There’s nothing like the creative process of sequencing an issue of Dream Catcher to go down all sorts of rabbit holes – and, a bit like any burrowing animal, emerge after an hour or so in a completely different part of the warren from where you entered. Start with a cup of coffee, take it into the garden to get snagged on bindweed, and sniffed at by dogs; wait for your lover to discover how beautiful the constellations of your moles are; decide to have a game of scrabble, and then get distracted by a fresh pack of cards; bump into priests, dolphins, students; dodge floods and bees, and come back out again, and wonder why it has gone dark (it’s an afternoon in late November, dufus).
Then there’s the perennial question of What It all Means and How It Should Happen. With prose it seems relatively straightforward. With poetry – who knows? Should it start from emotions, ideas, experiences, or the words themselves? It’s no use trying to find a consensus from poets themselves, as we/they all have/had different ideas.
For weeks now, one line from an Auden poem has been clinging on – ‘we must love one another or die.’ It’s from his poem ‘September 1, 1939,’ written on the brink of a global war which is now in the living memory of only a few people. Sadly today’s wars are all the more present because of mass media – and will echo in our memories long after they cease. Excavating the Auden poem it was fascinating to learn that he hated this line, felt really ashamed of the poem which he felt was too glib, too facile. He suppressed it as much as possible, and when he did allow it to be published he amended it to ‘we must love one another and die.’ Earlier in the poem are lines which speak to us today, about what we as writers can do in the face of atrocity, to remember that:
‘All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie.’
And that took us to Pablo Neruda: ‘Poetry is an act of peace. Peace goes into the making of a poet as flour goes into the making of bread.’
Poets, story tellers – please keep making bread. And send your loaves to us for inclusion in Dream Catcher.