Thursday 7 September 2023

Killeens in Tiananmen Square

In my dream  world there is a photo, taken by my son Tomás, who never actually visited China, of a picture hanging in an Inn in Tiananmen Square. This picture shows a British soldier standing beside an Old Ford car outside this Inn in Tiananmen Square in 1918. The soldier had a peculiar similarity to myself - not as I now am, but as a young adult before I started to grow a beard.

In last night's dream, my wife and I visited this Inn, and, in curiosity, looked to see if the original picture was still there. Well, what did we find?

Curious about my son's interest in the photo, the manager of the Inn had enquired from China's public records office about the original picture. He found that the photo Tomás had copied was only part of a larger photo showing the British army in occupation of Tiananmen Square in 1918 (my  dream' distortion of history). The manager had obtained a copy of this large picture, which now hung in the foyer of the Inn, alongside a new copy of Tomás' picture. We admired this larger picture.

The Chinese intelligence service had actually tagged all the British soldiers in the large picture, and, there, clearly tagged, beside the  Old Ford car, outside the Inn on Tiananmen Square, was "Pte. Thomas Killeen, of The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers."

Where did this dream come from? Well, it came out of the disturbed state of the world as per world news: Russia, Ukraine, China, tumbling again  towards world conflict, jumbled up with  worries of renewal of conflict in Northern Ireland, or wherever peace is not actively promulgated, and not even I am immune from involvement. Conflict can rage anywhere and Tiananmen Square is still in everybody's consciousness.

Monday 17 July 2023

Day Dreams

 From infancy, I made a habit of entering into a pleasant reverie before falling asleep. 

When I was at the crawling stage, lying in bed, I would plan next day's climbing adventure. I had an ambition to climb onto the sitting-room sofa, and from the arm of the sofa up onto the window-sill and look out on the front garden. I remember being annoyed when I heard my mother telling Mrs Breen that, among my strange activities, I had climbed up onto the window-sill. I was appalled to hear my mother tell a blatant lie, for I had never succeeded in reaching this goal (except in my reverie). Every time, I either failed or someone intervened to prevent me.

Later, when I could walk and run a few steps, I planned how I might fly. Initially, after I realised my plan to climb up into the air would never work, I would flap my imaginary wings (attached to my shoulder blades). Then I planned to sew a wind-proof shawl to my shirt or jacket sleeves, and to the centre of the back. No need for neat stitching; rough work would suffice. Then with my arms spread wide, I would run at the house, taking advantage of the up-draft as I got near the house, and rise up to the sky. Flap, flap, flap to gain height and then cruise along like the seagulls.

With more maturity, I realised that none of these plans could have any material success, but I could take off in an imaginary flight by spreading my imaginary wings, lean forward from the hips, and take off.

In my reverie, I could see into the back gardens of the houses of the roads around Phibsboro, then fly over Dalymount Park, and continue on down over Drumcondra, Fairview, the Docks, and out over the Irish Sea, or, by leaning one way or the other, depending on the direction of the wind, turn around and fly over the island of Ireland and out the the cliffs along the west coast - where there was much to see and admire and many (imaginary) adventures to be had.

In previous centuries, wise women who undertook such flights were condemned as witches. On their flights, they could see into their neighbours houses and observe the private lives of the people who lived there. While these flights are imaginary, you see a lot of things already known to your subconscious mind, which is constantly storing and interpreting data, most of which will never be called into play in real life.

In our own time, some people call these "Yogic flights," and profess that you can influence others (for good, of course) by communicating with them in their dreams by means of such flights.

In some recent recordings, I have attempted to reproduce the moods contained in such flights:

To hear this tune properly, spread your arms out like the seagulls wings, tuck in your tummy, lean forward, and press the play button. Enjoy the flight: it is better than any real thing.

