• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 11
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I dreamed I was a leopard

I fell asleep and dreamed
I was a leopard made of midnight clouds
and the bright moon shone through me
the wind blew from the south and lifted me up
high, and higher—
so that soon all that was familiar disappeared
from beneath me, the ground receded
moving farther and farther away

There was space all around me
and my eyes were open
all around me the night sky
studded with points of light in
invisible, indivisible geometries
above me—
and below, the moonlight struck
the surface of water

I looked about me but there was nothing but
the sky and the water and the moon
and the wind carried me on
as I watched the night unfold around me
a vast ocean beneath me
the silence was filled with sound
of the fish rising and the surface rippling
the wind breathing, and the stars shimmering


I dreamed I was a leopard

All the world was present and expectant
and it stayed so for some time
for a moment, or for an age — it was uncertain
and then I spotted a distant form
a line emerged in the water, flickering and fading
and I could see an island
with palm trees that swayed in the night
and a smooth white shore

And there did the wind take me
and I felt my weight once more
gravity pulling me down, and down—
my paws pressed into the sand and I stretched
at the water’s edge a fisherman’s hut and
a small boat, a young man stretched out asleep
I climbed in and the boat rocked from side to side
and I stood still

The man stirred and then rolled over as
I found a place on the far side and lay down
and then I was tired, I lowered my head
and closed my eyes to the darkness—
when next I raised my head, I saw that we were
in the middle of the ocean, water all around
I closed my eyes then and I fell asleep
and dreamed I was the south wind