Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"I Dreamed a Dream"

Have you seen the YouTube clip of Susan Boyle, wowing Simon Cowell, no less, with her rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" from "Les Miserables" in auditioning for "Britain's Got Talent"? This song chokes me up at the best of times, & I love the feel-good story attached to this version. I called dh upstairs to come look & we had to pass the Kleenex between us!

Dh & I saw "Les Miserables" in the early 1990s, when it was playing at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto, with Michael Burgess as Jean Valjean and Louise Pitre as Fantine (& we were passing the Kleenex then, too, lol). Pitre later went on to win a Tony in "Mamma Mia," in the role of Donna played by Meryl Streep in the movie. About five years ago, she headlined Emma's Song, a benefit show for the pregnancy loss support group dh & I volunteer with. The event was organized by a couple who knew her through their own work in the theatre, in memory of their stillborn daughter.

We saw & loved "Les Mis" long before we began ttc... Fantine's story, of course, was very different from ours... but listening to the words again, I couldn't help but think of those years of yearning, of loss, of crushing defeat & disappointment:

There was a time when men were kind
When their voices were soft
And their words inviting
There was a time when love was blind
And the world was a song
And the song was exciting
There was a time
Then it all went wrong

I dreamed a dream in times gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving
Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung
No wine untasted
But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hope apart
And they turn your dream to shame
He slept a summer by my side
He filled my days with endless wonder
He took my childhood in his stride
But he was gone when autumn came
And still I dream he'll come to me
That we'll live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather
I had a dream my life would be
So much different from this hell I'm living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed
The dream I dreamed.

I dream new dreams now... but the hurt of the old, dead dream still lingers...


  1. I saw that clip on YouTube, and it was awesome! (I also adored Michael Burgess, btw, in Le Mis.) I should post it on my blog, too, come to think of it!

  2. "but the hurt of the old, dead dream still lingers..."

    well put. and ((hugs)). it just sucks.

  3. Without a doubt, this is one song that brings me to tears and joy at the same time. What a memorable performance...

  4. Oh I saw that! She was delightful and I have always loved that song!

    I use to listen to the Les Mis soundtrack over and over again. When Jessi was in the NICU I would sing "Castle on a Cloud" to her.

  5. Salon Broadsheet has a write-up:

  6. Thanks, Ellen, great article! (And oops, I just realized I got the woman's name wrong -- it should be Susan!)