Matthew Munson: Baffling dreams and struggles with poetry

Matthew and Bryan

Do you ever have those dreams that are so outlandishly weird that you wonder what the hell is going through your mind? The other night, I dreamt that I was deeply upset about something or other and stole a police-marked golf caddy, before crashing it into a fence surrounding St Luke’s Church in Ramsgate.

I then had a separate dream in which I was a newspaper columnist writing about World War 3 and bemoaning my French surname of Boughton Aleph (I don’t understand, I really don’t) – as this surname was going to ensure I was at risk with the impending war.

I don’t understand where these dreams come from, I really don’t. I’ve never had the urge to steal a golf cart, police-branded or not, and to the best of my knowledge, the only French connection I’ve got is a distant cousin who is half-French and is married to an Italian. Even that could be partially wrong, as it’s quite obvious that my mind is playing tricks on me.

Apparently, stealing something in your dream can reveal a deep-seated desire for the thing you’ve dreamt of stealing. But my only experience of golf is going to a driving range once when I was a teenager with my much-more-experienced cousin. We spent a productive couple of hours whacking golf balls as far as we could across this range, and I can honestly say that I was terrible at it. My cousin was very good – he had experience, I had none – and he was also very patient with me. But that experience was an isolated one, and certainly one I never had any desire to replicate on a regular basis. I have been curious about driving a golf buggy for fun, but I’d be quite content to ask permission before ever doing it. Sometimes, dream explanations are a bit “out there” – and my brain certainly is as well, if this is the sort of stuff I’m dreaming about these days.

I have a confession to make, by the by. I didn’t go into university this week. I was due to go to my regular lesson on Friday afternoon, but I’m struggling with poetry. Not because of the lecturer – who’s passionate and interesting and clever – but because I’m failing to engage with the topic. That’s no excuse, of course, but it’s hard to be creative with this topic, and I found a reason not to go in this week; I wanted to be creative, and so stayed at home to write instead – write, that is, something that excited me; a book I’m currently working on.

I’m both proud of that decision and a bit sad at the same time. I should be pushing myself, because university in part is as much about trying new topics as it is learning and improving your skills in areas you like. But I’m struggling to be anything other than functional with poetry. I diligently sit down every week and work on the different types of poetry we study, doing my damnest to craft some poems based around that week’s style – but I know, in my heart, that they’re merely functional. They’re not anything other than that, and I probably won’t revisit them after this module is over.

I’m surprised at my own reaction to poetry. I really do intend to give my degree every morsel of effort, and the modules for the next five years (I’m part-time) are genuinely interesting. But, in a way I can’t fully explain, I’m struggling with poetry. Perhaps it’s because I’m not being very creative in the module, or perhaps it’s because I just can’t find a poet who appeals to me. I’ve read quite a bit over the past couple of months, trying to find a way into the subject – but so far, no joy.

I must make myself go to the rest of my lectures, but it’s a strange place for me to be in. Having loved the first two modules, I’m now struggling with the third – but, to reiterate my point, not because of the teacher, but because of my own weakness in the field of poetry. Perhaps I have learned something in this module; that short stories and novel-length fiction are my forte … and that I’m genuinely looking forward to exploring fiction during the rest of my course. I just need to focus my mind on the next few weeks and be open to this module as much as I can.

2 Comments

  1. Regarding the poetry,Matthew,you have my sympathy.I always struggled with what poems were trying to convey.I just couldn’t see it;just like a piece of abstract art.
    Maybe,it is because I like to see things as black and white;and poetry is too grey and in the mind of the person.
    Also,it defies the rules of proper English.The absence of capital letters,full stops,etc etc.Give me prose,any day.
    Anyway,persevere Matthew!

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