What is the central message of "Dream On."


James Tate

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The idea that poetry is based on “the dream” that “has a pain in its heart” is crucial to much poetry, but not necessarily to all. It is significant for poetry to express compassion, kindness, sympathy, pity, mercy, loving kindness, and understanding—to create interest and commiseration with the situations of others. But poetry may also be comic, ironic, and satiric—characteristics that are also fleeting, like the flight of the dragonfly. The last line of the poem seems to be ironic because it is almost a negation of what has gone before in the poem. But the idea is that even the poet, and poetry, cannot sustain the constant reaching out after wonder. People can reach the highest mountain peaks, but must return to the valleys, and when down, they find it hard to re-imagine their previous elevation.

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