Posts Tagged ‘significance’


does trash still count as
trash, once it has been rescued?
— surely the act of
paying attention to trash
turns it into something else?

Depend upon it sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully. This quote from Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson was rattling around at the back of my mind as I reflected how the simple task of arranging words in the syllabic pattern of a tanka (5-7-5-7-7) seems to bring things wonderfully into focus. There’s something doctrinaire about me, when I’m faced with one of my own dreams. I settle down to penetrate what it ‘means’ because I’m convinced in advance that it does mean something. But the meaning emerges purely because I’m looking for it. This act of self-creation is enormously satisfying, but it’s also circular, and self-deluding maybe. I dreamed I was printing off a document after saving it as a pdf. Clearly relates directly to the last thing I did before going to bed, printing off something to read which relates to work. An act of purely mundane significance (or insignificance). But because I dogmatically assume that all dream images are ‘significant’, I have now magically created an aura of significance around the act of printing off a document. In my poem, I was thinking of a piece of psychoanalytic theory I was reading about yesterday, where apparently D.W.Winnicott saw a pattern in the way babies play with putting things in their mouths. He saw 3 stages: (1) hesitant curiosity (2) rapt attention (3) riddance. Presumably ‘riddance’ means throwing the object away. When I identify the act of printing off a document as being ‘purely mundane’, I’m basically trashing it, or in other words, ridding myself of it. Then when I force myself to make it the centre of my poem, I’m retrieving it or rescuing it from the trash. By which time it is no longer trash. Similarly, in quantum mechanics the act of observation is understood as apparently affecting, or even maybe bringing into existence, the thing observed. Electrons only turn into electrons once they’re observed (according to my layman’s understanding). Copenhagen refers to a play of that name by Michael Frayn, one of my favourite works of literature



this word is nothing —
absolutely nil meaning
or significance,
it rattles when you shake it
— this spirituality

Part of me seems to believe this. It was a thought provoked by a dream last night involving the book ‘The Glass Bead Game’ by Herman Hesse. In the dream I felt a strong sense of affirmation that Hesse was ‘spiritual’.