Posts Tagged ‘Judith’

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.

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extasie

pelvis to pelvis
we understand each other
— while yet the entire
mystery, both of ourselves
and the universe, remains

Sexual coupling is such a deeply entrenched instinct, you don’t need to have done it in order to understand it. Anyone can understand John Donne’s poem The Extasie — as I did at the age of seventeen when I studied it at school, even though I was a virgin. Similarly, love that is unconsummated and/or unrequited still has so much of a sexual element, one is bound to wonder whether the presence or absence of physical sex actually means anything at all. In my life I have very often fallen in love with women and the love has been unconsummated or unrequited. Last night I dreamed of one of them, a girl named Judith Everard, who was my partner once a week at English Country Dancing when I was in my last year at Cambridge. Probably suggested by the plotline of Danny and the Human Zoo (autobiographical drama by Lenny Henry which I watched last night on BBC iPlayer).