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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 8, Number 4, December 2014


Ken Jones
Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Wales

Room of Dreams

What is memory?
a tumble of teddy bears
gathering dust

This was once his play room, forgotten and frozen in time since the nineteen thirties. Now, in the twenty-first century, it has become his sick room, joining together the two ends of his life.

It is dominated still by the personalities of its teddy bears. There is the big home-made, self-made one in faded crimson.

Trying to stare him down
a cross-eyed teddy
his bold black stitching

The intellectual leans with his back to the window, monocle picked out in black embroidery thread, his authority diminished by leaking stuffing. And wedged upright between "Alice in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass" is Dandy Bear, a smooth, short haired bear with a purple ribbon round its neck. He recalls his Sunday School mystification of "the child she bear".

Huddling in a corner are his long dead sister's dolls, like a bevy of bashful virgins at the far end of a dance hall. The teddies are, of course, eunuchs, but there is that grinning golliwog on the mantel piece.

In the cupboard is a pile of photo albums, embalming memory year on year. It stops at the year two thousand, when he flung his camera into the river, because it solidified a no longer existent past. "There is no time—only time embodied teddies" he exclaimed.

Brownie Box Camera
his dead mother's anxious face
reproaching him in dreams

His intervening sixty years have been lively and eventful. But now, better his living dreams than a past surviving only in sepia photographs, the diaries of an alter ego, and his own failing recollections. And the playroom of the past.

In his dreams
he spurs his piebald rocking horse
galloping nowhere



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