Worlds in Collision

David and Gill
I dreamed I tried to get you on the phone
Frustratingly, and typically of dreams,
And waking, I forgot I was alone;
An image briefly flickers by and gleams
Evanescent in the morning light;
Remembrance of reality returns
For though I have pursued you through the night
When morning comes my daytime self relearns
And I recall how you were ill and died,
Were buried, and four months have followed since,
Thus shockingly do dreams and truth collide
And when I wake I say ‘Goodnight, sweet prince.’

November 1990

Oneiric life

Recurringly, I dream of babies

The word for which they say there is no rhyme

Sometimes unborn, sometimes newborn

My dreams remove me from the present place and time.

And in my dreams I’m often pregnant

I do not doubt no rhyme for this exists

Like Sarah, I waxed old, I find on waking

But still in sleep fecundity persists.

And frequently I dream of danger

Of assassins but, evading every threat,

I slip right past the barrel of the pistol

No predator can catch me in his net.

I dream of meals I don’t consume

And coitus interrupted by my waking

In dreams of food and sex

One does not taste the flavour of partaking.

Occasionally I dream I’m dead

This also lacks a proper consummation

As I still see and hear and feel

Excluded though I am from conversation.

The cause of dreams is in our lives

Read your life in consultation with your dreams

With Freud and Jung kept close at hand

To guarantee not much is as it seems.



Dreamed of boy from primary school, last seen forty years ago,

Haven’t thought of him till now, why the dream I just don’t know.

Never liked him very much, bit of a bully, rather rough,

Vicar’s son, red hair and freckles; boy soprano, solo stuff.

Headmaster’s favourite for the singing; gifted youngster, that was plain,

‘Holy, holy’ in the choir – in the classroom more profane.

Crystal voice and Hackney Sanctus: maybe teacher’s pious whim

That juniors in Northwold Road should hear Isaiah’s seraphim.

Why this uninvited dream, reviving unexpected ghosts,

Rough and ready red-haired boys and ‘Holy, holy, Lord of Hosts’?


Mrs Darling is King Lear


Becoming a parent, he forsook being a son.
As a father, he had a son; could not himself be one;
How truly Barrie showed the children’s flight
Out of the window into Peter Pan’s night,
The Neverland whose meaning is forever
Never, never, never, never, never,
And that is the song of a father, King Lear,
Who is the parent you behold here.

I too had a father; stardust he is now;
Peter Pan sprinkles stardust, the children learn how
To fly out of the home; they give Nana the slip
And dwell in the shadow of Captain Hook’s ship.
Yet he was a father too, Abu Hook,
The mother he yearned for would soon overlook
James her son and send him to Eton
Where pirates are made, hard of heart, weather-beaten.

Now my names are Mother, Granny, also King Lear;
The children took flight but in truth they are near
For which I thank God, my other father.
He too is stardust although somewhat farther.
He enables me, Lear, to make flights of my own:
Ryanair, EasyJet, I am Tinkerbell’s clone.
By hook or by crook we must become both old and young;
Peter Pan ‘will never see so much nor live so long.’

GGL November 2012

Winter Solstice

The winter solstice comes again,
Darkest day of this dark year,
The sun sets brightly and night falls
Although the day is in its prime;
And will there be a healing time?
Within the dark oblivion calls
And hardly seems a thing to fear
But rather something to attain,
So wretched does the world appear,
How little of it now enthralls
With rulers compromised by crime,
The very air a hostile clime
And natural chaos still appalls;
But when the year turns, might this clear?
Will spring revive the heartbeat then,
Bring hope to those now in despair
And sustenance to hungry souls,
Transform the wretched to sublime,
The formless to the paradigm,
Turn us again towards our goals,
Water and earth to fire and air
And dust and ashes back to men?

GGL December 1990