Posts Tagged ‘subversive’

in old age

a man’s teenage pain
returns by devious paths
to haunt him — just one
final rebellion left
— the act of remembering!

A week ago I had my sixtieth birthday. Ageing seems to be a constant theme of this blog. Employing a title like this, ‘in old age’, does seem a bit melodramatic of me. I dreamed last night I stood accused of being able to alter someone else’s reality just by the act of remembering. I felt innocent. But at the same time, I did in fact feel as though I had engaged in some kind of subversive act, simply by allowing a certain thought into my head — which was the memory of someone named Howard Pollock, whom I knew for a couple of years in the mid-seventies.



subvert the Good, by
pursuing the Beautiful –
it’s how the world turns

The first draft of this poem was about light and dark. I prefer this version, but it’s still worth pointing out that darkness and light are natural phenomena, whereas good and evil, beautiful and ugly, are secondary constructs which we create ourselves as human beings. Nevertheless there is some irrational compulsion hardwired into us, whereby we associate goodness and beauty with Light, and evil and ugliness with Darkness. This basic orientation is just a fact about being human, pointless to deny, no matter how much I may enjoy trying to turn good and evil upside down (for instance by identifying God as evil, which occurs with the gnostic demiurge). Behind this morning’s poem lies a dream where I was embracing someone I’ve known ten years and whom I’m really fond of: but she always makes me think of a Sunday School teacher or a Women’s Institute stalwart and so I always find myself battling a temptation to dismiss her as just too mainstream and twee. It was satisfying to embrace her in the dream, and to allow myself to dwell upon my tender feelings towards her. My poem kind of reacts against that, and tries to bring into focus my belief that Sunday School morals are hopelessly inadequate to this universe. This belief corresponds to the part of me that always wants to put her down.