Hindsight (New version)

“Hindsight” was originally written in late 1995, in a horrid little hotel in Seoul. It’s been redrafted three or four times, to polish out most of the shit. While it started out quite dark, it turned out to be a positive expression, which surprised the hell out of me!

I was about three-quarters of the way through an important training trip, but it was becoming horribly obvious that my selection of trainer, subject, and material had backfired badly. Audience feedback was shockingly bad, particularly because I hadn’t verified the freelance trainer knew her subject – so she was just wasting everyone’s time. And that meant that I was wasting everyone’s time too.

I was also getting in trouble at every airport due to the metal construct in my back, and I had to carry with me all my painkillers – 36 boxes of morphine ampoules and tablets that had to be explained, in detail, to customs. Even with medical letters of support, travelling wasn’t particularly easy for me. It was also less than 4 years since the fusion, and I was in incredible difficulty managing to keep to schedule and meet and greet in each country – schmoozing was mandatory in the business, and I wasn’t yet anything like a good schmoozer!

On top of that, it was winter (which I usually enjoy to the max) – but instead of going out to the countryside in each location, our schedule was so tight, all I could see was what was between the airports and the hotels! And if you know anything about urban planning, they don’t tend to make the landscape between the airport and the cities particularly interesting. It was sad-looking ice and dirty snowdrifts everywhere. For those who love The Lord Of The Rings, it was much like what Frodo and Sam saw in the Gladden Fields. Except for the bodies… (Well, I didn’t actually see any bodies…)

Speaking of which, it never even occurred to me that the metre and rhythm of this poem is identical to J.R.R. Tolkien’s wonderful poem, “The Chant of Ëarendil”, from LTR. You know, the one that starts off…. Ëarendil was a mariner/ that tarried in Avernien/ and built a boat of timber felled/ in Nimbrethil to journey in…. Seems John did get into my DNA after all!

The hotel (like most of the mid- to lower-end hotels my employer chose for me) was a-clutter with chintzy, garish gilded lamps and ever-so-slightly-frayed curtains and wallpaper. Although I’ve never been to one, I imagine a Collingwood whorehouse would look a lot like these hotels!

At the same time, there was a huge amount of political bullshit going on on the international stage, and that’s what I absorbed each night before crashing into a “fitful, haunted sleep”…

And on top of it all, this was the very first time I’d been away from my Angel. Homesick? You betcha! But as you’ll see, I did manage to keep a sense of perspective.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I enjoyed getting it out!

Naturally, this material is copyright (C) Me. No part of this material may be copied, reproduced, or used in any manner whatsoever without my express written permission. I know it’s a wank, but I have to say it…


What bends and twists and torturous loops we push our tired bodies through!
We grasp and grab at visions which (while not quite strictly true)
at least feed the daemons we release – but time and time again we fall
through plastic phrases, instant feelings, someone else’s beck and call.
A star is lost! A guiding star has fallen from the firmament!
Until we see it wasn’t what we thought we said we felt we meant.
A painted dot, an icon (gilded) burnished in the dark –
and, vanished from our dimming eyes, we see the frame – skeletal; stark.

A fleshy face, a rosy glow is all we need to drape what’s not
really there; yet still we grieve for innocence. A dream of what
we dreamed in youth is hued with passion’s marvelous red.
But still remains this day; this life; this dawn, this unmade bed.

A passion play, where actors’ bones must bend and break
in synchrony with heartbeat’s ceaseless count of days. We try to make
the story real, while life whisks past (a carousel of neon light)
as lies and lessons learn themselves – and feed our souls with dark and light.

The wind rakes leaves from Autumn’s arms; the ghostly branches, naked, stand
against the whitewash of the moon, against the limning of the land.
Silhouettes of sparkling flame in tarnished mirrors redly burn;
but give no warmth. My love, projected in the dark, does not return.

I dared to dream, and dreaming, found a new perception of the maze
in which we run our ratty lives. And, though the days
of wine and roses (fake, of course) are all but gone, their truth is smoke:
at least the magic stayed with me, and having magic, my blood spoke.

A gritty lesson’s buried there – perceived as truth, the point is taught
that, while our hopes and dreams survive, the fire never burned for naught.
For while I dreamed, a glittering star arose, and showered silver bright;
and though the ashes fall to earth as cold, grey dust – my heart is light.

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