream of dreams

Of being chosen in love

By none other than, the King of kings.

Oh, how sweet, how sweet

This waking is

With flavors and the fragrance,

Shehin Shah, now housed

In the core of my heart

From there spreading

Through my entire being.


October 10, 2013


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