Archive for January, 2011

First I Dreamt the Journey – Part 3 – Cave of Truth

Posted in First I Dreamt the Journey with tags , , on January 25, 2011 by belfastdavid

Once a year, for a period of one month we would leave our house and travel to the coast. We would stay for that month in a cottage which had once belonged to a fisherman.

It was a place where the only thing which separated the cottage from the beach was a strip of concrete. A place such that shoes and socks were discarded at the start of the month, to be retrieved again at the month’s end.

A place where sand and sea and rocks and seaweed and pools and green fields were enough to fill a child’s imagination. A place too where lobsters were taken straight from the sea and put into the pan.

And in that place, off to the left as one looked out from the cottage, the cliffs reached right down into the sea. Invisible at high tide was a cave whose entrance and dark recesses were accessible when the tide was low.

Many days I stood outside that cave – looking into the darkness but unable to venture in – held back by some unidentifiable fear. Yet some deep part of me knew that sooner or later I must cross that threshold and venture inside; take a torch and risk the uneven floor, look into the dark corners, the hidden recesses, the nooks and the crannies which existed therein.

Oh, I could exist, I could live my life, I could be, without taking that risk, but I knew there would be something lacking, something missing from my life if I did not take it.

Eventually I began to explore, first of all in those areas which were reached by daylight, then in those areas accessible using the light of a match and, at last, carrying a torch from the cottage, I was able to reach the innermost parts. And although there were shapes which frightened, strange structures and creatures in rocky pools, the only monsters in the cave were those created in my own mind.

I carry that cave with me to this day. It exists within myself. A cave of truth into which I must venture from time to time in order to expose my monsters to the light.

I have found it necessary too that I escort trusted friends into the cave with me. Only then can I be sure that I have not ignored a hidden place which I need to see. And as they explore my cave of truth with me, I invariably find that I am also exploring their cave of truth with them.


 For those of you who prefer the spoken word   –


First I Dreamt the Journey – Part 2 – Magic Moments

Posted in First I Dreamt the Journey with tags , , on January 18, 2011 by belfastdavid

Once upon a time” the old man began, “when the world appeared a simpler place, I grew up in a house which was as far as it was possible to be from the town and yet still be regarded as being in the town.

A place where the sound of cattle and sheep and geese was the norm, where the smell of the farmyard was ever present; where the rooster crowing at dawn was part of every day and where dogs were working animals, rather more than pets.

It was a time when people still kept ferrets and hunted for rabbits, when children played out rather than in, when television was yet to be invented and when the greatest friend for every child was their own imagination.

And yet it was a world too where danger existed. Traveling downhill on a home made go-cart, thrilled by the speed and then losing control, heading straight for a barbed wire fence. Then, and who knows how, an intervention which caused the bottom strand of wire to catch my knee, flick upwards, and cling for an instant to the strand above whilst my head passed underneath. The difference between life and death.

Those moments exist in all our lives, moments which in their passing seem to leave everything as it was before. But the reality is that in that split second everything changes – one potential future denied, another occurring.

So often we do not notice their occurrence; we let them pass by without paying attention. But it is those moments which define our life’s passage.

We would do well to reflect, to consider those moments, to consider their impact on our lives, to capture their essence, to become aware of the split seconds in time which changed our lives for ever”

For those who prefer the spoken word   –


Posted in Poetry with tags , , , on January 15, 2011 by belfastdavid

I hate this fucking illness.
I hate it with a passion.

Why must it
be so random
in the way
it picks the lives
which it chooses
to destroy?

But other illness
does that too.
This one’s such
a fucking bully,
that’s what
I really hate.

Why must it pick
out those –
squash their potential,
waste their lives
and kill them young?

Why can’t it kill
the bastards too?
I suppose I know it must.
but every now and then,
what occurs to me
is that its them
– the bastards –
who survive.

Perhaps that is
the reason
that its me
who’s still alive!



I am posting this today on an anniversary of my own sobriety just as a reminder to myself.

First I Dreamt the Journey – Part 1 – The Old Man

Posted in First I Dreamt the Journey with tags , on January 11, 2011 by belfastdavid

It is good to know,” said the old man as he stood on the hill top looking out over the valley to the mountains beyond, “that all this belongs to us.” His younger companion had become used to statements like this. He knew them to be completely untrue because the old man appeared to own little more than the clothes he stood up in. Notwithstanding that, he had about him an aura of contentment which was both admirable and enviable.

