The dream-to-waking structure is a two-part structure that, first, provides a dream (or a daydream, or reverie, or a vision), and then, second, wakes from that dream. Waking has the power to confirm or to negate the power of the dream. If the dream is undermined, it is likely that the poem will have much in common with other poems that employ the ironic structure.
Some poems that employ the dream-to-waking structure include:
“The Prairies,” by William Cullen Bryant (pp. 130-33).
“The Eolian Harp,” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge “The Eolian Harp” very quickly enters a visionary state, only to be awakened in the final stanza by Sara’s “mild reproof.”
“Solitude (I),” by Robin Robertson In “Solitude (I),” a version of a poem by Tomas Transtromer, the dream is the nightmarish near-death experience of the miraculously-avoided car crash.
“Robert Kennedy,” by Frederick Seidel (p. 442).
“Direction of Fall,” by Reginald Shepherd (in American Hybrid: A Norton Anthology of New Poetry, edited by Cole Swensen and David St. John (New York: Norton, 2009): 379).
Here is a poem that, just as the dream seems to come true, presents a harrowing kind of waking in the dream itself:
Here is a poem that turns from waking to dream:
Here is a poem that turns from waking/reality to dream/wish: