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Poetry From A Childhood Dream

Updated: Apr 30



Photo of trail sign along woodland walkway in Rock Creek Park Washington DC
Trail Sign

I often had nightmares as a child. I always thought, in part, my huge imagination added to my nighttime images. My nightmares were sometimes recurring dreams, ones that repeated often. As an adult, I decided to revisit a dream to help resolve an old hurt. I used an old dream symbol to write a poem and create a new ending to the story.


This poem was published in my book, Soul's Homecoming: An Empath's Journey to Inner Wisdom.





The Cedar Closet


So many seasons ago my father built a

cedar closet, a small room really.

It was in the cellar where

a black-bellied furnace that drank dark,

murky oil for supper was

just outside the closet door.


Moist cement and dust bundles along

the cellar walls lay undisturbed and mysterious,

like the monster who I thought lived there.

I’d run down the cellar steps, gripped with fear,

into the sweet-smelling closet,

quickly closing the door—shaking, exhaling the breath I held.


Inside the closet old clothes still hung as new

on several rows of thick horizontal dowels

crossing from one side to the next.

A web of memories left behind keeping themselves company.

My eyes, owl-wide, blinked when I pulled

the long string to the light bulb above.


There were shelves along the dark edges—

cubbyholes of Grandma’s vases,

Mom’s purses, and high-heeled shoes.

On another, a forgotten manual typewriter

and lots of board games,

all quietly waiting to be visited, like a cemetery of stones.


In one of those corners was my father’s briefcase,

frozen in time. Waiting—

just like it was before he left with the

angels—ready to grab for work,

all safely clamped together by the vintage lock

on its cracked leather flap.


I sat on the closet floor my father built and

carefully opened his briefcase,

reverently fingering the slightly yellowed papers

with his logo EJK on top.

I read them one by one and

played office, pretending.


One day I stood taller on the cellar steps and saw

the oil-eating monster reborn an efficiency furnace,

dad’s refinished work bench, and an art room where

mom spent hours painting portraits.

Sunlight shone through the windows

high up on the cement walls.


And then the cedar closet became a room of treasures

that still held the fragrance of

sweet-smelling memories,

bringing smiles now as I bowed to the angels

who hovered near.

I felt him with me in that pungent space.


Katharine Donovan Kane

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