Being a poet visionary is a bad career move...
Having read, mesmerised, Thompson's 'The Fathomless Heart', I am continuing my exploration of this forgotten English poet-mystic by reading his journals, both volumes of which have been carefully edited by Richard Lannoy.
Today on the train forth and back from London, I read the section in the first volume on dreams. My friend, the artist, Thetis Blacker, would have called Thompson a 'gifted dreamer', as she was herself, whose dreams spoke reality, that were gifts, to use the language of Hinduism, of the Self. They were not products of the unconsciousness to be interpreted by the ego but gifts to be inhabited as real places in which a person dwelt and in contemplating them saw into the truth of things.
He describes his own, beautifully, as worlds inhabited as truly as those inhabited by waking consciousness; and, indeed makes the point, that the preconceptions of what we should or are seeing, when waking, often obscure more than they reveal about the reality of where we are.
We are used to thinking that dreams are, at best, unconscious prompts of what our waking selves might be failing to attend to. For Thompson, as for all traditional religions, dreams are a living part of the fabric of the reality that we inhabit. They interpret us, and our present level of consciousness, we do not interpret them. Who am I in relation to the dream consciousness not what is it in relation to me?
Such questioning radically deepens one's own soulfulness or ought to.
Reading Thompson makes one deeply grateful to Lannoy for the perseverance of his work making access to Thompson's work possible. I am reminded of Flaxman's work in preserving Blake. Being a poet-visionary is obviously not a vocation to assume if you want a career.
Thetis Blacker: 'The Birds Who Flew Beyond Time"