Posts Tagged ‘betrayal’

no choice

the gut argues for
sexual congress — never
such raw compulsion
as now — two bodies wholly
determined to do their thing

In 1969 Ian McKellen toured playing Marlowe’s Edward II, which I saw at the age of thirteen at the New Theatre Cardiff. Ironic, given at that point in my life I was oblivious to any homosexual feelings — nevertheless I was profoundly impressed and moved by the representation on stage of the historically fairly-accurate love affair between Edward II and his court favourite Piers Gaveston. Twenty years later, a dream told me that that particular couple had had ‘no choice’ — it had been fated — and I knew immediately, awake, that this had been my own feeling about my own gay love affair on which I embarked in 1971. Some decisions come from such a deep place that they can only be right however much misery and heartache they subsequently bring.

In my dream last night I was embracing another man’s wife. My poem describes the dynamic between us quite well. She was Judith whom I knew in 1977 by her maiden name of Everard. I was thoroughly smitten, but she was out of my league. Not in any carnal sense, for I don’t think she would have been interested in ‘sex before marriage’ in any case. But morally out of my league. She had a strength of character and integrity which I lacked. She has stayed firmly on a pedestal in my memory for the last forty years. It feels momentous to dream of her now as another man’s wife amenable to being seduced by me. I have dreamed of her reasonably often over the years, but cannot recall any similar dream where she comes down off her pedestal so decisively. In the dream, I was mainly concerned for my own unfaithfulness, not hers. I knew I’d betrayed Liz, and was looking desperately for ways of remedying the situation.



what if — rather than
merely fallible, I’m just
plain untrustworthy?

This morning I sat down to write about last night’s dream, but instead was overwhelmed by the thought of a recent domestic crisis for which I am in part responsible. Generally, writing my morning poem always tends to bring home to me that just the fact of being alive is chock full of potential for evil. I see myself as basically an idiot, in the face of so much unknown danger built into the world and into my own human nature. Two days ago I was instrumental in throwing out my partner’s daughter’s old schoolbooks which she had left with her mother for safekeeping. It was mostly an act of thoughtlessness rather than malice. But I learned from Liz yesterday that, when told, her daughter had taken it very badly. The correct thing to do would have been to ask her if she wanted to keep them. The difficulty then, for me, would have been witnessing the dynamic whereby her mother seems quite unable to refuse her anything: with the result that there is tons of the daughter’s stuff in the mother’s flat rendering it difficult or impossible for me to move in with any degree of certainty that I can find room for my own stuff. None of this is adequate excuse and I feel full of remorse that I can have acted so stupidly. I feel not only guilty but also worried that I may have significantly undermined the delicate balance of the relationship between mother and daughter. It’s these waking worries which are the ‘nightmare’ of the poem’s title.


petitioning to
be my lover, head tilted
seductively — he
persuades me to abandon
Liz — how is this possible?

Based on a dream I had, Christmas morning, depicting a schoolfriend whom I lost touch with in 1973. He was never my lover in reality. But in the dream I wanted to be with him rather than Liz. I even had a plan for how to let Liz know. I quite like the (for me, unusual) way this poem just describes the dream exactly as it is, and draws no conclusions or interpretations.


love binds, love sets free
— love soothes, love excites — no-one
who loves understands
the first thing about love — love
contradicts all opposites

I honestly don’t know what the last line means. But I struggled quite hard with this poem and don’t mind if the final result betrays this. I dreamed exchanging the words ‘l love you’ and ‘I think I love you too’ with someone (I am not sure who) who wasn’t my partner. There was quite a good level of acceptance in the dream, of all the contradictory feelings around this. It was OK and it wasn’t OK. It was betraying Liz (my partner) and it wasn’t betraying her. The love being verbalised was and wasn’t sexual.

Monday 19 May

he betrayed my trust
spread my secret far and wide
— so I pretended —
my whole life became one big
fat lie which no-one believed