We are in constant negotiations, he and I
he is the one that struts about
dealing with the world in his way
he takes his energy from me
and some of his ideas
and I can cut him off at any time
although it would be suicidal to do so
he is the doer and I am the dreamer
he thinks I am naive, out of touch
and I think he is a blockhead
all brawn and no brains

and there is, alas, another “I”
a darker, shadowy figure
draining energy from both of us
or replenishing it
whose features are clear in dreams if not in daylight
and sometimes even in dreams a presence only
a deceiver
who comes to us in all guises
whose power can be overwhelming
to call him an “I” would be setting limits
on a limitless creature
who ranges across land and sea like a dragon
and under the sea
who is formless and always changing
and has form too
miraculously human or bird-like
sometimes clothed and adorned
a He and sometimes a She

a camel-headed serpent of cobalt
struggling to free itself
from the Ming ceramic
quintessentially white
a carpet of thyme
a forest of kelp
in the silence of the deep

we live in the margins of this Other
(my active self and I)
fearing the chaos which is its element, a kind of ocean
and the beauty and naturalness that is also its element

we are at the seashore
facing the turmoil of the waves
there is a coolness in the air
and a risk we are called upon to take

 

Stuart Dodds

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