Roswila's Dream & Poetry Realm

SEE ALSO: TRYING TO HOLD A BOX OF LIGHT (photos, realistic to abstract)

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

REVIEW OF "'TIMEKEEPER" by John Atkinson

A novel by John Atkinson
Publisher: Fisher King Press
ISBN 9780977607655 (ISBN 10: 0977607658)
248 pp. 2008, 1st Edition Hard Cover

“Timekeeper” is not an easy novel to review, nor is it an easy read. Atkinson has written a deeply personal journey that at the same time has managed to resonate through my own life, and I imagine the lives of many other readers.

The specifics of this tale – a horrifically abused and now barely teenaged boy, who escapes from his family home to search for what he feels is missing within himself – are movingly and skillfully related in the voice of this amazingly open and committed young soul. All along the way of this start to his individuation journey - his vision quest - he meets a wide array of characters, each briefly but tellingly. There’s a Medicine Man who gives him the name Timekeeper, a classic Hermit in The Tarot, a Christ-like figure, and so on. Johnnyboy, as he was called by his mother, is himself a classic Fool in the Tarot, complete with his dog to help him.

What I found intriguing and somewhat unusual was the economy of Atkinson’s writing. Nothing is belabored, and yet nothing is given short-shrift. The briefest recounting carries full weight. For a writer like myself who can go on at length I particularly admire this style of first person writing.

However, writing style aside, it’s the story itself that is so valuable and moving. How this young soul chooses to seek and grow at each turning of his path, never succumbing totally to the effects of his brutal upbringing. Nor even to his inability to read, another challenge he faces and begins to take on.

This book raised for me a question I and other survivors of childhood abuse have often ruminated over: how is it some take on that pain and continually transform it, while others simply pass it on becoming abusers themselves. The answer may be different for each survivor. And the answer in this story may be his mother’s love, a small speck around which his growth could form. Speaking of his mother, I do hope Atkinson further explores that relationship in the sequel he is writing. Again from my own experience and from hearing the stories of other abuse survivors, there is often much we need to work through even with a parent who’d been loving. I hasten to add this is not a lack in the Timekeeper book, just my curiosity with respect to Johhnyboy’s continuing journey beyond the time frame of this novel.

For those interested in Jungian psychology I especially recommend this book. But anyone interested in going on and learning from a vision quest with a young, determined, just beginning to open and heartening soul as their guide, this book will be an extremely worthwhile read.

* * * *

‘til next time, keep dreaming,

**** [aka: Patricia Kelly] **** If you wish to copy or use any of my writing or poems, please email me for permission (under “View my complete profile”)****My other blogs: ROSWILA’S TAROT GALLERY & JOURNAL and ROSWILA’S TAIGA TAROT, and Yahoo DREAMJIN: Group for Dreamku – Haiku-Like Dream Poems ****

Monday, March 01, 2010


When I started to say it was another rough month (albeit with signs of change), I recalled what other folk on our planet are going through with earthquakes, snowstorms, tsunamis, economic recessions, etc. And was reminded to be even more than usually grateful. We did see some increase in water levels in our harbors here during that recent tsunami alert, but that was more a matter of interest for most of us and some brief inconvenience for boat owners who had to get their vessels out of harbors for a while to be sure they were safe.

Given all this, I won’t complain. I’ll simply let the ‘kus and photos speak for themselves.


[PLEASE NOTE that in most browsers you can click on the image for a larger version.]

February 1, 2010

I imagine it lifting me the large curvy tree branch

[old one-liner (monoku) on an old dream of 1-4-07. Wrote this on my birthday, three years ago. And, as with most of these old dream/ku I've been posting I can still very clearly recall the dream, that yearning to be lifted up. Image by Roswila]

February 2, 2010

if she doesn't push
she'll regain all of her vision
impatient seer

[old dreamku on an old dream of 4-18-08. Image by Roswila (Yeah, that photo is a self-portrait of sorts; fooling around with the three way mirror in my new rooms)]

February 3, 2010

he says the invasion
is for her own good
deluded martian

[old dreamku on an old dream of 5-1-06. Image by Roswila]

February 4, 2010


my former roommate
and I share a narrow bed
her surprise visit

she moves me taking
my hand and talking softly
we switch sides

I wake with great pain
in my right hand and shoulder
wondering if she came
after all this time to alert me
to this bone deep aching

[two dreamku and a tanka on a dream of 2-3-10. This is an example of a prodromal dream. A dream that is telling us something about our bodies. In this case, the very real intense pain I occasionally get in my right shoulder and hand when I sleep on my right side. Most prodromal dreams I’ve read about have given the dreamer warning about a developing physical illness. That sort I’ve not had – at least that I’ve been aware of. But it’s not unusual for me to have a dream that reflects the conditions in which I’m sleeping. (E.g., back in my teens I dreamed I was hugely pregnant and woke with the our family’s small dachshund sleeping curled up on my stomach.) It is always possible this dream about my actual former roommate has “meaning” beyond getting me to change my sleeping position. After all, why did my dreaming mind choose her and not some other person, or even a make up character or other sort of action, for this task? Image by Roswila]

