Sunday, 7 March 2021

Financial Consultant

 Yesterday, I heard a programme on radio advising the exploration of our own areas, with the aid of an old "six inch" map showing the old buildings and features, so it was no wonder that in my sleep I should find myself walking around Georgian Dublin observing all that was to be seen.

I entered a lovely Georgian street and noticed a grand building behind a fancy courtyard. I entered the building and found myself in a room that was a cross between a hotel foyer and a grand bank of the 19th century. There were comfortable seats all around the large room, shelves of books here and there, and more books disposed randomly around. 

"A reading room!" I guessed.

I sat down in a comfortable chair and took up a magazine from the nearby coffee table. The pages in the magazine were of a thick semi-glossy paper, so I surmised the magazine was one to be kept rather than read and thrown away. It was entitled "The Works of John Bonham." Now the wine I had with my dinner yesterday was labelled "Bonpas," (Cote du Rhone) so I guess this is where the name "Bonham" came from.

I had never heard of John Bonham, so hoped that glancing through the magazine would give me an idea of what his works were like. However, when I opened the magazine, I found a typed page pinned onto the magazine page. The typed page seemed to be a contract that John Bonham had signed with the Department of Arts and Culture. However, a lot of the typed content had been struck out, and different conditions, written in ink, written in instead.

I turned from page to page in the magazine, but all I could find was more and more one-page contracts signed by John Bonham.

"Ah," I said to myself, "It looks like the civil servant dealing with Bonham was given the task of signing up Bonham at all costs, no matter what changes had to be made to the contract to get him to sign."

A well-fed, prosperous-looking man came in the front door of the reading room, passed across the room into an inner room, calling "Mr Brown" as he entered. With that one of the gentlemen sitting in the  room got up and followed the prosperous man into the other room.

"Ah," I said to myself, "This is obviously a waiting room for a highly-paid medical consultant."

I no longer felt comfortable lounging there, so I put the magazine back on the table and made my way to the door. 

Two other gentlemen reached the door at the same time. I soon learned that their surnames were Harrington and Moody.

"So," said Harrington to me, "This is not for you?"

"No!" I replied dubiously.

"But, no doubt," said he, "You have some savings?"

"Well," I said, "You would hardly have reached my age without some little bit of cash in the bank."

"Perhaps you have a few thousand or so," he said.

"Maybe so and maybe not," I said, as I moved away from him.

As I left, I saw Moody advising Harrington. He brushed a bit of dust or debris from his shoulder and, apparently, advised him always to wear a clean shirt and keep his tie straight. Then he advised him to say to himself, "I'm the best; I'm the best;" then put a smile on his face and approach the next potential client with confidence.

"So," I thought, "It was not a medical practice. It was a stock-broker's or financial adviser's."

Harrington was there to pick up customers disillusioned with the firm. He saw me considering what the firm was offering (the magazine of contracts I had perused), apparently rejecting it, and leaving. He had hoped to pick me up as a client, lure my savings from me to invest on my behalf.

Well, yesterday also saw the news about Davy Stockbrokers being fined by the Central Bank, so my devious subconscious mind was bringing all the news into personal perspective.

Saturday, 31 October 2020


 I woke in the middle of the night with my internal voice clearly stating, "It's a hornpipe."

I knew immediately what this meant, but you, dear reader, obviously would not, so I must explain.

A few weeks ago, I put music to W B Yeats' poem "The Song of the Wandering Aongus," and released the song on Spotify and the other streaming channels. The other day, I finished putting music to  James Clarence Mangan's poem, "A Vision of Connaught in the Thirteenth Century," or, rather to my adaptation of it, "Bertie of the Golden Hand." 

Mangan describes a vision of a prosperous and happy Connaught under the reign of Cathal More Of The Wine-Red Hand, and then a return visit to a desolate country under a later regime. I have lived through a prosperous and happy Ireland ("The Celtic Tiger") under Bertie Ahern, followed by a desolate country under an economic recesion; and now a renewal of Covid 19 lockdown brings Mangan's poem to mind.

I found, when the job was done, I had used the same air, (though  with a swifter tempo), as Wandering Aongus. I was surprised because it had never occurred to me that the two poems have the same structure and meter.

I tried putting new airs to Bertie in my head, but failed.

