Posts Tagged ‘time’


what new horror lurks
in the near-total darkness
of Llandaff Road? — can
all this ignorance be mine?
— and time only compounds it

My sister commented to me yesterday that our mother has always been a drama queen. I know what she means. Yet I also suspect my dream last night took me back to Llandaff Road which was our family home for four years 1969-72, as an indication or a nudge to remember just how much drama there was back then.



Muhammad Ali —
how does being ‘the greatest’
feel? — it’s a gone thing
— now he sits defeated by
his own slow progress through time

1973-74 I would have been sixteen or seventeen, my bedroom had a very low, large armchair and I have vivid memories of sitting in that armchair on my own, often — feeling defeated by the whole business of being alive, the whole business of being a teenager, the whole business of being me. In my dream, it was Muhammad Ali sitting in that chair. Much the age he must be now — an old man — and I was very interested to know how he felt about himself. What was it like looking back over his life? Ali was never a personal hero of mine, and in general, boxing leaves me completely cold. The only boxer I ever felt a flicker of interest in, was Barry McGuigan. Yet Ali is a complete and utter legend. A god if you like. I was wondering yesterday what to think about Yuval Noah Harari’s website with its prominent strapline: History began when humans invented gods, and will end when humans become gods. I’m fine with the first part of that statement, but have no idea what the second part means.

compos mentis

what day is today?
— depends — what if, for instance
alters the fabric of time
reflecting it back at you?

The ability to keep track of time can disappear. My sister and I are watching this happen to my mother. My poem is just a little disingenuous. It’s an attempt to argue that time can be flexible for anyone at any time regardless whether they have ‘dementia’ or not. We all have the evidence for the power of the imagination to bend time. But getting completely lost is another thing. I dreamed last night I was organising somebody’s time, coming to an agreement about a regular pattern of time involving Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Annoyingly, the rest of the content of the dream has disappeared so I have no idea what was to take place on those days.


we mourn each other’s
disappearance, one by one
erupting into
death — consumed by the chaos
inherent in time itself

A powerful dream image of my own body with a mass of thrashing snakes erupting from every orifice. The only connection I can discover in waking life is my having read The Story of Beowulf by Rosemary Sutcliffe, two days ago, in a single sitting. It’s one of my childhood books which I’ve kept. I don’t think I ever read it properly as a child. The blurb says it is suitable for aged ten and upward, but there’s a density to the prose which I can now recognise as deriving from the fact that Sutcliffe is constantly lifting literary devices and images from the original Anglo-Saxon text. I was struck by the dragon at the end of the story, and Beowulf’s death, which I didn’t remember at all. Nor had I realised just how derivative Tolkien’s dragon Smaug is. The dragon, the serpent, the snake and the worm are all interchangeable images of course — so maybe my dream-snakes were suggested by the Beowulf dragon.


the line’s straight (you’d think)
— we are born, we die — but God
uses it to draw
a crazy illustration
of Time’s circularity

I dreamed I was a character in a children’s book by C.S.Lewis. I had grown old without noticing, and was now an old man. My time had all but run out, while somehow I had been imagining it was only a test run. Or only a story.


two whole decades of
learning to value having
nothing and no-one……
the legacy of those years?
— a sense of entitlement

I probably ought to read Kazuo Ishiguro’s Buried Giant which is apparently about collective amnesia. I dreamed I was in a queue of homeless people (queuing for food handouts) such as would have been a normal part of everyday life for me through the eighties and nineties. Ahead of me in the queue was the man who, in 2005, gave me my first paid job that I ever held down in my life for longer than three weeks. All warmth of recognition was lacking somehow. Circumstances had changed utterly. He himself was clearly unemployed and homeless, but also, it felt quite possible we were on some other planet, literally, where our shared past was irrelevant. Last thing yesterday I had a brief exchange of texts with my sister on the subject of the effects of time, and how weirdly distanced one can feel from the person one was. Finding that I am a stranger to myself can be unnerving, but it’s also enriching. My poem merely scratches the surface of the strangeness of having a job and an income, and the simultaneous opposite strangeness of realising that I was once homeless.


deadly enemies,
best friends — relationships both
seeming to arrive
from nowhere, fully formed, as
though created outside time

Do we really write the script of our own lives? Who knows. If so, it must be some part of me beyond myself. I slept nearly twelve hours last night. Oversleeping can befuddle the dreamlife with too many forgotten dreams. But I seem to remember three dreams dimly. Two of the dreams involved women with whom I have felt myself in a relationship of enmity. One was my manager at work in 2010. The other was my stepmother’s mother. The third dream involved staring into a woman’s eyes in the knowledge that either she or I, or more likely both of us, were aliens. This was felt to be a positive. In terms of the poem, the alien suggests that realm of the completely unknown where friendships and enmities are decided. My stepmother’s mother died twenty years ago, but a few months ago I had a dream in which we had forgiven each other. In last night’s dream, I was embracing my erstwhile manager and realising the only thing that made any sense was for us to sleep together. I am always interested in finding the potential for friendship buried in an enmity. Maybe at some level they are simply the same thing. Empedocles had some interesting things to say about this.