Posts Tagged ‘ambiguity’


the courage to do
wrong — all our very cheapest
stories recognise
— in some blind way — that nothing
makes sense like a paradox

My last night’s dream was really quite powerful and significant. It entailed my being seduced by Beryl Graves, the wife of the poet Robert Graves. Currently I am reading his historical novel Count Belisarius, and finding it a little bit tedious. Graves is an important figure for me. He captured my imagination in my mid-twenties, when I was struggling with so-called ‘psychotic’ experiences, and I made the journey to his house in Spain, in 1982, to try and gain enlightenment from the great man. I knocked on the door and was kindly entertained for an hour by his wife (then in her sixties) while Robert himself sat inert in a wheelchair. He was 87 and had retreated into dementia.



the discovery
of courage to do evil
by the grace of God

This poem took me by surprise this morning. I was struggling just a little with the fact that I could barely remember any dreams. As far as I can remember, I seemed to be saving both myself and possibly society, by finding the courage to sleep with David Bowie. Not that sleeping with David Bowie would be an act of evil. But certainly an act of courage. And his stage persona, for me at any rate, has always been the embodiment of both sexual and moral ambiguity. I have conjured this in the poem by juxtaposing two incompatible extremes in an unusual way (‘courage’, ‘grace’ and ‘God’ juxtaposed with ‘evil’). I think my poem is probably open to considerable misinterpretation. I am not offering a universal truth, with this definition of adulthood. Yesterday I ran up against an all-too-familiar stumbling block. I started talking about myself as being a ‘Jungian’ — which always makes me feel amazingly foolish, and this time was no different. This morning I seem still to be trying to process this. The poem encapsulates my understanding of the most daring end of Jung’s thinking.


a complex tangle
of guilt and inhibition
— ramifications
impossible to fathom —
held purposely for healing

What kind of family is my newborn nephew coming into? I fear my contribution has been, historically, at best ambiguous. From his mother’s point of view (my half sister, over two decades younger than me) this ambiguity must surely be my defining characteristic. In my dream, we were trying to solve this together.

Friday 25 April

trust the wise woman
in her ambiguity
— a way of being
where danger shall be embraced
and darkness loved as a friend