She wants to talk about the future,
about having a baby, but it’s late
and the quilt’s pulled up to my chin.
The murmur of her voice lulls me.
I dream of childhood summer nights
when I’d sleep on my bedroom floor
next to my brother with two box fans
against our pillows, and we’d drift off,
pretending we were lying in our graves.
“A Flood” by William Holman Hunt (1870)
Photo Source: A Polar Bear’s Tale
Amateurish poetry. “I dream of childhood summer nights” is as stale as day-old bread.
Claiming a poem is “amateurish” is as stale as day-old bread, the stuff of snarky hipsters in too-tight pants who ride single-gear bicycles and only drink fair trade coffee.
Well, I googled “I dream of childhood summer nights” and only three hits came back, all to my poem. If you can find two or more poems with the line, “I dream of childhood summer nights,” Then I’ll eat my hat. However, if you are not saying the line is stale, but the concept of the line, then that is to say all poems about love are stale, all poems about death are stale, all poems about all human experiences are stale. What is amateurish is one not knowing what a cliché is. “White as snow,” is a cliché. So is “stale as day-old bread,” or “I’ll eat my hat.” “He walked to the park,” “She opened the bathroom door,” are not clichés. If I used the line as some lofty, sentimental metaphor (and don’t get me started on the word sentimental) then you may have a point, but since the narrator was in bed and actually dreamed of childhood summer nights, then I cannot agree with your statement.
Enjoyed this one quite a bit. In fact, I find it precise and moving. Of course, if you are looking for poetry that is glib, arch, ironic, or justified by its own cleverness, this isn’t it. There is sentiment, but not sentimentality.