Posts Tagged ‘body’

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.

son

the words I love you
— involuntary sobbing —
parenthood is raw

Plenty of striking dreams last night, but I have stuck with the most emotional image. I’ve forgotten the context, but I found myself embracing a small boy as the words ‘I love you’ came from my lips without the slightest forethought. It was just like being sick or ejaculating or any involuntary process where the body itself takes over and decides what’s happening. At the same time, there was also no dissociation so I believed the words and the emotion of love. It was an inescapable conclusion that the small boy was my son, although in real life I have (as far as I know) no offspring at all. I am preparing currently in waking life, a talk on the subject of spirituality and mental health. My own personal understanding of the word spirituality has been strongly influenced by Jung’s Septem Sermones at Mortuos, where spirituality and sexuality are paired. But why would I want to turn my talk into a Jung lecture? So yesterday it struck me that I could say something much simpler and more universal. Surely it’s universal, the same for everyone, that Love has both a spiritual and a sexual aspect? I suspect my dream last night expresses the impossibility of knowing whether love comes from the body or from the spirit. It obviously can come from both at once. And yet the distinction seems to be one that we are all predisposed to find.