Posts Tagged ‘son’


the words I love you
— involuntary sobbing —
parenthood is raw

Plenty of striking dreams last night, but I have stuck with the most emotional image. I’ve forgotten the context, but I found myself embracing a small boy as the words ‘I love you’ came from my lips without the slightest forethought. It was just like being sick or ejaculating or any involuntary process where the body itself takes over and decides what’s happening. At the same time, there was also no dissociation so I believed the words and the emotion of love. It was an inescapable conclusion that the small boy was my son, although in real life I have (as far as I know) no offspring at all. I am preparing currently in waking life, a talk on the subject of spirituality and mental health. My own personal understanding of the word spirituality has been strongly influenced by Jung’s Septem Sermones at Mortuos, where spirituality and sexuality are paired. But why would I want to turn my talk into a Jung lecture? So yesterday it struck me that I could say something much simpler and more universal. Surely it’s universal, the same for everyone, that Love has both a spiritual and a sexual aspect? I suspect my dream last night expresses the impossibility of knowing whether love comes from the body or from the spirit. It obviously can come from both at once. And yet the distinction seems to be one that we are all predisposed to find.


Vivien’s courage

the sky shits blood — bomb
after nuclear bomb, they
drop like rain — somehow
I dodge them all, dancing my
absurd dance of denial

If trying to dodge nuclear bombs suggests denial, what kind of alternative response would indicate acceptance? Standing, arms stretched wide in welcome? Maybe yes in fact. I also dreamed my father was affirming and encouraging my interest in learning New Testament Greek. He says (in the dream) he knew someone who ditched theological studies and was left the poorer ‘with nothing to be afraid of’. Yesterday I was thinking of my copy of the Greek New Testament which I had in the eighties. In the introduction it explained that normal practice among the Romans was to crucify people on a singe upright stake. Chances are about 90% in favour of believing that Jesus was crucified on a single upright stake with no crossbar. The central symbol of Christianity — Christ on the cross — is well worth examining critically. I am still reading Painted Shadow by Carole Seymour-Jones, about Vivien, first wife of T.S. Eliot. And still finding it disturbing and distressing in the extreme. Maybe both dream and poem reflect this. She was an excellent dancer apparently. Thinking of the nightmare which was her life, the image came to mind yesterday of a woman crucified on the cross: the only image to sum up what they did to Vivien. In terms of theology, what if God had crucified his own daughter, rather than his own son? What if we were required by Christianity to pray to a woman on the cross? How absurd would that be?


respective fathers —
he hated mine, I worshipped
his — why did we need
a metaphor for gay sex
we were already having?

Missing from the poem is any sense of the intensity of loathing between my teenage gay lover and my father. It also misses the positive ‘feel’ of last night’s dream in respect of my relationship with my lover’s father (Doug). In real life, I thought the world of this man because he seemed so strong and gentle (unlike my own father who seemed weak and angry). But somehow we always kept each other at a distance: he was a car mechanic with very poor literacy, while I was silent, intellectually precocious, and perhaps a typical case of Asperger’s, unable ever to relax with people. I was also guilty that I was having a closet gay relationship with his son, unsure whether a guessing game was going on, in terms of whether he guessed I was his son’s lover. In the dream, he was an old man close to death. And I was able freely to express my love for him by trying to reassure him with a hug. In psychoanalysis, the word object has a particular meaning which I don’t fully understand. My impression though, is that part of it involves noticing how we ‘split’ our perceptions of people into extremes of good and bad. Such a split is apparent in the markedly contrasting attitudes held by my lover and I, towards each other’s fathers. Mostly, I am drawn to object relations theory and tend to believe it’s probably accurate as far as it goes. But I also distrust so much hard intellect, and this stops me making the effort to exercise my brain and do the reading in order to get fully to grips with the theory.


the end of the world
will come — and find us holding
hands in a circle

In the dream, we were adults, but otherwise the poem describes the dream pretty well literally. There was also an episode where I had a small child, a young boy, on my lap during a journey, with a lot of trust between us. That gave me the title. Yesterday I started reading a book by an American journalist named Mark Hertsgaard. The book is called ‘Hot’ and is trying to wake people up to the immediate and certain threat of some degree of climate catastrophe well within the lifetime of children being born now. I peeked at the last chapter, and it’s a letter to his five year old daughter.