I blame no one here. I have no regrets. I would change nothing of the past. I wish only to investigate and to compare seeming cause and effect, and apparent destiny and its fulfilment. Nurture or nature; or as I am concerned, uniquely, the dearth of nurture and the predominance of nature. Was it in defiance of all odds, or in their complicity, that I remain yet standing?
Was I wrought as I am by the circumstantial and character influences of my earliest years, or were those experiences imparted to me to prove myself worthy of a calling towards which my early trials were but gauntlets I had been foreordained to run? Clearly, childhood in all but youthfulness was denied. Bestowed as animals not given suckle with the natural instincts and capacities for survival distant from the breast, I flourished as if by will alone, by necessity of the requirement of fate that I prevail. Many would have perished, perhaps, deprived of both courage and liberty by parents who thought better of themselves for having instilled in their children the seeds of the fear that had blossomed and thorned in themselves. I was not among them. It is the seeming near impossibility of it all, the collision and the coalescence of so many contradictory forces, defying all likelihood, that raises these questions, that urges this enquiry. In nothing being as it should have been, it was precisely as it had to be. In nothing seeming as it was, everything appeared just as portended; exactly as was written, etched, indelibly, on the windowpanes of eternity.
Was I by pantheistic destiny – at a specific time in number, star, planet, and position – at a specific place in latitude, longitude, and interval – fashioned a life, alike in every element, unalike in every nuance? Not a hero. Heroes are but champions, bound to cause and to constituency, in whose images they serve. Yet also not an anti-hero. Divergent, aberrant, outlaw, rebel – 独马单抢空做去 – One horse, one spear, daring even the void. With precepts all my own, no guide, no guru, no path, questing, never finding, not here, upon the plain, but in the mirage beyond, on the mountaintop above. Self-cultivated, multi-hyphenated hybrid – poet-warrior-sorcerer-sage. Born in hell, though heaven striving, to escape the hurt, to quell the rage, I became alone. The freedom fettered to a greater freedom is but a fear of freedom. Freedom does not fear isolation. Able to withdraw from others, feeling no need whatsoever for their care, their celebrity, their charm, their companionship, their company, their compassion, their concern, their conversation, their curiosity, I am truly free. In silence and in solitude, finding serenity rather than loneliness, I am indomitably free. In being alone, fearlessness eludes the infectious influence of those deluded. Only when alone may one learn to heal oneself, to heal another. In the comfort of my seclusion, I have been released from the confining attachment to others. Reaching, never grasping; embracing, never clinging; everything I touch, opens unto me, to hold, but never to possess. In detachment, I have come to know my true inviolability, my unerring vulnerability, my unassailable insuperability. No family, no friends, no home, no country – my constant companions became exile, compassion, sagacity, tolerance. Passion, joy, and sorrow are feelings; emotion, only fear. A hermit with a lantern, my mysticism; my belief, enlightenment eventual through individual sensual contemplation and cultivation of a power not my own; interest, fascination, infatuation, obsession, all in mystery rather than identity.
Twenty-one divided by three is seven. Seven years to prove my worth. Seven, to find my way. Seven, to pursue that path to the threshold of the Second Octave. With every step, courage is first tested. Desire may not be coerced, but will must ever strive against it. Courage is never easy. Courage is never cautious. The only test of courage is boldness. No leap of faith ever revealed its landing prior to the jump. Courage begins at that point, that instant, when resistance overcomes submission.
The years were short that I endured these daily renditions. As destiny had ordained, I was abandoned at age seven. Seven, precisely, my birthday. The timing was, of course, not accidental, not coincidental. Nothing ever is. And, of course, I could not have failed to sense, at least, its forewarnings. Both my father and my mother had accumulated so many breaches of morality, in violation of the precepts of any spiritual or civil code, together and separately, they had to flee their iniquities. Fearless, though, discontent with the slavery if not the servitude, if not the subservience, I had wished ardently for this very threshold. As so often since, it is wholly likely that, defying reason, I urged the eventuality just as it occurred. In submission, a gauntlet masterfully run, I gained dominance. I brought it upon myself, for myself, for the privilege to live another day, to engage in battle yet again on another field. Again, in the fulfilment of destiny, I made it so.
On my own, abandoned by all but strangers, I came to believe not in what was visible, but in what was sensed, felt. Appearances meant nothing to me. How could they? All that I had known had been counterfeit, deception, mirage. Only the invisible was real, that which could be ascertained through predestined sensual perspicacity. Even memories were suspect. Memories, once recorded in the mind, loose their accompanying feelings, rendering any recall of those memories devoid of feeling. Only empty shells of raw data remain. Deprived of feeling, the nibbles of data are dipped in the candied frosting of communal hysteria, rendering when set a veneer of contrived emotion upon that morsel of either fact or fiction. If m&m’s come to mind, then you have the right idea. The mind is incapable of feeling, as feelings are sensual responses. It is not satisfied with sterile information, though, for it has no power either to persuade or to dissuade. Manipulation requires the motivation of advantage sought, benefit gained, however unscrupulously acquired. Emotions short-circuit both the mind and one’s genuine feelings. The feelings can be trusted. The mind, usually so. The emotions, never. Belief alone determines reality. Belief determined by perception; determined by point of vantage; determined by sense or senses engaged.
Naturally, to orient myself, in my world of solitude, dependent upon no one, obedient to no one, fearing no one, I sought other sources and devices to get and to keep my bearings. First, I developed an indelible memory for numbers. Not only the numbers themselves, but their significance, was important to me. The mental manoeuvring of numbers became involuntary, so adept did I become with their addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. To my synaesthetic interpretation of sensual detail, I added numerical value. At a very young age, I learned the Ogham alphabet of the Celts; the tree and stone lore of the Druids; the Tarot, in all the overlapping significances of its numerology, its suits, its court cards, its major and minor arcana. In everything, I saw an omen, not as cause for fear, but as a sign which might further or more precisely qualify a configuration of other signs or events already present and observed.
As I had no preconceived notion of anything suggested by anyone of import to me, I was devoid of prejudice. Personal experiences would encourage preferences, but neither fear nor intolerance nor bias had any influence upon me. I was blind to colour, to race, to ethnicity, to socio-economic condition. Perhaps owing to my own ethnic origin, together with its associated cultural norms, I fancied one thing or type over another; but, again, these came to me naturally and personally. Language had a lot to do with it. My first language was North Welsh; my second, French; my third, reluctantly, English, or Saxon, as I call it still. For the language of my blood, I possessed no chauvinistic ardour, but neither did I feel it in any way inferior to the language of its conquerer. French was always a bridge through and around English. It is still very much the language of my poetic heart, if not my philosophical mind.
There is no sin without guilt; no guilt without shame; no shame without fear; no fear without servility. No truth for the poet but that soaked in blood. Battling always at the limits of limitlessness and tomorrow, my errors are my own.
Long before I knew what it meant, my father called me, Marquis, guardian of the marches.