The Story Behind ‘I dream again’

I dream again is the last poem of the collection. I remember writing it on my smartphone last new year’s eve staying at relatives.

Originally, the collection was going to end with a poem which was intended as a script between the husband and the wife with them playing a game of callling names. However, neither the structure of them talking to each other in one poem, or the language they were using worked.

What I was hoping for with this poem was to link back to some of the themes of earlier poems. Perhaps it balances off the nightmare poem in some ways because it’s a happy dream, but it also works back into No Battery. I wanted to find some way of talking about how the domestic routines of life can be invested with spiritual and cosmic significance. Perhaps the only way to see that is through a dream.

The Story Behind ‘Summer Saturdays’

This poem references Song of Solomon in a more indirect way. The theme of a walled garden recurs through the text. Here is one example.

A walled garden is a really interesting metaphor for a marriage. In some ways, it’s a  really comparison. A walled garden has protection from the wind and generally is warmer by a few centigrade than the average garden. This means that you are able to grow a wider variety of more exotic plants than you can anywhere else.

However, because of the cost involved, walled gardens are also a mark of privilege. In our time and place, the best opportunity to go and see a really good example of a walled garden is to get down to a National Trust house. Which is where the link comes in between the poem and theme. (The picture in the video is taken from Godolphin House, a National Trust property in Cornwall with a lovely walled garden)

Of all the audio versions which I made with Anatomy, this is the one I am most pleased with. Most of the sound effects are taken from sound effect collections, but the birds singing in the middle are genuine National Trust.

One Week Left On Goodreads Giveaway

Quick reminder. I still have one week remaining on my goodreads giveaway for Anatomy, which you can look at by following the link here.

If you enter today, you still have just over a 5% chance of winning a free copy. That’s not as big a chance as Manchester City winning at the weekend, but still better than the National Lottery.

Concrete Foundations

dishcloth to bubbles
brush to dustpan
letter to postbox
cement to breezeblock
quarter to eleven

soap to hands
ear to receiver
kiss to cheek
pen to page
plaster to wound

“The great thing is to direct the malice to his immediate neighbours whom he meets every day and to thrust his benevolence out to the remote circumference, to people he does not know.”

CS Lewis from The Screwtape Letters

The Story Behind ‘Tuning Fork’

Tuning Fork was the last of the poems in the collection to be completed. It’s also set after most of the other poems too.

I had in my mind a thought by an author called Mary Doria Russell in her haunting sci-fi book The Sparrow. You can read the full quote here, but the key point is when one of the female characters says, “Lemme tell ya something, sweetface. I have been married at least four times, to four different men.” even though she has been married to the same person all her life.

The point is that people change in marriage and if, like I’m trying to say in Anatomy, married identity is something which is forged between a husband and wife, the act of marriage changes identity. With a couple like the one presented in the poems, when a husband deliberately tries to alter their character, in this case by trying to construct a non-hierarchical masculinity, that still has a knock on effect into the identity of the wife. In trying to be something which may well in the end benefit her, he has created a tension as identity changes. It comes back to the wife again to choose to change with the husband or lose something of their marriage.

I hope that the last lines are seen more as an active choice than a passive acceptance. When I read this poem, there is a double meaning in the last 2 lines. On the one hand, it’s telling the story of the wife but it is also saying something personal about how I see faith. Being a person of faith requires a person to retune towards a different instrument, you lose that sense of being in tune with the world around you, but it is faith that leads you to believe such a choice is a good one.