A Dream

Yesterday, I spent some time going through old photographs. Among the dozens of pictures of my daughter at two or three years old I found some shots I had taken in 1986 out at Paekakariki at the old railway yards. There were huge rusted cogs and axles, unidentifiable tanks and boilers, carriages and tenders. Old machinery interested me around that time and railway engines, especially those that ran on stream, have always fascinated me.  Over the last few days, too, I have been working on a piece that recalls a movie that I saw when I was eight years old about a train. In fact, my reason for going through the photographs was to find a picture of me at about that age.

wheels Boiler BigCogs-Small

Last night I had a dream, which seems to connect these images to the business of writing about my own past.  

I was in an old part of a city, a yard or the space where a factory had been pulled down and the rubble cleared away. I was messing around with a piece of machinery. It had a small, rusty boiler – the red surface dotted with big rivet heads like blisters – and a long thin pipe, kinked into a couple of right angles. I wasn’t trying to fix this thing; I just wanted to figure out how it worked. I unscrewed or twisted the end of the pipe. There was a gurgle and, suddenly, a jet of liquid shot out into my face. I flinched aside and the liquid kept on going, spraying right across the yard like a fire hose and splattering against a wall. My face was dripping and the right shoulder of my shirt was soaked through. I was scared for a moment that the liquid might be corrosive but there was no burning. The people with me managed to turn off the flow but they were worried about what I had done.

Then a young man arrived. He looked like Dan Carter and he worked for the corporation that owned the machine. I knew I was wrong to have fiddled with it and I was worried I would have to pay for breaking it. The young man wasn’t bothered about damage to the machine, however. It was only the escaped liquid that mattered. I told him that it did not seem to have done me any harm. Suddenly, I realised I was speaking with a Yorkshire accent.

The young man pointed to an area of ground behind me – flat but covered with rough grass. He told me there were plans to build a church there but now there was a problem. Maybe the liquid was dangerous. How could they build a church on what might be contaminated ground?

Makes perfect sense. Right?

One Response to “A Dream”

  1. Emma Neale Says:

    ‘Hypnogogia’ might be a good poem to link here? Tangential, but nevertheless, still in the zone of dream…

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