Posts Tagged ‘horror’


what new horror lurks
in the near-total darkness
of Llandaff Road? — can
all this ignorance be mine?
— and time only compounds it

My sister commented to me yesterday that our mother has always been a drama queen. I know what she means. Yet I also suspect my dream last night took me back to Llandaff Road which was our family home for four years 1969-72, as an indication or a nudge to remember just how much drama there was back then.


false premise

collectively, we
encourage ourselves (against
all the evidence)
stupidly to believe that
happiness is our birthright

It’s funny how I tend to blame ‘everyone’ for what I see as my own deterioration in attitude over the last twenty years since becoming reintegrated into society. As a homeless person, the evidence was right there in front of my nose, every moment of every day, that I had no right at all to anything in this life. Now, I ‘possess’ all kinds of different things — material, abstract, social, psychological — which I never used to have, and I possess them in such a way that I take them for granted. Whose fault is it, that I take them for granted? Mine. Does it matter? Yes.

I feel quite passionate about this, even while having no solution. My poem could hardly state the problem any more clearly, despite its ‘clunky’ effect. All these thoughts from a single seed of a dream last night which brought together two different potential disasters which I’ve been lucky enough not to suffer in my life — spina bifida and the Jewish Holocaust. I dreamed of a friend who has been in a wheelchair all his life. And of some communal showers. These horrors are integral to this life. The menu of horror is infinite and is even, in a certain sense, ‘normal’ — we all risk horror by being alive. A fragment from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness came to me while I was writing the poem. So far as I recall they are the dying words of the protagonist: ‘”The horror! The horror!”‘


a shower of pink
roses — and that moment of
exquisite horror
as I watch myself slowly
start to stuff them in my mouth

The roses were so beautiful, and so unexpected. In the dream, I had only the very faintest sense (but just enough) that I was committing some kind of sacrilege by eating them. What can this mean? In another part of the dream, my stepmother who in reality is 69 years old, was a young woman in her early twenties. We were discussing the nuances of feeling, around the issue of whether to split the bill for a meal out, or allow my stepmother herself to pay for everyone. I feel probably the shower of pink roses implies some kind of bridal procession — presumably my stepmother’s. The innocence with which I set about eating the roses is worth noting. Come to think — it reminds me of the innocence with which, in reality, I snubbed my stepmother’s wedding to my father in 1976. The wedding took place in February. It would have been inconvenient to attend, because it was the middle of my term at Cambridge. But more than that — when I received the invitation I literally experienced no interest in it. In later years I marvelled at how completely I had failed to realise the implications of not turning up. It simply never occurred to me that, symbolically, I was withholding my approval from the marriage. Maybe one can opt to view the eating of the roses positively. Nature taking its course. Healthy appetite. A wedding invitation accepted.