Issue 27


Dream Catcher 27 continues a nineteen year tradition of excellence and diversity. Just riffling the pages of Dream Catcher brings one a cascade of sparkling gems to be enjoyed, savoured, touched and caressed.

Dream Catcher is a challenge, the reader is not spoon fed ideas, but encouraged to explore, to further the understanding of time and place. Right at the start Adam Strickson’s James Bateman’s Biddulph challenges the reader to ask who is James Bateman; what is a Biddulph; is it exotic; is it a Byzantine secret garden; from further to the East? Did I say Dream Catcher was a journey? Well this journey starts firmly in Staffordshire and real explorers will enter into a children’s fantasy.

If there is an overarching theme to Issue 27 it must be memory: memories themselves are gems in their own right, shifting and changing in the altering light, abrasive, or polished silky smooth; uncomfortable to wear yet a sexual adornment and the foundation of ego. Daryl Donahue juxtaposes memories of today and yesterday as he looks at the Books in the Attic while Donna Puccini responds viscerally to La Bohème while John Gilham recalls Paradise as he sinks into his experiences and they sink into him.

In spite of our denial, humans can seldom get far from nature; a nature with which we have a less than stellar relationship and Martin Malone brings us to a start reality with Gadd’s Owl, mitigated just a little by the accompanying Owl. Simon Curtis relates memory to nature and hope; Stephen Maxwell sees the world with an autistic eye.

We have isolation in Swimming away from You by David Ford and the startling Polish Hospitality from the pen of Sam Duda: the poignant Tryptic by Joseph Allen presents the plight of women in just 23 short lines and this theme is picked up by our featured artist Andy Fullalove ‘s huge landscapes overwhelming tiny people. Of Andy, acclaimed Yorkshire artist Jake Attree comments “We are all born into some kind of landscape: rural, urban, bucolic, sublime, etc, etc, and that landscape impacts on us, our presence impacts on the landscape physically, emotionally and in all kinds of ways we are probably not even aware of. Fullalove meditates on this and strives to make paintings that give expression to these meditations in a contemporary and very personal voice.”

Dream Catcher 27 closes looking forward, along with a helpful serving of looking back: we are treated to Laurie Kruk’s River Watching some contemplative thoughts from Dharmavadana and end with the less than optimistic but visual Electronic Detection Device where Alex Josephy looks at the memories we will be looking at, and storing, in the future, maybe the not so very distant future.

James Bateman’s Biddulph

In his garden, the mind moves through moss-light,
brushes roots in air, stoops in rock tunnels,
pieces together a dug out honeycomb of continents,
a Sundarbans of creatures and creepers.

Gloomy wetness shines in each ruinous chamber;
assembled vegetable and mineral glisten quietly
in half underground, half above ground wombs
where Spring’s tentacles begin to emerge
in small colours: pink gums of Dog’s Tooth Violet,
turban-blue stars of Pulmonaria, wands of Yellow Willow,
Skimmia’s bloody beads, Rupturewort, Milkwort –
these spooky names a cave chant of Latin and witch.

No wonder he splashed this darkness with Chinoiserie:
a bridge of tinkling bells, scarlet and turquoise fretwork.
For twenty years, he dropped his coins into this soil –
into his Great Wall, giant ferns, shrubberies and follies.
He sent plant hunters to Guatemala and New Granada
to find twists and tongues for his primeval Eden,
proof of Moses’ cosmogony, the six days he believed in.

And on the seventh day God rested, and created orchids.

How Bateman loved those flowers – their cool allure;
their intricate, interlocking parts which invite us to explore.
Their gentle genesis, he thought, waited in God’s mind
until he’d created man who was to be soothed by their beauty.

Adam Strickson