Is It a Dream?

“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Mark Twain

The inspiration for this post comes from the story of Jessica Watson, a 16-year girl from Australia who sailed solo, nonstop, and unassisted around the world in 2009-2010. She told her story in her book True Spirit. I am now enjoying reading the book after having watched the recent Netflix movie based on Jessica’s story.

I am in the latter stage of my life. Erik Erickson says this stage is concerned with integrity versus despair. “During the integrity versus despair stage, people reflect back on the life they have lived and come away with either a sense of fulfillment from a life well lived or a sense of regret and despair over a life misspent.” (Integrity vs. Despair in Psychosocial Development)

Although I have known despair, and I have tried to live my life with a basic integrity, I feel myself drawn to continue to explore, dream and discover! I feel young in some mysterious way, and I think of the final stanza of my poem “A Time for Love“, which I selected for Marianne’s memorial service.

The world is young
Our hearts are new
It’s a time for love
And a time to heal
A time to share
Just how we feel..

Are the things I yearn for a dream? I would like to share these lines from Walt Whitman’s poem “Song of the Universal”

Come said the Muse
Sing me a song no poet yet has chanted,
Sing me the universal.

In this broad earth of ours,
Amid the measureless grossness and the slag,
Enclosed and safe within its central heart,
Nestles the seed perfection.

By every life a share or more or less,
None born but it is born, conceal’d or unconceal’d the seed is waiting.


Give me O God to sing that thought,
Give me, give him or her I love this quenchless faith,
In Thy ensemble, whatever else withheld withhold not from us,
Belief in plan of Thee enclosed in Time and Space,
Health, peace, salvation universal.

Is it a dream?
Nay but the lack of it the dream,
And failing it life’s lore and wealth a dream,
And all the world a dream.

Walt Whitman
“Song of the Universal
Leaves of Grass

Leave a Comment