Posts Tagged ‘world’

personal history

my inner child’s heart
will preserve its innocence —
even should the world’s
evil speak using my voice
— act employing my own hands

We are all storytellers, and the inner child reveals itself by the stories it loves. It loves its own story of course, above all, and the story of its own innocence which it rehearses, in one form or another, constantly. These reflections were provoked by noticing how scared I was, this morning, by the memory of my last night’s dreams and by my latest pornography lapse (yesterday evening). In part, the dream itself contained this fear. I was handed some cake by a woman whose hands were diseased, and I was scared of contagion. But funnily enough, another dream last night involved my rescuing an MI5 agent who was drowning in a river — I didn’t feel as though the courage was mine, it seemed to come from somewhere else. So, unlike in the poem, it was good rather than evil which was acting through me.



without attachment
there’s no possibility
of loss — without loss,
there’s no finding and without
finding — no world, no being

Almost the only image I could recall from last night’s dreams, was of a container full of papers. They were precious memories, mementoes, and they were being upended and scattered downwards into a bottomless void. I dislike the highly abstract nature of the poem, but there we are. I suspect there is some kind of connection with having heard Bowlby mentioned in a talk yesterday evening. I know little about Bowlby except he is famous for attachment theory.  And I don’t know much about attachment theory though I am disposed to believe it because it arose out of Freudian thinking. It’s very odd indeed to observe my own willingness to believe two utterly different sets of theories about attachment — Bowlby’s and the Buddha’s. Neither of which I can claim to have studied. I know somewhat more about Buddha’s ideas on the subject, and yet I have the sense of psychoanalysis as my true cultural home in contrast to the exotic, imported flavour of Eastern wisdom. Why am I so ready to accept an external source of knowledge (in this case, Bowlby and/or Buddha)? I feel I must be some kind of naive schoolboy, still, at heart. Treating the whole world as though it were some kind of academic test. Crazy. The broad difference between Bowlby and Buddha seems to be, Buddha claims attachment can be (and needs to be) transcended, while Bowlby does no more than observe how it actually works in practice. The idea that Buddha succeeded in transcending attachment altogether, leaves me simultaneously sceptical and excited. What a wonderful vision! The Tale of the Man Who Achieved the Impossible. I only know it’s impossible for me, and that I’m unable to accept on faith that it’s even a wise goal to strive for. Of course Buddha said accept nothing on faith. But how on earth can anyone strive for an impossible goal except through faith? But the vision stands. And I’m pleased with my poem as an attempt to capture that vision.


I hold my breath — swim
underwater — re-emerge
again and again
— what is the sea? — a place of
death — or life — or both at once?

Diving underwater as a Jungian symbol of encounter with the unconscious, has been a constantly recurring dream image throughout my life. Four or five years ago, I heard Janice Hartley give a brief talk about her understanding of how The Hero’s Journey (a recurrent theme across all the world’s mythologies) can help make sense of so-called mental illness. I was deeply impressed. When I was a child I had a paperback by Rosemary Sutcliffe with illustrations by Charles Keeping, which was a retelling of Beowulf. It should have hit me sooner than this morning, that my lifelong-recurring dream of diving (in which I feel myself to be the hero) connects with the myth of Beowulf. Isn’t it about time I got to grips with Beowulf, the original poem? Sadly I find I seem to have culled my copy of Seamus Heaney’s translation!


the world’s cruelty
is so extreme — my only
escape is smallness

This poem is a rewriting on 4th November, of a poem originally written on the 3rd. What follows is a part of the text which accompanied the original poem. I have edited out the bits that are no longer relevant. The original poem was more about kindness, and this one is more about cruelty. I’ve spent a lot of effort on the revision. Worth it though. I am fascinated by the opposites of cruelty and kindness. They seem much more important and helpful to remember as being contained, both of them, within me, as compared with the more abstract good and evil.

I had a difficult day at work yesterday. Kindness isn’t particularly highly prized in the scheme of things — at least that’s my sense — when it comes to the workplace as defined by goals, targets, outcomes and all the rest. I felt the lack of it (kindness) yesterday. But that’s a lack in me of course. The environment just serves as a hook for projection. I dreamed of Edwin (Max) Landsberg last night. Not the kindest human being I ever encountered. The dream was long and intricately recalled.


he does not connect
gracefully with the wide world
— the man whose journey
leads ever further inward
into deeper loneliness

I dreamed of a man attempting to document his journey through madness (or homelessness or both) by the use of a loose-leaf file containing his most precious memories, aspirations and attempts to solve his problems. He was relying on my help. Maybe I had loaned him the use of the ring-binder. There was a feeling on my part, of being taken advantage of. I wanted to make the man aware that he couldn’t just do as he liked. But he was proving too erratic to be controlled. Also, I wasn’t entirely sure I had right on my side. I leafed through his file behind his back, but it all felt stupidly furtive and petty. Probably the dream arises because of having announced happily to Liz that I thought of somewhere to store my diaries when I do finally move in with her. They conprise 6 large crates and are full of diaries from the seventies, eighties and nineties. My behaviour in the dream roughly parallels that of Liz in reality (not so much recently, but in the past).


the world was never
going to be a place where
I felt I belonged

This self-pitying item is also possibly, I’m afraid, rather trite. I have a bit of a problem in my life, with trying to understand in retrospect how and why I made the choices in my teens which then shaped my life as a whole. Perhaps one reason this is so difficult is because I have simply lost all contact with, and empathy for, the person I was then. Broadly, last night’s dream highlighted the issue of livelihood. I felt convinced briefly, in the dream, that I could make it as a professional musician if only I dedicated enough hours to daily French horn practice. Then suddenly my true age in waking life dawned on me (59), and I realised it was quite hopeless. So I guess the element of self-pity was there in the dream.


Russia — the soil speaks
for itself, and the word мир
embraces the world

In Russian, мир means both peace and world. I dreamed last night of a concert pianist named Elisabeth Leonskaja. Back in 1984 for about six months I believed I was in love with her. We had met for less than ten seconds while she signed a programme after a recital. The link above is to a clip of her playing Chopin, but it was Schubert’s G flat major Impromptu I heard her play, way back then. My feelings about Russia are a bit involved. Through the eighties, I felt that, in the Cold War, Russia had right on its side possibly through nothing more complicated than the fact that it possessed the largest land mass in the world, and so in that sense had some sort of justifiable claim actually to *be* the world (if any country had that claim). I also saw Russia as the original home of fairies and folk culture, leading back somehow into the mists of time where some kind of unproven matriarchy would have held sway. And that fed into the land mass theory, because the size of the Russian land mass was equivalent in my mind to a planetary Earth Goddess. These days if I believe in anything like that at all, it tends to centre more upon the Gaia theory of James Lovelock.