Correspondence: “The residence of dreams and the labyrinth of life”May 22
Life as a teenager was a testing and sometimes sad experience for Craig Dixon – until he experienced a ‘transcendental’ moment whilst sitting beneath a mango tree. Read this poetic tale from the 23-year-old Jamaican Commonwealth Correspondent.
My memory of the Graham-mango tree in the boondocks behind my cottage-home in Pellriver will live on ad infinitum.
We were kite and tail, aphorism and sage.
I would, when angry or distressed by the internal tales of the day, curl like a foetus in her arms, which, dappled with brown and white stains, hung precariously over a ravine.
I would watch ground-doves and pitcheries forage for pickings within the bamboo roots in the gully. On other occasions I listened to the bamboos’ canorous chimes or the little stream hop-scotching over pebbles and stones.
I felt a sense of purpose and belonging in my tree. It was during this period, while in her arms, that I first envisaged the residence of dreams.
These were testing times. I was young then, a mere boy of fourteen years, deeply saddened by recent turns in my life which condemned me to solitude. There was much mudslinging and lambasting prior to my banishment from my family, in fact years of it, and I started to fulfil the prophecies of my future threadbare existence.
I was a tyrant. ‘Look at the tyrant,’ many would say, walking in his absent father’s trajectory to nowhere. I walked alone for a long time, through rivulets, pastures, forests, mountains, searching for peace of mind, while trying to eschew the qualm I often felt on human contact.
In my weakest moments, when overpowered by fear, I would climb and lie in the arms of my tree where I would be consoled, like the psalmists king, by Nature’s harp. I was often afraid because I felt that things would never change for the better and the evidence was everywhere.
The queues-of-poverty kept extending in the cane-fields, in the rivers where I washed, at the public water pipes where we gathered. I added one lost soul to each line I was told.
Gradually, I began to accept my prescribed fate. But one day, everything changed. I had an afflatus – a transcendental impartation of knowledge. It was mango season; I was resting on my back on a limb while eating a graham when I descended into a daydream. In my dream the world appeared to me as a massive labyrinth with a point of entry and exit. I entered.
In the maze I saw many roads and countless roadblocks. I felt an inclination to reach the exit but each time I thought I was near, I walked into a dead-end and had to ply another route. Along the way I saw billions of people on route to the exit point and billions more who had given up hope of ever reaching it.
I met wealthy and talented people who told me that their journeys began in the middle of the maze or close to the exit and were therefore least unnerved by the labyrinthian twist. I saw women and men carrying the hopes of their families and children on their backs, crawling on their knees, but persisting. I witnessed artists, mavericks, poets, activists contriving to circumvent the maze. Among the fold were those who seemed to have given up hope of ever making the entire journey.
When I reached the exit point, I saw the words – the residence of dreams: beyond the labyrinth of life and below these words, the inscription; it matters not where you were born, you have a right to be here and a right to dream. All dreams, for all men of all seasons, are in one place beyond the Labyrinth of Life. If you persist through the snags of life’s maze with unfaltering determination and purpose, you will find your dream in residence, waiting on you to make your claim.
I felt an air of freedom as the new author of my destiny, which I never thought possible. Things were never the same after that day. I have achieved some of my dreams and, for the others, it is only a matter of time. If you have ever questioned your right to be here, rest assured that your dreams are in residence too.
THE RESIDENCE OF DREAMS
By Craig Dixon (2009)
Many things inflect and alter with time
Like policies, polities and paradigms –
But the residence of dreams
Is more eternal than time-
Each dream – long ere the dreamer’s thrust to claim-
Has lived in one place beyond the labyrinth of life–and
Every dreamer, rich or poor, was born in
A distinct spot within the labyrinthian twist –
For some dreamers, the course to fulfilment
Proceeds without curves, for others
It’s a meander of hazards and snags –
And still, for others, a mixture of both-
But despite the nature of your course
Your dream awaits you; enduringly-
Strive for your dream therefore, with the same
Desire you have to breathe,
With intensity and courage uninhibited by fear,
Or the rebuffs of men
Who strum silent strings of submission –
And surely, in time, through lowlights and fireworks
Tantrums and meditation,
Star-crossed love and passionate love,
You will find your dream in residence,
Where passion sings a calm silence and
The soul examines the queries of the mind-
Fixed beyond the labyrinth,
Waiting – eternally