Archive for February, 2011

First I Dreamt the Journey – Part 6 – People

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

As I allow the light reflecting from the beacons to illuminate further recesses in the cave I discover memories of people whose images flicker in the light.

People pass through our lives, sometimes fleetingly, sometimes staying for a while, sometimes remaining a part of the structure of our lives. And they always leave a marker, if we care enough to consider the lesson they have taught us in their passing. Take the time, the lesson is often better understood upon reflection.

I consider a seemingly chance meeting, on a station platform, with a man to whom I owed a debt of gratitude. That meeting allowed not only the expression of that gratitude, but the opportunity to reflect on how our individual histories collided, and how that collision made a difference. I have never seen him since.

A woman who passed through my life at a time when a particular interest had entranced me. That interest touched something off in her. We explored it together, we became excited by it together and her enthusiasm carried me forward. Then she disappeared. I know not why, but for that period she was necessary for my development, and therefore will always occupy a warm place in my heart.

Nor is it a requirement that I have met the people personally. There is a couple whose generosity of spirit, reflected through a friend of mine, touches my own life. I am grateful to them.

The impact of these people and our memories of them can last long after their passing from this life. I recall, and often revisit, the memory of sitting at the bottom of my father’s grave, some 25 years after his death, and him coming, in person, to talk with me. That memory can sustain me to this day.”

“But I would not like to mislead you into thinking that it is only the people who have been good to us from whom we can learn. Often it is the people whose appearance in our life coincided with pain from whom we can learn the most. Yet this is a harder question to ask. For the question often needed is – What is it about me which allowed that person to affect me in that way?

Without the answer to that question we will carry on repeating the same mistakes.

Until I recognized, in me, my need to be seen as the knight on the white charger, I continued to get involved with the same sort of people.

So allow the light to guide your reflections. Take your courage in both hands and revisit your past. Be prepared to ask the hard questions because the answers will guide your future.

As always  –  if you prefer the spoken word  –



A Snowy Day in Leeds

Posted in Poetry on February 23, 2011 by belfastdavid

that sound
is deadened
by my hood

I sense
the presence
growling up

Backward glance,
a black Range Rover.

I anticipate
but can’t avoid
the freezing splash
of muddy slush.




Posted in Poetry with tags on February 18, 2011 by belfastdavid

The world is ever changing
but some things remain the same,
are unaffected by the passage
of either tide or time.

We live on in memory
of those whose lives we’ve touched
and sometimes, when we need it,
they tell us what that means.

I cannot ask, request, demand
what memory you hold.
I can but live my life today
and hope that it’s worthwhile.

And, better still, remember
those who live on in me
and not forget to take the time
to thank those memories.

First I Dreamt the Journey – Part 5 – Hope

Posted in First I Dreamt the Journey with tags , , on February 16, 2011 by belfastdavid

Stored too in the cave are the moments of memory that define who I am. Moments apart from the layers of doubt and uncertainty which can surround me. Moments which are my essence and which stand apart from transitory external circumstances which create the illusion of a different truth.

I do well to store these moments, not in the deepest recesses of the cave, but in a place where they can catch the light, where the light can reflect off them and brighten the dullest days.

This light which, coming from the past, provides the beacon to guide me forward. A beacon lighting up the dream needed to draw me on, giving me direction and guidance, providing the measure which guides every day.

These moments of memory form part of the hope without which the dream would always be unavailable: they are the fleeting images of a different future. But these moments allow me to define a future, a future which, for today, may form only part of my dreams.

We all have our own memories of this sort. In my cave they include,

The morning after the night when I had retired to bed devoid of hope, fully believing that I could not go forward. And yet I woke up totally at peace with the world. I thought I had done nothing, but in fact I had surrendered.

The moment when, having thought I could get away with something, that nobody would know, I realised that I would know and I went back and corrected it.

A lady who was in this world for far too short a time but whose legacy to me is a knowledge that I cannot forget, that I’d not know had we not met. The knowledge that I was capable of loving and being loved in return.

A moment too, one specific moment of forgiveness which reached deep inside my soul, took a harbored, secret cache of guilt, exorcised it and left me free to grow.

We are all possessors of these moments. They may come in many different forms: an unexpected hug, a word of kindness, a word of gratitude. Moments when we have been touched or have touched others. As you search the cave, as you clear the debris, you will find them. Bring them out into the light, they will provide the means to take you forward.


 As always  –  if you prefer to listen rather than read   –


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

Seventy miles from the sea
in any direction,
yet I can hear
the seagulls.

There are no such things as seagulls
the man once said.
There are
black-headed gulls,
Mediterranean gulls,
yellow-legged gulls,
herring gulls,
little gulls,
lesser and greater black-backed gulls,
glaucous gulls,
Iceland gulls,
common gulls,
and Sabine’s gulls.
There are no such things as seagulls.

Seventy miles from the sea
in any direction,
And I can hear
herring gulls.

The Riddle of Your Rocks

Posted in Poetry with tags on February 9, 2011 by belfastdavid

Rugged up against the rawness of the wind
on rocky screes above the tree-line where
Slieve Donard reaches down to rampant waves,
I can relax. I know that I am home

wrapped up within the riddle of your rocks,
my ears attuned to rhythms of the Earth
I stroll again the strands of northern shores,
that seamless join of dunes and sand and sea.

With long deep breaths inhale the spray of surf,
speak softly, though not likely to be heard
except perhaps by seagulls soaring free.
You seduce me with shimmer from your sands,

coil me in the caresses of your curves,
cocoon me in cathedrals of your caves.

Some Days

Posted in Poetry on February 6, 2011 by belfastdavid

Out of bed
two mugs of tea
two cigarettes
morning tablets
have a bath
wash my hair
then shave
what to wear
get dressed.

Tired now
best sit down
have a rest.