To begin with, a prayer or invocation.
Let this writing fall onto the page like a leaf, gentle in autumn or as blossom shed with wild abandon in spring, like wind- blown seed, scattered in summer or like a drift of snowflakes in winter, let it drift and settle freely where it will. Let it settle quietly; simple markings, like birds feet on tidal sand.
I’m a 49 year old man, Partner to Tia and Father to Hazel and Matt. I live in Somerset. I am a gardener, a walker, a thinker and sometimes in the world, a facilitator, coach, teacher. I act as a companion and friendly ear to business executives from all around the world. Business isn’t really my specialty but i have dedicated my entire professional career to working with people, often people struggling with difficult human challenges and this has proved as useful in the business world as it did in my first career in the fields of addiction and criminal justice.
I love education and love to work with developing leaders from all walks of life. When i think of what education means to me i am drawn to the words of St Thomas Aquinas;
‘Teaching is a process that goes on between living men. The teacher looks not only at the truth of things; at the same time he looks at the faces of living men who desire to know this truth. Love of truth and love of men – only the two together constitute a teacher.’
This feels right to me and it orientates the way in which i seek to create spaces for learning
I love to think and I love to write, prose, but especially poetry. I love to grow things. I love gardening, walking, working outdoors.I love the wilderness- out there and in me. I value silence, appreciate stillness, love to dance, love paradox, live with my contradictions.
I am not a religious man but i do value the principle of faithfulness and i ask questions.For me faithfulness has a root strength that belief lacks. Belief seems to be something that one clings to where faith actually requires a letting go, a surrender. I feel a tremendous rush of grace sometimes when i have a sense of faith with the world. Its something i hope to explore from time to time in this blog space.
I wonder what poets are for in destitute times. The question was posed by Martin Heidegger in 1946 in response to Frederich Holderlin’s elegy Bread and Wine. Its a question that has vexed me, challenged me and provoked my thinking and my work since I first came across it several years ago. I think Heidegger’s question provides another central organizing principle for this blog. The blog itself is an inquiry into several things including the issue of faith; I wonder about the work and purpose of poetry for guidance and understanding as well as the place for the poet and the poetic mind in our current culture. It is an inquiry too into the human experience of destitution, private and collective and the possibility of redemption as offering a complementary dualism to the destitute state.
Heidegger said the poets work must be to help us to grasp the reality of our actual destitution in an alien world that has been abandoned by the gods. We live in a kind of limbo, he suggests, too late for the gods and too soon for being, meaning the capacity for a cosmic and harmonious experience of presence or order in the world. We might imagine he might be pointing to something like the Taoist sense of participation in ‘the way’.
John Moriarty offered an alternative view; that poets are healers who, being healed themselves, might help to heal us all culturally in the visions, myths and rituals we live. Moriarty calls for a re-enchantment of the world which at the same time represents a radical act of disillusioning, a painful emergence, he would say, from the anesthetic of our cut off, modern ways of living in the world that do indeed seem to have left so many of us privately destitute. What might it mean to disillusion oneself, to look at the world through different eyes and could that offer us something redemptive?
W.B Yeats once said, ‘there is another world, and it is this one’. Perhaps the sense of destitution or disillusion tells us more about the problem with our current way of seeing than it does about the deeper condition of the world and our place in it. My hope is that this inquiry will provide space to ponder on these things creatively for a while.