February 5, 2010


the plan was for an
all white western style outfit
my wedding gown

it doesn’t look quite right
I delay the ceremony
to choose better clothes

who can I trust to hold
my small black shoulder bag
it would stand out
far too much against a white
skirt and cowboy themed shirt

at last, the best outfit!
punk style, black skirt, white jacket,
plunging black and silver
down the streamlined neck line:
now I can hold my own bag

[two dreamku and two tanka on a dream of 2-2-10. Image by Roswila]

February 6, 2010


woodland book cover
a young dark centaur looks back
over his shoulder

the title appears
in white cyrillic style script
on the shadowed painting:
“She Saw Two Dragons
Fly Out of His Ears”

[dreamku and tanka on a dream of 2-5-10. I laughed on recalling this dream and thought what a relief to have a totally silly dream for a change. Image by Roswila]

February 7, 2010

mickey mouse ears
cut from construction paper
two complete sets
I put on a pair to show a friend
they’re more like blue hearts

[tanka on a dream of 2-6-10. Image by Roswila]

February 8, 2010

trenchant sayings
all in an orderly stack
the most important
the last: Not Permissible,
Pain For Pain’s Sake Only

[tanka on a dream of 2-7-10. Image by Roswila]

February 9, 2010


we quietly wait
in a long outdoor line
hazy sunlight

bowl-shaped and woven
with a faint iridescence
the drum I pick up

spontaneous jam
I join in producing
a fast steady beat

from far down the line
a man sings softly along
do I know him

I try drumming on
the small round base of the bowl
inside approach
the best reverb of all
the sunlight brightens

[four dreamku and a tanka on a dream of 2-7-10. Image by Roswila]

February 10, 2010

all her eggs come from
contaminated chickens
he shoots each bird

[dreamku on a dream of 2-9-10. Image by Roswila.]

February 11, 2010

new meaning for the
Rider-Waite-Smith Two of Wands:
This far, and no farther

[dreamku on a dream of 2-10-10. Ah! It's been a long time since the Tarot showed up (at least in an obvious way) in my dreams. This is the card I "saw" in the dream:
from the Rider-Waite-Smith deck. A common name for this card in other decks is "Dominion," which I "heard" referenced in the dream, along with that last line in the dreamku. That last line is a somewhat new slant for me on this card and on the idea of dominion over one's own life. Image above the dreamku, by Roswila]

February 12, 2010


moonlight through windows
we swim up from deep water
beneath the wood floor

covering the floor
a thick oil slick holds us back
is there enough air

telling the others
to stay and wait for me
I dive back down
to look for water tunnels
I recall down there, somewhere

there’s enough air for now
but they decide to follow me
underwater swim

long narrow tunnel of water the way out

[three dreamku, a tanka, and a monoku on a dream of 2-11-10. Image by Roswila]

February 13, 2010

long way down
to keep from falling I grab
my friend’s collar

[old dreamku on an old dream of 10-1-06. Image by Roswila]

February 14, 2010

disposable blades
even shaving cannot prove
they're adult males

[old dreamku on an old dream of 10-16-06. Image by Roswila]

February 15, 2010


two men friends walk up
the narrow canyon trail side
rushing river echos

the larger of the two
needs help when the trail switches sides
a friendly hand across

I await my turn
on a ledge just below them
they haul me up

all three of us
overbalance off the trail
long fall to the river

sweet air whistles by
I take a deep breath thinking
we’ll just start over

deep water plunge
I’m grateful for filled lungs and
for missing the rock walls

[dreamku series on a dream of 2-14-10. Image by Roswila]

February 16, 2010

a huge field of folk
burrow under the surface
fellow prey

[old dreamku on an old dream of 9-16-07. The image I chose? Those crows had flown up from bird seed feeders on the ground when startled by a passerby. But I'm also sort of playing with reversing the image from one of underground to one way above ground and how might those be similar? Image by Roswila]

February 17, 2010


we carefully plan
and execute stealing her
child and infant back
the cult’s control tight but not
total or unshakable

the task now how to
free her from their ancient grip
twilight spreads

we bait her with food her rising hunger

[a tanka, dreamku, and monoku on a dream of 2-16-10. Image by Roswila]

