But I, being poor, have only my dreams

Equilibrium (2002), Kurt Wimmer

Equilibrium (2002), Kurt Wimmer

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

William Butler Yeats, The Wind Among the Reeds” (1899)

Equilibrium is my favorite movie of all times. This is shortly what it’s about:

In a futuristic world, a strict regime has eliminated war by suppressing emotions: books, art and music are strictly forbidden and feeling is a crime punishable by death. Cleric John Preston (Bale) is a top ranking government agent responsible for destroying those who resist the rules. When he misses a dose of Prozium, a mind-altering drug that hinders emotion, Preston, who has been trained to enforce the strict laws of the new regime, suddenly becomes the only person capable of overthrowing it.

– Written by Anonymous

via Equilibrium (2002) – Plot Summary – IMDb.

Before Cleric Preston stops taking Prozium, he kills his partner and best friend, Cleric Partridge, whom he caught in the act of reading and enjoying Yeats. Partridge provoked Preston to kill him, because he was caught performing a Sense Offense – the punishment of which is being burnt alive. Cleric Partridge has stopped taking the doze for a while, and his suffering was well perceived as he watched the death of innocent people, guilty of feeling, and incineration of works of art like the Mona-Liza.  Partridge was willing to die for Yeats’s words and the ideas they represented. How magnificent!

Imagine living in a world without books, without poetry, without literature, without art, without music, without feelings. Like zombies, like robots and machines. What’s the point of your existence then? It doesn’t matter how many problems come my way, and how crappy I feel sometimes, I always feel better just by knowing that I can read an awesome book, wonder at an elaborate work of art and indulge in a fantastic pleasure of a musical piece.

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9 thoughts on “But I, being poor, have only my dreams

  1. Equilibrium is one of my favourites too. In fact, I’m a fan of Christian Bale. I remember, when I was seeing the movie, the quote struck a chord. The moment I was done watching the movie, I googled the quote to read the whole poem. It was beautiful. I’ve memorized it. Thanks for reminding me of it. Great article.

    • Anna says:

      Well, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship! I also am a fan of Christian’s work. No other man could’ve been cleric Preston, other than Bale. He did a remarkable job. In fact, the whole cast was perfect. And the poem, such correct and breathtaking connection between words and meaning. I must memorize it as well. I want that Yeats book!

      • I’m glad you think so. I’d already pegged you as a friend anyway. Besides, having an Israeli ex-military girl as a friend is something I can brag about. 😀 I had a jewish friend back in school, who had relatives who migrated to Israel. They belong to a group called ‘Cochin Jews’ Not many are left now. Most of them have migrated to Israel.

      • Anna says:

        🙂 We all serve the army. Around here it’s unusual if somebody doesn’t. I heard about the Cochin Jews, I don’t know anyone in person though. I’ve just read that they lived in Kerala, interesting.

      • everyone serves huh? wow. talk about a warrior clan.

      • Anna says:

        We don’t have any choice, do we?…

      • Compulsory enlistment? I didn’t know you had that in Israel. Anyway, I think it’s cool. At least you learn discipline. ours not to reason why… another poem I like. I was reminded by the military reference. Charge of the light brigade.

      • Anna says:

        Our whole country’s population is less than a population in many cities, we are a nation of the army.
        That is an intense poem. Reminded me a bit about the ‘300’.

      • Yeah, I looked up Israel in wiki. By the way, I got that poem also from a movie. I don’t remember it’s name though. It was some hollywood war movie. They are a dime a dozen. It’s funny how many good literary references float around in hollywood.

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