In this imaginary flight, I rise out through the stratosphere into open space, and venture out of the solar system into the greater cosmos. What wonderful things are there to be seen (I mean "imagined"). But take care, since there is no air out there, you will continue, not in a "state of rest," for you are already moving, but in a "state of continuous motion in a straight line," and will not be able to turn around, unless "acted upon by an external force." To be meticulous, maybe you should bring a set of small rockets with you, to enable your trip home, or simply call the project off whenever you feel like it.

Of course, the reverie can be used just to muse over other things: What might have happened if you had taken a different path at one of the many crossroads in your life:

Or just suppose you were elsewhere and enjoying other environments:

Saturday 27 May 2023


Now that I often get up at nights to relieve my bladder, I have dreams that cause me to wake up for this purpose. Mostly they have me scurrying around searching in vain for a toilet or secluded place to let go my load.

Last night's dream was different. 

I dreamt that there was one poem on the Leaving Certificate English course that was highly neglected. The poem was entitled "l' Escargot." This is a French word meaning "The Snail," but the poem is in English, and, in it, the poet, in very clever language, shows that it is a disguise for the Snake. I can't actually quote the poem, since I have never learned it.

Now, from the Bible, we know that the Snake causes disobedience to the Master and consequent Expulsion. No teacher wants this idea to be lurking in students' minds, so they neglect this poem. 

The Department of Education appointed a special inspector to look into the matter, and he found that "l'Escargot" is the most Discriminated poem in all the secondary schools in all the 26 Counties of Ireland, and that, in all schools, boys are forced to stand in front of the class reciting childish poems, while the Snake is rising up between their legs.

At this point, I woke up realising I must visit the toilet.

Tuesday 7 March 2023

Three Dreams of Eighty

 I had  three strange dreams last night. The facts that I was not dream-watching and remember the three dreams indicates that I woke up after each dream before falling back to sleep again.

The Swimming Pool

In the first dream, I dreamt that I was entering a swimming pool. A voice over the public address system said, "All swim to the Balla Rushda, join hands and swim in line."

I did not know what the "Balla Rushda" was, but swam to the point that others were heading for. I saw a contradiction in the instruction to "join hands and swim in line," but had learned in life, when given confusing instructions to "follow the instructions," whereupon all would usually become clear in the execution.

When I reached the place the swimmers were heading for, I found a school-mate of the OCS "class of 61" (i.e., our class that graduated from secondary school in 1961), was positioned there, shaking hands with all the swimmers as they arrived, and then sending them, one after the other, in a particular direction. I followed suit and soon found myself swimming alone in a large pool. My nose was above water and I found that I could swim effortlessly along, breathing as I went, just as if walking. The water was at body temperature, so I could swim for miles without tiring or getting out of breath.

The Retirement Dance

In the next dream, I found myself with the surviving members of the Class of 61, about a dozen of us. We were in a theatre, in a preparation room behind the stage and were to prepare to dance out onto the stage in a troop to celebrate our retirement.

I was afraid my, and our, lack of stamina, strength and skill, would make a hames of the demonstration, and considered what steps could I, in fact, perform. Some simple, easy, steps would do it. So, I said, "Stomp, stomp, Step a Little; Stomp, stomp, Step a Little," and stomped and stepped forward in rhythm with the words.

Dr. Oliver McHugh, my former GP, and my successor as Chairman of Claremont Residents Association, a long time ago, was in charge of the band and the choir. He raised his two batons, and said, "Listen: Where, o Where, is Pamela Farrell," in the same rhythm as my "Stomp, o Stomp, and Step a Little." Now, when I was chairman of the Residents Association back in 1980/ 81, I had asked a local musician to organise a concert of local talent as part of our summer Festival, and he had organised a brilliant variety troop made up of our beautiful young mothers, who had gone on to win awards in several competitions. Pamela Farrell was one of these.

The band played and the choir sang, and repeated over and over, "Where, o Where, is Pamela Farrell," and the Class of 61, a troop of eighty year olds, none of them, I can tell you, as elegant or beautiful as the young Pamela Farrell, stomped, stomped and stepped a little, out on the stage to the applause of the audience.

The House Full of Children

I dreamt I was in my own house.

