Robert Graves: A Pinch of Salt

A Pinch of Salt

When a dream is born in you   With a sudden clamorous pain, When you know the dream is true   And lovely, with no flaw nor stain, O then, be careful, or with sudden clutch You'll hurt the delicate thing you prize so much.
Dreams are like a bird that mocks,   Flirting the feathers of his tail. When you seize at the salt-box   Over the hedge you'll see him sail. Old birds are neither caught with salt nor chaff: They watch you from the apple bough and laugh.
Poet, never chase the dream.   Laugh yourself and turn away. Mask your hunger, let it seem Small matter if he come or stay; But when he nestles in your hand at last, Close up your fingers tight and hold him fast.