I’m re-posting this poem given that Seamus’ died a couple of weeks back (apparently). I remember this Mid-Term Break poem knocking the the wind out of me quite literally when I first read it in English class all those years back:
‘Wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple,
He lay in the four foot box as in his cot.
No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear.
A four foot box, a foot for every year.’
So I rewrote it as well, just a few small changes. It’s probably not finished, might never be. I’m no Seamus Heaney, but that’s ok too. The poem is about a time I was working in the hospital as a Social Worker and met a man who had a terminal diagnosis of Motor Neuron Disease. There was a real reluctance to tell him the truth about his diagnosis and also a perception that he had to be left with some hope. This whole event got me thinking about how we are all moving forward in hopeful anticipation of something better then what is but we somehow never arrive and it had me wondering if there wasn’t a gift in the heart of hopelessness that could somehow set us free.
I sat with him daily.
He shared memories of
working land with horse and plough.
His hands trembled but it wasn’t hard
to imagine them guiding the coulter
in a furrow he’d get lost in.
I left a copy of Heaney’s poem on his bedside locker,
another memory of turning ground. Later he thanked
me and told me he liked it,
told me he had started falling over,
again and again until he had landed here
confused, on crisp white linen
while they scurried round him doing
Things like take his temperature.
He couldn’t see them dance around
his diagnosis, always waiting for some results.
One morning, I was told he’d cried
all night after the doctor finally told him.
Oh he’d have no hand in harrowing,
so back again to leave him with a gentle lie:
‘There’s always hope.’
But Tilth is not concerned with closing broken ground.
So I sat with him for the last few days
and the feeling sat with me,
that hopes a thief when we feel tightly bound
in he that hears the sweet soft dying sound.
This kind of sums up what I was trying to say.
I enjoyed the Dreambus Live conference in Kings College in London immensely ( www.dreambuslive.com ). Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it to the second day. There was a real buzz around the event I felt and conversations sparked up so easily and freely all over the place. I heard one of the staff members say she’d never seen a group of people at a conference so enthralled by the topic.
Someone made a comment about there being an elephant in the room in relation to the contrast in approaches between two of the speakers and I’d like to make a few observations about that. The dramatic difference in communications under the heading of ‘Non duality’ was evidenced clearly in the contrast between Tim Frekes talk and Tony Parsons (the Open Secret message). Fundamentally there are two different communications- one that speaks to the individual and offers them something and one that offers nothing whatsoever to the individual and clearly points out that the individual is only apparently real. The world is full to the brim of the former and the latter is still quite rare (I don’t mean rare in some kind of special way). Energetically I feel Tim’s to be contracted and self indulgent whilst the Open Secret communication is boundless and free. The apparent individual will experience these communications in many different ways. Some are attracted to what Tim is communicating and others resonate with the Open Secret message. That’s what appears to happen.
It is absolutely not about one communication being right and the other being wrong. There is no right or wrong. However, it is as clear a contrast in the two communications that you will see in the same room. One of them is within the wheel of individuality, it feeds the story of ‘me’ and is of no real threat to the apparent individual. The other is unknowable and boundless, it comes from nothing and belongs to no-one. It see’s you are nothing other then already whole and complete and is therefor frequently threatening and confronting to the apparent individual as it does not feed into that energy. If you are in actuality searching for your own absence, which is what is already, just this, then of course the energy that feels contracted and separate to a world that’s outside of it will find a clear and uncompromising message about what it is that you are really looking for to be far from safe and hopeful. Perhaps such a communication would be hopeless in nature? for if this is really it, this is already what you’ve always looked for, then why would there be any hope for something better? Hope is the energy of the apparent individual moving towards something better in the future.
It was obvious that one of the suggestions or communications does not need to be argued or embellished whilst the other was misrepresenting and colliding against this uncompromising message like a politician trying to affirm and strengthen his position by pitting himself against the opposition. It becomes almost comical when there is clearly no opposition to bounce off and the communication starts to put words in the mouth of an apparent opponent. Someone made the point that there is clearly two different camps. The interesting thing is that there is no- one in one of them! hence there is no argument or opposition only in the mind of one who feels him or herself to be in the opposite camp.
These are just some observations, obviously none of it is of any significance or meaning whatsoever. It doesn’t matter which of them stuck a chord or didn’t in the end. It was certainly a very friendly and fun bunch of people I encountered on Saturday and there was a lot of laughter, which is nice. Thanks to Boris and Charles for running the event and asking me over to speak. It was an absolute delight, a really really well run event and I would highly recommend jumping on the dreambus next time round! (or investigating how it is that there’s no bus to jump off- which ever you like)
I delighted to have a slot at the Who’s Driving The Dreambus Live in Kings College London on the 31st of August/ 1st September. Check it out if you’re interested.
Life in Free fall website should be up in another week or so.