I went into the kitchen, but it was full of children, sitting at the breakfast table and up at the counter. So, I headed for the front room, but another troop of children were there, ensconced and feeding.

I went into the middle room, but could not negotiate myself through the children feasting there.

"Krunchie," said one of the kids, "That was a very long speech you gave last night."

"I gave a speech last night?" I asked.

"Yes," said a senior child, "You were very drunk and gave a long speech."

"Oh!" I said, "and what did I talk about."

"You talked about corporal punishment, about punishing the down-trodden." 

Then I woke up. 


These three dreams occurred  on the eve of my eightieth birthday, and all focused on the theme of "being eighty."

The Swimming Pool dwelt on the importance of keeping fit and active by swimming or walking "miles."

The Retirement Dance suggested that though our beauty "is adorned with age," as James Joyce might say, we eighty year olds can still put on a performance, if suitably tailored to our ability. Pamela Farrell was chosen as a representative of the young and beautiful because her name matched the rhythm of my "Stomp, Stomp, Step a Little," and because, unlike other members of the variety troop of 1981, she had left Claremont soon afterwards, while most of the other members had remained to grow older in the community. The Dream-master borrowed the word "Stomp" from my tune "Lakota Stomp."

The House Full of Children illustrated how children of the present generation are positive, outspoken and opinionated, whereas my generation was repressed and inhibited.

Saturday 3 September 2022

Bed of Books

 I was in bed with my brother, my old bed of my years of childhood. This was fine until my second brother came into the bed. The bed was big enough when we were boys, but now that we are adults, it is rather crowded. Not only crowded, but too warm to sleep. I wondered lazily if I should get out and sleep on the floor, where it would be cooler.

I lazily got out of the bed and surveyed the floor. There was plenty of space on the floor, at the foot of be bed, but it was piled with books and files and copy-books and reams of paper. I decided that, rather than try and clear a space, I would lie on top of the lot. This proved quite comfortable. I lay half on my front and half on my side. My shoulder dipped into a hollow in the pile of papers and my upper arm and leg were each supported by a little mound of books. However, my head was on a rather hard support.

I wondered if I should rise and take a pillow from the bed. Just then one of my brothers stirred and mumbled, "All Right?" I said, "I need my pillow," but he had turned over and gone back to sleep. I noticed that the pillow had been thrown down to the bottom of the bed. I could reach up my arm and grab it without rising. I did this, put the pillow under my head; and drifted into a dream.

In the dream my neighbour, Emmet, came across to my house with a proposal. He wanted us to play a tune he had dedicated to his grand-daughter. He called the tune "To my beautiful granddaughter." I suggested he should name the granddaughter in the title: "To my beautiful granddaughter, Emily," and he agreed. (Emily is a name proposed by the dream, not the name of an actual granddaughter.

He gave me a copy of the sheet music for the tune. I was to play on the tin whistle, and Emmet would play the Jews' Harp. I played the first bar, and it was very nice. There were no notes in the second bar, and I stopped. Emmet kept going on the Jews' Harp. Then he stopped and said, "You come in there." But I said, "There is nothing there in my copy. You better get me a proper copy." Then I said "It's very nice --  it's simple." Then, in case he might take "Simple" as a criticism, I said, "Simple is good."

The tune was actually my tune, "A Butterfly on a Pink-White Rose," in remembrance of my friend Sean O'Connor (author of the poem of that title), who died almost a year ago.

As I said "Simple is good," I glanced up at the audience, for we were in a little theatre. There was only one person in the audience, Paschal Donohoe, the Minister for Finance. When he heard me saying "Simple is Good," he smiled and nodded.

Emmet went home to print out another copy of the sheet music, and I drifted back to sleep.

Then I heard the handle of the bedroom door turning. I lay quiet and alert. Somebody came quietly into the room and went over to my side of the bed. (I was lying on the floor still). Then I heard some pages turning. The intruder was rifling through my writings. I decided to confront him. 

