Posts Tagged ‘choice’


why are my options
so similar, all of them?
— marry this woman
or that, who cares? — thus my soul
mourns its own brutality

Simple dream. I was making my choice between a number of women to spend my life with. Utterly unreal, the callousness with which I took for granted that any of them would have me. It took me about two hours to arrive at this final poem, but am pleased with the end result. In the dream, I ended up coupling with the woman of my choice, on a high ledge in full public view. Early drafts of the poem played with the idea of trying to find a ‘niche’ for myself, both literally and figuratively. The literal niche of the high ledge made me think of comparing myself to a feral pigeon — surely there is something callous about the mindlessness of these creatures? Yet when I was homeless, I felt a strong bond with them, terribly protective towards them.


organic fact

ego — fiction — fact
— who can fathom the divine
interplay of these
co-ordinates? — blindly, we
embody all three at once

I dreamed last night of the poet Robert Graves. He was saying that nobody has ever properly analysed the statement: ‘Fiction has the power to alter fact’. The exact wording of the statement was actually rather vague, but that was the gist. Last Christmas I asked my mother to give me Clive James’ translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy as a xmas gift. I did read the first section — the Inferno — but it was a struggle and I have now officially given up the ambition to read the rest of it. I’m positive if I could read it in the original Italian I would adore it. This Christmas she is giving me Yuval Noah Harari’s SAPIENS: A BRIEF HISTORY OF HUMANKIND. Harari’s idea is that what distinguishes humans from animals is the ability to co-operate based on collective belief in a story. It’s astonishing how consistently and frequently this notion — this vision — of Harari’s keeps coming back to me in the process of blogging my dreams every morning. Hopefully the book won’t disappoint. Below is an extract from the Foreword to Robert Graves’ Poems 1970-72. When I first came across this paragraph in 1982, it was a revelation, and has stayed with me ever since:

Little need be added to my Foreword in the Green Sailed Vessel. I wrote there that, now well into my seventy-sixth year, I had been increasingly concerned with hidden powers of poetic thought, which raise and solve problems of advanced mathematics and physics. The word “poetry” meant in Greek the “act of making” — a sense that has survived in the old Scottish word for poet, namely “Maker”….The poetic power to make things happen, as understood for instance by the early mediaeval Irish master-poets, and by their Middle Eastern sufic contemporaries, raises simple love alliances to a point where physical absence supplies living presence. These experiences occur not only in the fourth dimension, where prison walls are easily cheated…..but in the fifth, where time proves as manipulable as is vertical or lateral space in the usual third dimension, and where seemingly impossible coincidences and so-called ‘Acts of God’ occur almost as a matter of course. In poetry, the fifth dimensional co-identification of lovers is truth rather than idealistic fancy….


the world was never
going to be a place where
I felt I belonged

This self-pitying item is also possibly, I’m afraid, rather trite. I have a bit of a problem in my life, with trying to understand in retrospect how and why I made the choices in my teens which then shaped my life as a whole. Perhaps one reason this is so difficult is because I have simply lost all contact with, and empathy for, the person I was then. Broadly, last night’s dream highlighted the issue of livelihood. I felt convinced briefly, in the dream, that I could make it as a professional musician if only I dedicated enough hours to daily French horn practice. Then suddenly my true age in waking life dawned on me (59), and I realised it was quite hopeless. So I guess the element of self-pity was there in the dream.


no-one chooses to
be born and yet — moment by
moment — I choose Life

Quaker By Convincement was the title of a book recommended to me when I was thinking of becoming a Quaker the year I graduated. It’s a very deep mystery to consider how on earth we ever get the sense of having chosen to be who we are. And yet that sense devolves upon me if I let it. Not sure why the term ‘convincement’ popped into my head as a title. It’s like conviction but less aggressive and less trite. It’s also less suggestive of ‘self-willed’. Convincement is where my will is wholly engaged but in some kind of accepting way. Cessation of rebellion.

therapy session

while I talk, his eyes
have a habit of rolling
back in their sockets —
is he dozing? — or is it
his way of concentrating?

In my dream, I was seated outside a pub or restaurant and suddenly noticed I could see a woman’s reflection in the window and she was revealing all her most private parts. Although interested, I decided to close my eyes politely and pretend to doze. Awake, this reminds me of a Jungian psychotherapist I had for a couple of years 2006-08, and his habit of seeming to doze while I was talking — while I was presumably revealing all about myself. Yesterday I had my quarterly psychiatrist’s appointment. Oddly, although I regard medical psychiatry as a complete fraud and Jungian psychotherapy as something more like a path to enlightenment, I have a much better relation with my psychiatrist than I did with the therapist. I cannot imagine the psychiatrist ever dozing while I speak (to be fair, the therapist was well into his eighties). My decision in the dream, to close my eyes against the sight of the vulva, suggests some kind of choice in waking life. Negatively, it could mean a choice to avoid becoming conscious (of my own feminine side?). Positively, it could refer to the decision not to watch pornography. In real life yesterday, I was telling the psychiatrist of my hopes that perhaps now I will be able to give up dallying with internet pornography for good — since a couple of weeks ago I finally confessed to my partner that I’ve been suffering from such a problem every now and again, ever since I’ve known her (13 years). The secrecy did seem to be feeding the habit. So I am hopeful. But, hearing myself trot out this pious hope to remain ‘clean’ for the rest of my life — I did feel like a slight phoney. Or at least, as though I were somehow missing the point. As long as it still seems like the end of the world if I lapse, chances are, that in itself will be enough to ensure that I lapse. But also, the choice to avoid becoming conscious is a perfectly valid one. Sometimes conventional morality — even if it is a kind of sleep — works wonders.


the equipment costs
too much — no choice but to give
this adventure up
— choice? who am I kidding? we
left choice behind at base camp

A walking route, where the road merged with a river. The water was the route. Before setting out with my partner Liz, I was contemplating the £300 which I didn’t have, to buy myself special waterproof shoes. There were also knee length boots for her, which cost even more. In real life we belong to the St Francis of Assisi Catholic Ramblers Club, but I suspect the knee length boots are a reference to a striptease show I once saw, where boots were all that was worn. Two completely opposite associations. But I’d like to think the symbol of water — and hence the trek — is equally both spiritual and sexual in meaning.