gloomy limbo, alone and deserted. I wondered whether the others had been pulled off – whether they were all dead, or unconscious from terrible injuries, powerless to rescue me from this overwhelming sense of abandonment. Stephen Venables, A Slender Thread, Hutchinson, 2000 November 21. My Nightmare There is always something which drags me back from the achievement of my desires. It’s like a nightmare; I see myself struggling violently to escape from a monster which draws continuously nearer, until his shadow falls across my path, when I begin to run and find my legs tied, etc. The only difference is that mine is a nightmare from which I never wake up. The haven of successful accomplishment remains as far off as ever. Oh! make haste. W. N. P. Barbellion, The Journal of a Disappointed Man, G. H. Doran, 1919 And every poet has some Muse from whom he is suspended, and by whom he is said to be possessed, which is nearly the same thing; for he is taken hold of. Plato, Ion, translated by Benjamin Jowett, 1871 A thin karmic thread winds between us, linking us through something the poem holds that is true to this moment. But a karmic bond that consists of such a very tenuous thread is scarcely, after all, a burdensome matter. Nor is it any ordinary thread – it is like some rainbow arching in the sky, a mist that trails over the plain, a spider’s web glittering in the dew, a fragile thing that, though marvellously beautiful to the eye, must snap at the first touch. What if this thread were to swell
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