I wrote my first poem when I was eighteen. My education up until to then had been appalling. This was the 1970’s and the British education system was very, very far from its best. The writing of my first poem was in response to a deep questioning about what life was all about. Why was there something rather than nothing? Why could that something get so easily taken away? What is the abyss that surrounds the flickering light of existence?
It was an amazing time when I look back. I felt my existing so intensely. It was painful, fearful and yet somehow hopeful. Forty years on and I’m not sure I experience life with the same intensity. Life feels comfortable, like a favourite cardigan or a well-worn pair of slippers. It’s just as scary though.
Throughout the past forty years I have read everything from the Existentialists to Taoism, from Teilhard de Chardin to Henri Bergson and so much more. I have found suggested answers to everything. I have also, quite recently, began to realise that most of us are looking in the wrong direction. We need to look into life not under it. We need to watch life as it lives and not lift the bonnet to see what the engine is doing.
We need, most of all, to develop a poetic point of view.
I’m not suggesting we all go around composing poetry. What I am suggesting is the we practice looking at the world the same way a poet does: with deep, attached love. Not possessive love, not controlling love but with the love a mother and father has for their children, or with the love of a secret lover, or with the love of someone who is happy to be a part of something far bigger than themselves.
I am lucky that somewhere along the line I was given, or found, a poetic spirit. It hasn’t made me a fortune but it has enabled me to see the magic that is deep within everything. Living is making poetry. The sea comes in, goes out, comes in… The sky moves, the stars continue to invite us to dream and dream we must. But our dreams must not become dreams of darkness. If they do we will lose sight of the light, we will lose sight of the miracle of life, we will lose sight of our own uniqueness.
My poems and thoughts are fragments of my experience. They are the bones of a flesh that was once present to me. My poems are written by a man in love. Their quality is not in the competence of the sentences or in my choice of words, but in what the words are pointing to. An experience is an event to which many elements are invited. No experience has just one cause. An experience is an orchestra of causes. A poem is a symphony or maybe, in my case, a bagatelle.