Posts Tagged ‘gut’

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.



to do the right thing
just this incredibly strong
urge — like an instinct
— towards rightness — what is it?
how come it does so much harm?

There is a clear route of association, from having seen the film The Danish Girl last night, to this idea in the poem, of a person’s inbuilt sense of rightness — although it wasn’t conscious at all in the process of writing. But the Eddie Redmayne character (Lili Elbe) is made up almost entirely of this passionate urge towards rightness (i.e. to her, being a woman feels completely right). I got to it though, this morning, by thinking about fidelity. I had two dreams last night, in both of which Liz was my faithful companion. In one, we were digging up the roots of a tree together. In the other, we were part of a foursome with another couple. I noticed, thinking about how much I passionately desire to be with Liz and to stay with Liz, that it was all bound up with a generalised desire to please the beneficent forces of the universe (whatever they are). Actually, fidelity is much more irrational than that sounds. It goes to the deepest gut level which I don’t understand. But so in fact does the urge towards rightness. There’s no doubt at all, for me, as to how illusory the idea of ‘right’ is. It ends up wrong so often, it’s almost the invariable rule. But I don’t propose to try to justify that statement here.


it’s possible God
shepherds His flock lovingly
like the Bible says
— but envy the Wolf whose jaw
drips blood — he knows God in his gut

I don’t think this poem requires elucidation. One of the things it’s about in fact, is the difference between intellectual speculation and brutally vivid reality which is simply a given. The harder we strive to discover love and goodness in ourselves or others or the world — the more clearly evil and brutality are bound to crystalize. Or is that just one more arid intellectualisation? Maybe worth recording a dream fragment from last night. I was being gently reprimanded for having almost entirely wasted my life and my talent. Interesting that word talent has a Biblical resonance, which is a thread connecting dream and poem, however slender.