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Commentary on 'Journey: Inside to Outside'

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This is an experiment. Late in 1989 I began to write poetry again and decided to write a poem describing the layers of the mind and hinting at their contents and properties. It is, hopefully the first of the new poems. It needs a systematic description -

Innermost. This is the core - the seed from which my self develops. It is a fairy child - fragile and enchanted. It is vulnerable (seemingly), and is elaborately protected from destruction by more crude and powerful outer forces. It is the source of what I may call "the primeval dreaming" - my truest and most real fantasies. (But it is not a nirvana - it deals with dark and bright forces of terrifying magnitude.)

Inner Shells. These contain more diluted echoes of the "primeval dreaming" - the so-called "echo-worlds." These serve two functions - one is to disguise the one ancient dreaming, the other is to dispel any "dark spears" thrust in the direction of my "true self."

It also contains the ghosts of my more ancient selves and the worlds they used to inhabit. It is where I will find the ghost of the child I once was and his "dreaming" of the real world.

It is the main source of creative power (but not the ultimate source) and transforms everything that drifts into it from higher levels.

Outer Shells. These shells also serve a protective function - but are outwardly directed. They protect me from the outside world. They simplify the outer world and act to protect me from the horrible things there.

The "crude beast" refers to the armour I have had to create for myself. The beast is powerful but crippled. It has lost the freedom and power of the inner selves, and can only serve to shelter me from the harshness of the outside.

The darkness and brightness are lost from here and the beast inhabits a world which it has rendered grey.

Outermost. This is basically a description of the "machine" I have created to interface with the world. It is "complex/simple" because it is both elaborate, but also much simpler than I am inside.

The "articulated shadow-puppet" is my body. It is nothing more than that - it is but a dim shadow of my real self.

"The not-I mask" refers to the fact that I believe this outermost mask (which I painstakingly created over many years) is a very inaccurate reflection of the real me. This is partly because of its defensive nature, but also because of its masklike shallowness.

At the centre is always the "fairy child!"

[28 October 1989]

The Poem

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Copyright © 1989 by Michael F. Green. All rights reserved.


Last Updated: 22 June 2002