Saturday, 31 January 2009

The Interpretation of Dreams



Judge then of thine Own Self: they eternal Lineaments explore,
What is Eternal and what Changeable, & what Annihilable.
The Imagination is not a State: it is the Human Existence itself.


William Blake






I heard a joke the other day. I must have heard it before, come to think of it. “Why do swallows fly south in winter?” Answer: “because it's too far to walk.” A friend emailed me the other day and asked if the winter was getting me down. No, I replied. On reflection, the answer's still no: but it seems to have knocked any imagination I might have for six. If you live in the country -as we do- then most of the things around you seem to exist in a dormant state and, I must say, I feel a bit that way myself. I feel about as likely to write a poem as the tree at the end of the garden looks likely to sprout a leaf. In other words, very unlikely: but not impossibly so.

I'm having a “mad ig” at the moment. A mad ig is a wonderful West Yorkshire expression for a brief, frenzied obsession: it may be with something as obvious as cleaning up or in this case (as readers of my previous post may have already guessed) with the music of Stockhausen. I took the above quote from Jonathan Cott's Stockhausen: Conversations with the Composer. I was reading it in bed last night. In it, they discuss dreams and how they can be like “master keys” to life's problems and clarify situations. It's interesting how just reading about dreams before you go to sleep can trigger interesting ones.

I dreamt I was at school, in a domestic science class. We'd just been given some instructions. The class was a bit noisy and the teacher, soft-spoken. I was near the back and could not hear what it was I was supposed to do. As everyone got up to go through to the next room to do whatever it was, I felt terrified. I had no idea what was going on. This is a dream I don't want to forget, although I probably will, next time I'm in a hurry to explain something: for a moment I knew what it felt like to be a pupil, as opposed to a teacher. I felt how frightening and humiliating it is when you're a child not to be able to do what an adult -not to mention your own self-respect- expects of you.

I also dreamt I met an organised-looking group of people close to the top of the Old Man of Coniston. They were busy shovelling sods of earth into a mound around the cairn, trying to make it higher. I'm still trying to work that one out.

The Solitary Walker has just treated his visitors to a photo of his breakfast –“a heart attack on a plate” as he put it- so here's a photo of mine: porridge (well, jumbo oat sludge) with chopped banana and honey. I was going to call it “a marathon in a bowl”, but the dollop of honey lets it down a bit.



12 comments:

BarbaraS said...

So, these make great material for poems! And you say you're having a dormant period? I think not! I'd be very pleased with dreams like that :)

jinksy said...

Bit hard to see past the banana - now there's a title for a poem...

jinksy said...

...Bit hard to see past the banana
to oatmeal sludge below,
but good to know this breakfst
should help you get up and go!

N.B. Never mention the word poem in my hearing, it can have a disasterous effect...

jinksy said...

Especially on my typing and spelling...

Frances said...

You're very right. It is so hard to remember what it felt like to be a child in a domestic science class. But I wonder if today's children feel as disempowered as we did. Some of them perhaps but most seem to be brimful of confidence.

Dominic Rivron said...

Barbara: Hm. You may be right: the Coniston one has possibilities. Thanks for the encouragement!

Jinksy: It certainly does make you get up and go. (I heard somewhere that in the era of Culloden soldiers lived on a diet of oats stirred up in butter. Living on that all the time and sleeping in the open wrapped up in a blanket sounds like a pretty miserable existence).

Frances: I'm not sure. I visit a lot of schools in the course of my working week and, from what I see, young people seem to be very much like they always were, which is reassuring! And I think it can be the case that the more brimful of confidence you want to appear, the more anxious you can be underneath.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Dreams? Oh! How I dream of them! Yes the insomnia is back with a vengence and thanks to you Dominic the long night was more terrifying than usual- yes you guessed it I listened to Mr Shock Hausen. At least sort of subliminally i did as I was wearing headphones and blogging at the time so i wasn't totally listening but I think it went in deeper and more disturbingly than if i had been using my pea brain to concentrate on it. It reminded me, Ithink,of madness and I don't mean that in a glib way(for a change).I am however still curious and will return to it again -when I regain the courage! Thanks for the introduction, I think!

Dominic Rivron said...

TFE: Pleased to hear Karlheinz made an impression!

I too listened through headphones - in the dark. It was, I thought, like floating in the upper atmosphere at night picking up fragments of international radio traffic in the form of national anthems. You could do worse than have a go at Gesang der Junglinge, or Kontakte (version with piano and percussion). I personally find them more exciting, and I suspect they're easier to get hold of (there are CDs of them on Amazon).

Totalfeckineejit said...

Thanks , I will do that Dominic.It's a bit like peeping over the sofa at a horror film , terrified but irresistably drawn.There is something in his music and I'm not sure wot it is, but isn't that waht life is all about-figuring the unknown? (Fragments of international radio traffic? Now there's a concept!)

Poet in Residence said...

In winter I eat hot porridge for breakfast too, mixed with honey, banana, apple. I think it's a great start to the day. Energy base for the run.
Today managed 12 kms in snow! It's a 100% record for Feb, 2 days/2 runs.
Dreams? Once I had a dream where I saw Harry Secombe. The next day his mugshot was in the paper, he was advertising orange juice.
I have 'premonition' dreams qzuite often - but they are always about some useless trivia.
Graham Green kept a dream diary. A World of My Own, it's called. I'll do a write-up about it when I have time.

Rachel Fox said...

Frances...I think 'seem' is the key word there.
x

Dominic Rivron said...

TFE: "There is something in his music and I'm not sure wot it is". I think I know what you mean. I remember feeling exactly that, and that feeling kept me listening.(It's uncanny how music can convey such subtle nuances).

PiR: I can't say I've ever had a premonition dream. As for running, 12 km in the snow sounds fun. I've been following a program I found on the net for a while now. I'm currently in Week 12 of the "build up" program. It's a rest week, so the runs aren't very long. A shovelful of oats a day certainly seems to make it easier.