Now, how I put an air to a poem is this: I recite the poem rhythmically and it naturally falls into a tune as I recite. So Bertie fell into the same tune as Aongus and would not give up.

It was in this state of mind that I went to bed, and the subconscious worked on the problem when I was asleep. It cracked the problem and, waking me up, presented the solution to my waking mind with the cryptic phrase: "It's a hornpipe," even though I had set Aongus to a 3/4 rhythm, like a waltz).

This dream insight provided me with a store of airs to  consider for Bertie Of The Golden Hand. I chose The Derry Hornpipe and adapted this to my purpose. Having run through the song a number of times, I decided that my best presentation was as a recitation over an orchestra playing the tune. and so this was how I recorded it and present it now on Spotify, Amazon Music, Deezer, etc.

Links to these songs on Spotify:

Wandering Aongus

Bertie of the Golden Hand

Wednesday, 4 March 2020


So, at the end of January I had a dream calling on me to exert my ego, have purpose and take action. Which I did!

I had just mastered the skills of composing a score and mixing my voice with artificial musical instruments and my whistle. (Well, acquired sufficient skill to produce some kind of product). So, during February I wrote scores for nine James Joyce airs (that I had been making up down the years), and a few of my own songs, and launched them onto the digital services (YouTube, Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon, etc.)

This took hours of hard purposeful labour and probably expresses to some degree who I am. At any rate this is my  work and my creation.

This February proved a good month to do it. The days were bitter cold. Down the country they had lashings of floods, (though in Glasnevin we don't see that much of the actual rain) and it was not tempting to be out and about. Might as well be sitting at the computer solving all those little quirky problems that trying to accomplish anything places in your path, and singing.

I decided to have my own recording label, Glossneen. Well, the leading labels were hardly looking out for me.

All in all, I feel more lively and purposeful as a result. I thank my dream for calling attention to my ego deficit.

Saturday, 1 February 2020

It's in rhe Air!

Well, it seems that it is "in the air" and that this fact is due to "the time of the year." (I mean my "Pierce Wise" dream, and its interpretation, in my last two Dream Diary posts).

I have just heard of a ninety-five year old woman who, on the day of my Pierce Wise dream, surprised everybody by taking a taxi into town, and staying overnight in a hotel.

This adventure was obviously a gesture to demonstrate that she was still an independent personality, just as my dream was a call by my subconscious to my Ego to re-assert mine.

It is in the air because of the time of the year. Today is the feast day of the "Matron Saint" of Ireland, Saint Brigid. This saint is thousands of years older than Christianity; and "Saint Brigid's Day," or the ancient "Brídeog," announces Spring. Today, grass starts to grow and the birds come out to sing. There is a feeling of waking up (in Ireland anyway: other European countries may be later). It is probably the little bit of extra day-light that wakens us up.

You don't have to be elderly to experience this re-enlivenment. Indeed, I experienced a similar emotion when I was 12, and wrote a poem in Irish expressing it:
Nuair a thagann Féil' Bríde,
Nuair ' imíonn an Geimhreadh,
Deir guth im' chroí
Gur breá bheith beo.

Tig fás le féar;
Tig úire san aer,
Giorracht san oíche
Is fad sa ló.

Bíonn gach rud meidhreach
San Earrach aerach;
Éirionn an ghrian
Agus scaipeann an ceo.

This translates as:

When Bridget's Feast comes,
When Winter goes,
A voice in my heart
Says its wonderful to be alive.

Growth comes to grass;
Freshness comes to air,
Shortness to night
And length to day.

Everything is merry
In the airy Spring;
The sun rises
And the fog disperses.
Of course, the fog that disperses is the winter gloom we have felt throughout December and January. In recent years, I have re-written this poem as The First of Feb.

Today is bitter cold, as we would wish St Brigid's day to be. This is because bitter weather is necessary for a few days more to kill off the Hag who governed during the dark days in order to allow the young Princess Brigid to rule. Otherwise, according to folk observation over hundreds of years, the hag of winter will re-assert herself later in February and March.

Thursday, 30 January 2020

A Question of Identity

This morning, reviewing last night's dream, I had no idea how to interpret it. Now, at bedtime, the meaning is clear.

