Posts Tagged ‘magic’


to indulge my own
magic generosity
— spending money I
don’t have on things I don’t want
for reasons I cannot grasp

I dreamed I was buying theatre tickets for my stepdaughter and a bicycle for Liz. Felt likely I might be exceeding my overdraft limit thereby. It’s a type of problem all too familiar from real life and I’m glad of the opportunity to quiz myself whether I regard it as an unimportant weakness or an important one — or maybe not as a weakness at all. Clearly, not knowing why I do it is one thing. But not knowing what I think about it, is a bit pathetic. There is a severity associated with the proper use of money. I suspect by refusing to take that severity into myself (i.e. refusing to live within my means) I am actually somehow the slave of the very thing I am trying to deny. In other words, I would rather be generous than severe. But I am so one-sided about it, it means logically that all my severity is gathering strength in the unconscious.


towards a vision

encompassing straight
and gay — middle and working
class — female and male —
tolerance and prejudice
— distinction — amorphousness

Last month, I was labelled posh by two people in agreement, both of whom I regard as perceptive and who know me quite well. I can’t seem to get to the bottom of my own surprise. Maybe I’m missing some dimension of meaning to the word posh. I’m aware of feeling quite aloof much of the time. But it’s the aloofness of a single loner alienated from life itself and human beings in general. Are books posh? The more time goes by, the more difficult to know what is meant by ‘working class’ or ‘middle class’. This has to be a good thing. Gender blurring likewise. My dreams last night included both types of blurring. A boy band from the nineties which turned out to be a girl band. A working class young lad in a gay relationship with me: class seemed not to matter at all in our relationship because we had a magic between us. My poem has a distinctly Jungian flavour. It’s all about trying to envision the totality and inclusiveness of a consciousness able to hold polarities in tension.

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….


Christianity —
wildly subversive form of
primitive magic?
instrument of oppression?
— or simply a fairytale?

I dreamed last night that I was homeless or in transit, and using the Catholic priest’s house as shelter. There was confusion in the dream between an altar rail and a urinal, and I found myself pissing over the altar rail and then feeling guilty about it. My poem though is much more general and tries to step back from the subject of Christianity altogether. I’m incredibly attached to the Christianity of my childhood, in fact there’s scarcely any difference for me, between the determination with which I treasure my own Christianity and the determination with which I treasure my childhood. At the same time, I despair of anyone who can literally swallow the Gospel narrative as though it happened as historical fact. The most that can be said is that someone was crucified.


who has the power?
who wants it? — and who for God’s
sake is desperate
for some way of shattering
the illusion of power?

Thought itself can be a kind of prison sometimes. Don’t we all think in cliche´s, all the time? Presumably Jung had something like this in mind when he started talking about archetypes. A cliche´ is just an archetype that has lost its dignity. I dreamed of a little animal which had been trained to hold a key in its mouth. I had several different keys and had to select the right one to put in the animal’s mouth: meanwhile the animal was getting excited because it could see the keys in my hand. Does the key have power over the lock? You would think. But if I think of myself as the key — then Liz, in my life, is like the one lock in the whole world which fits my shape, and in that sense she has power over me. That’s roughly what the poem is about. I noticed as soon as I had landed upon my first line, how desperate I was to challenge the terms of the question ‘Who has the power?’ But am I any less imprisoned by the concept of power if I think I don’t want it, than if I think I do? Is it possible to think about power without being hypnotised into believing in such a thing? We are hypnotised by our own tools of thought. By words. Magic.

science and magic

light is both at once
a wave and a particle —
in the same way, love’s
reality consists in
fantasy pure and simple

I dreamed last night of Anna, my first love — a long and involved dream, and unusual, for the fact that I seemed to be myself as I am now, in the dream, with all or most of the thoughts and feelings about Anna appropriate to not having seen her for thirty years. There seemed to be the opportunity for sex with her, but in the dream, I was able to interrogate myself whether sex with Anna was the wisest course to pursue. What about her marriage (she was married with children last time I met her in 1985)? The dream ended with her husband rescuing me — literally pulling me with a firm grip of his hand in mine — from the bed in which I was beginning to get it on with his wife. It was almost as if we were allies, with Anna, or Anna’s sexuality, as the enemy. I’m very pleased with this poem. After all, there was never in reality the slightest physical expression of love at all, between myself and Anna. It was pure fantasy. But all love without exception is pure fantasy. That’s just what it is, in itself.


magic — is hardwired
into our experience
at the exact point
of intersection between
power and passivity

I googled magicality to see whether such a word exists. Apparently it made its first appearance in the 1920’s, in the novels of William Locke. Never heard of him, though I did see the film Ladies in Lavender which was based on his short story. I dreamed last night of one of the managers where I work, whose personality does have an almost magical quality — an air of gentle authority — which in the dream was exaggerated, and I took that as the starting point for my poem. I’m far from happy with the way the poem has the character of a pronouncement. But hey. I never seem to have enough of wondering why and in what sense I believe in ‘magic’. Is the idea of magic power just a compensation for powerlessness? Or is there some sense in which the illusion of power is as important and life-altering as the actual fact of it? Is there any such thing as power in any case, or is it always an illusion (I tend to think so)? Do our illusions generate our realities? Words are a case in point. What kind of power or reality does a word have? Words are the ultimate illusion, the ultimate magic.