Pulling Down The Wheel

Pulling Down The Wheel

‘Pulling down the wheel is dangerous’ says this sonnet. Which wheel? The wheel of death and rebirth? Are we talking about a ferris wheel, a funfair ‘roller’? (There’s definitely a whiff of Harry Lime in the air.) Is someone murdered here? I’ll leave you to decide exactly what’s going on but on one level this poem is based on a true story from the early 20th century East Coast American fairgrounds, a story told me by someone whose ancestor went through a very extreme experience.

The big rim scrapes a thunderhead;
midnight flickers to the north.
Taking a chance under the hazard
he spits from blue lips an oath.
Pulling down the wheel is dangerous
a lightning-strike could be serious.
Against a young girl’s ghost-howl
again his gruff, sarcastic growl:
‘A roller is made to be ridden!’
Far below in a red caravan
flagrantly a man and a woman
fornicate with abandon.
Now Fortuna flicks a switch:
‘Burn in hell, son-of-a-bitch.’

An Alchemical Perspective

An Alchemical Perspective

Quite soon our misguided governments will announce a War on Death. Then, having obediently eaten our artificial immortality pills, we will be face-to-face with a nemesis far more dangerous than any traditional narcotic.

In ancient China scholars and poets who wanted to experiment with opium as a tool of consciousness would have to go before a panel of wise elders, a ‘central committee fo the consumption of drugs’ if you like. These elders would decide whether someone was a fine enough poet or a serious enough scholar to warrant an unlimited supply of Class A narcotics. They would also evaluate whether the individual was spiritually and psychologically able to cope with the terrifying addictivity of opiates. I would only agree with the de-criminalization of all drugs if similar arrangements were in place. Otherwise societies will be destroyed by epidemics of dependency among people who believe that by taking strong drugs they will suddenly be transformed into great artists.

But why spend time on the difficult question of enslavement to chemical stimulus (which should really be achieved from within from an alchemical perspective). The poem which follows explores the idea of death as the ultimate psychedelic journey.

Imagine a drug in the brain
sweeping away all logic
coming on like a hurricane;
the body lost, or so lethargic
as to seem nonexistent
yet habitually persistent
in old pattern and routine
as cells dependent on morphine.
And the pining for salvation
keen as a mysterious hunger
like craving for love, but stronger:
the need for transubstantiation.
Overwhelming, mind-amplifying:
the powerful drug known as dying.


Body of Work published

Body of Work published

The first of my forthcoming digital editions, Body of Work is a collection of shorter poems spanning several decades. The idea is that sequences of poems are distributed to different parts of the body; so there are poems of the head, poems of the hands and feet, poems of spleen and heart and so on.

You’ll find poems of the Hands, poems of the Lungs, Spine, Heart and Belly, etc. Subject matter is widely varied: there are urban poems, satirical and humourous verses, elegiac pieces, love poems, haikus and erotica, and a few longer pieces including De Havilland about my airman-father who flew in night-fighting Mosquitoes in WWII. Also featuring in the collection is Fierce Moon, recently published on my blog with a video of the poem.

Here is an excerpt from the Prologue:

“A poem communicates the mystery of a love-affair with experience. The poet’s passion for this world as mirror of super-reality explodes in a sensuality of language. Poems are kisses lavished on life, some ferocious and carnal, others tender and spiritual. A poem solves the primordial antagonism: Shall we eternally suffer or shall we eternally flee beauty? As lovers see perfection where there is only humanity, so true poems redeem the world.”

Body of Work will download to Kindle, iTunes etc, see links below.


Edition: eBook – digital format

Order online – Amazon US Amazon UK  (Kindle)

Fierce Moon

Fierce Moon

Imagine a moon out of control, its attraction too great, its gravitational pull so intense that it threatens to destabilize a cosmos! This poem imagines such a moon; it references a romance which almost destroyed a world. Words and music by Aidan Andrew Dun, lunar image by Kerry Barbour.

Once, not long ago, yesterday even
you loomed and dazzled, fantastic lodestar.
Just over the north horizon, just gone
you are still an awesome curved presence.

I look at each day in a scientific light, compare
through the powerful dust-covered lens of memory.
As though all experience belonged in the past
I live in the terrible museum of our friendship.

Even now, mounting watchtowers and platforms
to stand in the observatory of real life once more
I remember enormous trajectories, derangements
catastrophic love imposed on so-called freedom.

Planets have been destroyed, whole oceans
burnt off, evaporated in less than half a second.
I was lucky to survive your beautiful proximity.
I trust I shall never see you again, fierce moon.

This poem features in AAD’s Selected Poems ‘Body of Work’.

Pin It on Pinterest