I uttered a shout, "Hoi," and jolted myself, as one would do if awakening from sleep. I woke up and found that I was not on the floor on a pile of books, nor in bed with my brothers, nor confronting an intruder, but in my normal sleeping place beside my wife. It was a bit warm all right.


2 days later, I find an interpretation in my head. I am more comfortable with my books and papers than with the company of humans. Since my wife retired from her position as Manager of Clareville Day Centre, last February, there have been a stream of celebrations, funerals, weddings and visitations; plenty of small-talk and little time for my music-composition, blogs or books. 

The tune that "Emmet" proposed to me in the dream was my tune "A Butterfly on a Pink-White Rose." Today I looked it up and found that I had made two versions, the first, with guitar and whistle/ violin, on Sibelius, is simple, but mechanical, since the notes are all automated from the sheet music, and the second played on my Yamaha Keyboard, which has more drums and the imperfections of my fingering.

While I did post the Sibelius version on Facebook in remembrance of my friend Sean O'Connor, who used to play the guitar to accompany my whistle, when he died almost a year ago, I never finished the project or posted the tune to Spotify. The dream is reminding me of this unfinished project.

Sunday 7 August 2022

The Saver

 I dreamt that my pre-teen (as he was once) neighbour, Garret, came over to my garden to kick football. He would try to score a goal and I would save. He shot magnificently and I saved magnificently, diving gracefully and catching the ball in mid air.

His father, Emmet, was incredulous; he did not believe his son could kick so well, or need to transfer to a real soccer park to develop his skill.

More importantly, in that dream world, I could get nobody to discuss with me what energy the ball must contain as it travelled through the air; what energy was in Garret's kick and how; what percentage of the kick's energy was transferred to the ball; what percentage of the ball's energy would be lost between the kick and the save; how my leaping energy was generated; how all this energy was brought back to zero as I lay on the ground with the ball in my arms.

The dream reached its conclusion with a sudden image of the crucified Jesus, not in a hanging pose, but a leaping pose, as He stretched out to save (the ball). Most striking in His dark figure were the crescent-moon shaped whites of His eyes under the black pupil-iris balls of His eyes, (with a hint of green through the irises).

The dream undoubtedly rises out of my pondering on a tentative book in my head, titled "Mathness," which questíons some mad math theories, sch as non-computable numbers, and a number-line divided into a continuum of multiple Infinities of points. (A line can't divide into points, only segments, and conclusions drawn from this false basis must be suspect).

Wednesday 22 June 2022

The Rubber Building Block

 I dreamt I was back in my childhood home in Phibsboro', but it had elements of the Mukuru slums of Nairobi.

I dreamt the people had made a rubber building block. This was like a rubber pillow, made with a hard rubber external surface, but packed with desiccated rubbish. Basically, you got a rubber container, packed it tight with chopped-up rubbish, and attached the rubber lid, then sealed it with a blow-torch or something like that. It seemed to be a way of turning rubbish into building material.

You could build a wall with these rubber bricks, sealing the wall with a blow-torch or glue.

I was in the kitchen of our house. This is a galley kitchen. It is the back part of the passage that leads from the front door to the back door. There is a passage about three feet wide in between cabinets lining the wall on each side (cooker and cabinets on one side and kitchen sink and cabinets on the other).

Now, I was receiving information about this wonderful rubber block invention from people standing blocking the kitchen door, who appeared to be Polish immigrants, babbling in their own tongue, but obviously thinking it would be good if I accepted, in some way, the value of their invention. Homeless, they hoped to build houses for themselves with this cheap invention.

My father was at the back door, trying to bring his bicycle through the house. The bicycle shed was in the back yard, so, we had to bring our bicycles through the house. They might be parked outside the front during the day, but, for security, they had to be brought into the back at night.

"Go back into the dining room out of my way," said father. But my way was blocked by these people. I could not move.

My father got angry. He had to get to work, and his way was blocked by me. He did not seem to appreciate that I was stuck where I was by him and the Polish people.

"Didn't I tell you to get out of the way!" he roared.