Beachcomber ~ a poem about inspiration

Beachcomber

The
shores of sleep last night

Were not of soft white sand,

Strewn with intriguing driftwood,

Magical wave-smoothed rocks

And shining wine-coloured weed

Cast up from the deep.

No. The shores of sleep last night

Were strewn for miles

With the wrecks of dreams,

The hulks of hope

And fragments of fantasies,

Lying like beached and decaying whales.

Some looked whole and entire

Till I peered through portholes

And found them empty, no more than shells.

I would be a beachcomber,

Gathering material for my work

As I patrol this shoreline,

But I cannot work with this.

I will wait till the next storm

Washes the strand clean

Of cast-up wreckage

And leaves me with the flotsam

I can fashion and transform.

 

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Was I God’s photographer?

My reflections on THAT  photograph.

It’s been a little over a  week since I saw the image for the first time and a week since I posted the picture here and I have had a lot of time to think. I’ve thought about the responses of all those who have seen it and commented on it(either here, in private by email or in person) and I’ve thought about my own reactions, both to the picture and to the comments.

 A number of you perceived it as a feminine presence, but many more saw it as either the face of God or an image of Jesus Christ himself. Many have also seen it as being a sign of something special to come.

In seeking clarity I approached a number of people who have experience in these matters.

My own spiritual teacher told me that it was indeed the face of Jesus and that it was a great blessing for me.

Julian Drewett, general secretary of the Churches’ Fellowship for Psychical and Spiritual Studies  commented that due to the chanting and the overall prayerful atmosphere, “the veil was thin”, that unseen barrier between the world we see and the world that resides both beyond it and embedded within in and my camera was able to capture an image of the beings who surround us at all times though we know it not. He also commented that it isn’t unusual for these things to be seen but it is unusual to have them captured like this.

 Neil Broadbent of the Sozein Trust  suggested that the image was in fact a thought form created by the monks at prayer, a suggestion that actually raises far more questions and implications than it solves. And for me it entirely negates my personal role in taking the photo; any blessing or sense of being somehow special at being the person who took the photo is taken away. In his view the focus is entirely on the monks who are mysteriously creating this image with smoke and sunlight and not on the witness who captured it and is now asking the questions. His response was to play down the sheer wonder of this image and make it commonplace and focused entirely on the spiritual elite.

 One of the tests of a vision is what has it produced and in the week since I first saw this image, I think I have spent more time in prayer and contemplation than I have for a long time. I have also been deeply moved by the responses of people who have seen it. People who have seldom if ever had anything to do with religion of any sort have come away with goosebumps and with wonder in their eyes and have begun to ask all sorts of questions. For me, it has been a ride of epic proportions because while I have seen and experienced things before, they have all been effectively subjective. Never before have I had objective evidence of an experience. Gazing at the image I am struck by the pose of the figure. He stands with his arms raised slightly, comfortable, as if waiting to greet with a hug whoever steps forward. He does not stand as if still crucified and he does not raise an arm as a warning or a blessing; he stands as one of us, beside us.

If you blow the image larger you may see other images inside it. I have had comments about paraeidolia  and I am content to say, yes, we do indeed see images and patterns and faces in random things. But what a coincidence that a camera should capture such an appropriate image in a church during a service… I am struck also by the coincidence of my thoughts and feelings during the service with the apparition(if that is the right word) and how it also coincides with Jesus’s own words,”When two or three are gathered together, there am I also.” The other images in the picture to me simply reinforce the impression given by Julian that we are surrounded by beings(whether we call them angels or not) who care for us. I will be quite honest: it’s a rare month that goes by without me giving thought at least once to suicide. But to remember that I am surrounded even at times like those by bright spirits is something that gives great comfort.

 If the image has moved you, pass it on to others you think may find comfort or inspiration in it. If you have any thoughts to share, I would be very grateful to hear them, either here or privately via email.

You can find my email address on the Contact me page.

 Thank you everyone.

The Secret People

I’ve written a few poems today but it’s kind of in lieu of anything more meaty. I found some stuff in a notebook and it made me think about the whole process of where ideas come from. I’ve put a bit of that over at: http://viviennetuffnell.wordpress.com/2009/06/29/the-lost-hero/

But then words started spinning in my mind and the following was the result. I don’t tend to go for rhyming couplets but it just happened like that, so…

 

The Secret People

 

The Secret People are inside my head

The Secret People wait beside my bed

They wait until I fall asleep

Then climb right in and dig in deep

Their voices whisper the whole night long

They tell me stories, they’ll sing their song

Yet when I wake and open my eyes
Their tales are just elaborate lies

Sound and fury and nothing more

And yet they thrill me to the core

Inspiring me to write their words

Before they fly like frightened birds

The Secret People are inside my mind

But the Secret People are never kind

They’ll use me as their living tool

To write their stories and be their fool

Until one day I’ll wake and see

The Secret People have fled from me