This morning she woke at 4:00 a.m. with an image in her mind; she had been dreaming of walking up the aisle of Christ Church toward the white Gothic altar. As she had done many times before, she was bearing something tall and weighty. In dream, it was not the processional cross but a lovely sapling made of gold with a graceful canopy hung with faceted, colored jewels.
The dream lingered. She wrote a terza rima sonnet about it because that’s the sort of thing she makes from strange, magical dreams, which are, in their own way, already a sort of poem.
The cross is a kind of tree—brutally adorned with a king—so it was not so very odd to dream of a tree hung with jewels. The dream tree was, in her arms, a cross triumphant.
She remembered the mythic golden bough that Aeneas (a figure who unites god and man, as the son of a goddess and a mortal) takes to the underworld—the magical key that unlocks the way to Hades and gives the one bold enough to face the underworld the right to rise again to sun and sweet air. That, too, is like the cross.
Aeneas’s golden bough grew on the grounds of the ancient Sibyl of Cumae. When it was broken, a new one sprang up in its place: image of resurrection and promise.