The young man, although having an outward appearance of success, was troubled; he desperately wanted to achieve inner peace. Surely, he felt, associating himself with the old man would cause that aura to rub off. Therefore he was moved to seek out the old man’s company.

They walked this particular route often, from the old man’s cottage, tucked away at the end of the lane, up through the woods and out onto the ridge.
Sometimes they stopped there on the bench looking back over the village to the city in the distance. On clear days they could see as far as the airport on the opposite hill and, although the sound rarely carried, there was something strangely relaxing about watching the planes come and go. More often, like today, they walked on along the ridge to the place where they currently sat, sheltered from the breeze by the cairn at their backs, and looking up the valley which marked the path of the river, to the place where the sun would eventually set.

On these occasions the young man was content to let the old man talk. He did not really understand why that was so. In the rest of his life he was pushy, opinionated, forward, extrovert – never short of something to say. But in the old man’s company he was prepared to listen. Even if the stories were sometimes repetitive and even if, on occasion, they appeared to be contradictory.

“Today,” the old man said, “I want to tell you a story, and because it is just that, a story you will be able to listen differently.” The young man was intrigued; excited even. This was a change from their normal conversations. He settled himself comfortably, took a few deep breaths and felt himself begin to relax. He felt able to put aside those parts of his conscious mind which interpret and analyse and reject. He was comfortable, he felt in a safe place. He allowed his mind to float free.

“Allow my voice to take you on a journey,” said the old man and as he continued with those magic words “Once upon a time” the young man felt parts of himself, grateful to be free, drift away, drift back down the ridge to the bench and tuck themselves away in a hollow. He knew they would be safe there. He knew he could pick them up when he walked back down to the village.


 For those of you who prefer the spoken word  – 


First I Dreamt the Journey – Introduction

Posted in First I Dreamt the Journey with tags , , , , on January 7, 2011 by belfastdavid


“First I Dreamt the Journey is a meditative reflection on the path to self-knowledge, cast within a narrative that sets an old man as teacher to a young man. Written in the form of a prose poem, it borrows from the tradition of Platonic dialogue but is set firmly in contemporary times with references to planes and oil-slicked beaches. A nameless old man sits at the top of a beautiful valley and passes on his learnings about the world to a young man who craves more from life. The history is personal – the old man’s journey has been the route into and back from alcoholism – but many of the conclusions are universal. This is self-help presented as an atmospheric, meditative and engaging narrative, an incitement to take charge of your life, to arrive, like the old man on his coast of Donegal, at your own place of contentment and freedom.” – Kath Powlesland.

First I Dreamt the Journey is my second book – It was published in 2008 and is the book I always wanted to write.

First I Dreamt the Journey – is devoted entirely to the process of getting well. This book is not poetry, rather poetic prose – a book length prose poem if you like. It is written as a series of guided visualisations which all help with the process of recovery. If the reader is prepared to take the time and do the visualisations they will find themselves able to better experience their own journey.

The book is intended to be read in sections with the reader taking time in between sections to reflect. That being the case I propose to serialise it here over the course of a period of months.

I hope that those of you who are new to it will enjoy the process.
I hope also that those of you who have read it before will enjoy the process of reading it again on here.

If you are encouraged to purchase the book I would be delighted – click on Books under Pages on my Home page.

Part 1 will be posted in the next few days.


Tell me the Story

Posted in Poetry with tags on January 3, 2011 by belfastdavid

This poem came about as part of the process of me deciding to get a Television – having not had one for at least the last ten years.


Tell me the Story

In these days of sound bites
edited highlights
and instant gratification
I find myself
less than satisfied.
I want the narrative,
tell me the story.

I am fed up with news
as reported in the media;
they catastrophise, awfullise,
express deepest of concerns
but by tomorrow will move on.
I want the narrative,
tell me the story.

I do not want to see
just the goals. I want
to see the match develop,
the feuds, the clever plays,
the part each player has.
I want the narrative,
tell me the story.

I do not want to hear
about who did what to whom
and what she said
or he replied.
It’s all just tittle tattle.
I want the narrative,
tell me the story.

When we make love
the joy is in the journey;
the climax becomes
almost incidental,
well perhaps some more than that.
I want the narrative,
tell me the story.