The characters in a dream are usually, and in this case, aspects of one's own personality. So Pearse Wyse, in the dream, is my centre of wisdom, and it says to my  ego: "I don't know who you are." In other words the Centre of Wisdom is pointing out to the Ego that my identity (approaching my 77th birthday) is weak, probably meaning that I lack purpose. Should I be driven at this hour of my life? My Centre of Wisdom seems to think so. It is saying, in effect, "Wake up; have goals; re-learn who you are. Re-energise yourself."

Co-incidentally, tomorrow also marks our neighbour Great Britain's start into its new independent identity. And, as to its leader, Boris Johnson, well there's an energising Ego to emulate!

Pierce Wise

People tend to engage in Dream Watching for a period of time and then discontinue. Carl Jung told his clients how to do it: when going to bed, tell yourself that you will keep a small part of the conscious mind open to watch the dreams. When so engaged, we remember a lot of our dreams, but must jot them down soon after rising, or they will be forgotten. When not Dream Watching, the sub-conscious mind sometimes takes it upon itself to communicate with the conscious by making a dream break through into consciousness. This happened me last night.

I dreamt I was in a "familiar" cosy mountain hostel, with a gathering of people. I was supposed to know all these people, but had only a half-knowledge of them. They were from my previous positions in life, work colleagues, fellow students, cousins, and so on. However, those I had previously known had become unfamiliar. Others were not my original associates, but the next generation of their families.

A new arrival came to the door, and someone said to me, "Come and say hello to Pierce Wise." I looked over and saw a man, who looked something like Tony Ryan, the founder of Ryanair. I guessed this must be Pierce Wise. I did not recognise him one bit (in the dream), but reckoned, since these were all supposedly my acquaintances, I must also have been, at some stage, an acquaintance of this man. So, I decided to go over, presume this former acquaintance, and say hello.

I walked across the room, proferred my hand to "Pierce Wise," and said, "How are you Pierce?"

He looked at me with piercing eyes and said "I do not know who you are!"

This woke me up.

It seems to me that the subconscious was sending me some message, but I do not know what that message is. The subconscious uses puns and metaphors in its communications with the conscious mind, so I imagine "Pierce Wise" means something.

More extraordinarily, the subconscious is very often very accurate in its data. When I woke up, I was, in my conscious state, aware that Pearse Wyse had been a leading politician, but could not remember what he looked like. Accessing the Web, I found that my dream image was actually a perfect snap-shot of the man.

The Progressive Democrats at their height outside Leinster House. Pearse Wyse is at the extreme right

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Trauma Remembered

I woke up with the memory of a childhood trauma pulsating in my head.

Around 10 years' old, I had been "tight-rope walking" on the top of the iron railings that divided our house from our neighbour's.

The type of railings on which I was tight-rope walking (the car and flower pots are new since that event of 60 years' ago).
Mother had often warned me against this practice, and, no doubt, forbidden it on the basis of its inherent danger. I protested that it was not dangerous for me, since I had the skill to avoid an accident. She warned that I  could lose my balance and fall. I answered that, of course I would lose my balance; I always lost my balance after a few steps, but, as soon as I began to lose my balance, I would hop off the railing and land on my two feet. Each time I went onto the railing, I hoped to extend the distance walked.

On this one fateful day, however, as I went to hop off the railing, the side of my foot momentarily touched against the railing, and, instead of landing on my feet, I toppled over and crashed head-first on the concrete path. The brunt of the fall was taken by the bones surrounding my right eye: my forehead, nose and cheek bone. Waking from my sleep this morning, these three areas remembered the trauma as if it were only recent.

I know what brought this memory to the fore. It was the selfie I recently took for the cover of my second book of poetry, recently published:

The crookedness of my nose is very apparent in this photo. Hippocrates asserts that a crooked nose is always evidence of a poor physician, since a broken nose can always be restored to its correct shape, either by the physician's hands, or by stuffing the nostrils and using plaster and bandages on the outside to keep the shape.

My physician was my mother. I must have been knocked unconscious by the fall, and awoke in bed with my mother ministering to me. She gave me something to drink and asked me questions to elucidate the extent of my concussion. She offered me a chocolate finger, but I thought it was her own finger.

I felt vague, particularly in the area of my head impacted, as well as in pain. I drifted back to sleep. It was observed that a doctor was not necessary, so my nose remains crooked.

The memory of the trauma is still there in my head. My left nostril is narrower than my right and more inclined to get blocked.