February 18, 2010

the dangling pearl's
an ancient poverty sign
protected portal

[old dreamku on an old dream of 7-26-07. I'm associating to the parable of the "pearl of great price." Yeah, I get it now. Sigh. No wonder I chose this dream/ku to post today. That is, only the search for spiritual growth and effort that costs us everything is worth anything at all; offers any safety at all -- when there's nothing to lose, one is safe. I.e., giving all attachments up we gain all. So, can I rest now, please? That was not easy to take in. The portal did not open readily to that understanding. Ah! Maybe the protected portal was representing my resistance. And so another dream's layers peel away, like those accreted to make a pearl. Image by Roswila]

February 19, 2010


my last employer
gifts me with a silver-toned
light metal necklace
why this generosity
when she never liked me much

it takes a lot
of trial and error
unfolding it just right
I’m all thumbs as I fit
the knife next to my throat

the etched designs swirl the edge no danger

[two tanka and a monoku on a dream of 2-18-10. Image (St. Michael's Church) by Roswila]

February 20, 2010


an endless journey
I don’t recall getting off
the long distance bus

in the small town
I climb a hill toward tracks
freight trains only

turning back I’m awed
by the setting sun behind
a pink petaled tree
I clutch for my camera
but can’t take any photos

I escape, tumbling
through a basement window
room of unbaled cotton

no safety even
in this deeply buffered space
looming messy man

he tries to catch me
but I elude his dark grasp
I gather my gifts

holding my treasures
I enter a sunlit room
middle-aged men

a tall blonde man
stands closely behind me
what’s his intention

I chatter on about
a small trinket in my hand
he backs off angry

a woman’s also
angry I’d not responded
to his come-on
no understanding for my
intense insecurities

I yell at her and
she scrambles under a bed
same old impasse

[dreamkus and tankas on a dream of 2-18-10. Image by Roswila]

February 21, 2010

the wounded boy’s voice
rises high above the wind
a sweet soprano
“I live like an iris
in a lava flow”

[new tanka on an old dream of 8-14-06. I originally wrote and posted a Tarot dreamku on this dream: “the lava flow/parts around the iris/temperance,” as the dream has strong images that appear on The Temperance card in The Tarot. However, in going over my dreamku notebooks recently I felt there’s a lot more to this dream I wanted to record, so I wrote the above tanka. Image by Roswila]

February 22, 2010

she's fired, meanwhile Dad
sneaks a smoke in the shower
I turn a blind eye

[dreamku on a dream of 2-21-10. Image by Roswila]

February 23, 2010


cloudy morning
I start walking on dockside
toward the dining room

a male acquaintance
greets and walks along with me
pre-breakfast stroll
the clouds gather darkening
above the choppy water

he needs help
I lift him on my back
and trudge onward

the sky looms black
I stop abruptly in my tracks
“It’s a twister,” I say
“and headed right toward us,
duck and cover, right now!”

we hit the dock
as I hide my head I see flames
in the twister’s heart

whirling wind, water
and flame skims over us
is my friend all right

I peer back over my shoulder my friend’s smile

[four dreamku, two tanka, and a monoku on a dream of 2-22-10. Image by Roswila]

February 24, 2010

the front door blocked
the fireplace barricaded
there's still no stopping it

[old dreamku on an old dream of 8-25-06. Image by Roswila -- In choosing this photo, I'm playing on closed/open, and the inevitability of changes. That rose garden goes through constant changes (big and small) year round.]

February 25, 2010


tricky dream
of a van that should be wet
dry as a bone

of an old lady who’s
afraid to swim but wades right in
my fancy new clothes

of the steep bank from
which I jump feet first in the flood
how will I fare

of arm over arm
hurting but the side-stroke’s a cinch
so, now what?

[dreamku series on a dream of 2-25-10. Image by Roswila.]

February 26, 2010


Mother Dragon’s claws
are folded fuchsia and huge
cold grey castle

they are lined up prone
I have to look up to see
Her talons’ rounded tops

within their curves rest
many smaller fuchsia claws
Her sleeping babes

[dreamku series of a dream of 2-25-10. This is one of those dreams that I enjoy purely for the imagery. Image by Roswila]

February 27, 2010

from her earthbound stance
she reaches to put a tag on
a sky satellite
it spins trailing the small flag
as she completes her night’s work

[tanka written a couple of weeks ago on a failed dream/ku from April 2003. Image by Roswila]

February 28, 2010

her gorgeous new clothes:
African motif, earthy tones
with matching headband
I comment from the toilet
unconcerned with my exposure

[tanka on a dream of 2-27-10. Image by Roswila (B-Lounge, Friendship Manor, where I live).]

* * * *

‘til next time, keep dreaming,

**** [aka: Patricia Kelly] **** If you wish to copy or use any of my writing or poems, please email me for permission (under “View my complete profile”)****My other blogs: ROSWILA’S TAROT GALLERY & JOURNAL and ROSWILA’S TAIGA TAROT, and Yahoo DREAMJIN: Group for Dreamku – Haiku-Like Dream Poems ****