1 EAGLETON NOTES: Feed Your Enemies' Children!



Monday, 17 October 2011

Feed Your Enemies' Children!

The wind and rain are beating ceaselessly and noisily on my (double-glazed) windows.  There is half an hour to go until midnight.   I'm sitting in bed.  I was out this evening for dinner. 

Thus did I start a post last night.  And that was as far as I got.

I was going to go on and quote from Keats' Ode to a Nightingale and his reference therein to the River Lethe:
MY heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
  My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
  One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:

But I'm afraid that I fell into the river faster than I'd intended.

At 0520 this morning I woke to the rain still beating ferociously on my bedroom window and the occasional flash of lightning lighting up the room.

What triggered my thoughts on the River Lethe was the fact that I've not had any nightmares recently.  Dreams, yes.  Nightmares, no.  That's definitely a Good Thing so far as I am concerned.

This morning when I woke, though, I woke with a thought in my mind about which I had been having a mental discussion in my sleep - a really odd feeling.  The thought was 'Always feed the children of your enemies'.  How weird is that?  It was set in the situation of a civil war and it was the legitimate government who was doing the feeding of the children of the rebels.

It was a very real discussion too.  I can even recall some of the arguments.  My proposition (I was arguing for the proposition that one should always feed the children of one's enemies) was that if one fed their children then there was less chance the children would turn against one and that it was the 'right' thing to do in any case.  Children should not be made to suffer for the transgressions of their parents.  Not, I seem to recall, a view biblically supported in the injunction that the sins of the fathers shall be visited upon the children.  Nevertheless......

If anyone can make any sense of all that then 'You are a better man than I am Gunga Din'.  That's the second time I've used that quote in as many days.  Strange place this world I inhabit.  You too?


  1. When I read the heading I thought it was going to be about feeding the pigeons!

    Glad your nightmares have abated but you have some weird dreams!

  2. Must be the Eides of October, on a similar vein I have a Mother in Law (Who has not) whom for years I have felt some responsibility to help out, always aware that as the second Husband I am not really accepted, and taught my children the importance of caring for and helping out Grand Parents and other Family Members.
    Tonight I rang a Brother in Law to ask if I could borrow an item.
    his wife on hearing my request said "I have heard about your borrowings", from MOl no doubt "things not returned or returned broken" be aware I am very careful not to borrow anything from MOL. problem now is should I now stop feeding the enemy (Mowing the MOLS lawn each week for free and other jobs to help her out and avoid her at all cost?
    And yes Brain injury does often make for spectacular realistic dreams

  3. Well Geeb. I think it DOES make sense to feed the children of thine enemies. Sort-of. But what's more interesting is that I'm getting a very real sense of that 'obviousness' one gets in dreams. It's as though you suddenly realise something that is an Absolute Truth, and it seems like the lights have gone on... Bing!

    I get the most fabulous art ideas in my dreams. But they are not usually QUITE so brilliant when I wake up.

  4. My theoretical charity doesn't quite go that far, CJ. I use the word theoretical because, in practice, the pigeons get a pretty hefty share of what goes out for the birds.

    Dad, I'm not sure that the feeding of children in my dream could be extended to Mothers in Law (although I don't have one so I can say that with impunity!). I'm afraid I don't even have the excuse of a brain injury upon which to blame my dreams.

    Katherine, this was an odd one in that it did have a sort of epiphanaic (sorry) quality.

  5. I think most of us have epiphanies in our dreams which turn out to be rather more mundane in reality - such as my recent amazing realisation that things, actually, can be different colours from what you thought. But when the feeling of significance lingers then I think perhaps there is some significance of which you're unaware. They sometimes trigger off stories and having written the stories I can then see what the issue actually is. - I'll send you one if you contact me offline)

    If you're not into writing stories, then I guess you just have to keep wondering. Latterly, I've been waking up with tunes running incessantly in my head. Today it's "How Vile are the Sordid Intrigues of the Town".

  6. Don't you just wish that you could programme your brain for what you want to dream about?

    I'm a nightmare sufferer too...not nice!


  7. Does the lack of nightmares support my theory that the cause may be that you were too warm in bed?

  8. I have sometimes solved problems or come to realize truths in my dreams. So I usually find it worth while to "ponder" even the ones that may seem just weird at first.

    I have to point out that the Bible actually goes further than to just feed the children of the enemy:
    'If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink' and 'love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you'. The first from Proverbs and quoted by Paul in the letter to the Romans. The second said by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. For example. I suspect your subconscious mind remembers that even if your also remember the seemingly contradictory stuff!

  9. Jenny: I've emailed you separately. On the subject of the tune in your head I have to say that, although my musical tastes are very catholic, that's a little on the early side for me.

    SP: I certainly would like to be able to programme my brain not to have dreams! I feel for you as a fellow nightmare sufferer. One of my nieces also suffers. She (being a Doctor) wondered if it was a genetic issue.

    Certainly, Sue, I've had fewer nightmares since i returned to the relative cool of Lewis! I wouldn't discount that theory yet.

    Of course, Monica, we have talked about dreams but I've never found a conclusion in my mind. The Bible is, as you know and say, absolutely riddled with contradictions enabling anyone to cite it for or against their particular argument. I quoted that which I did simply because it popped into my head.

  10. Well Graham in this dream you do seem to have drawn a conclusion; what may have caused it is another question. (Just watching the news on TV might be reason enough!)

    Your dream says something about you; for me that something does not clash with my interpretation of the basic message of the Bible: which for me is more about love, hope and mercy than condemnation. So was your dream; and so, I believe, is your heart. That's really what I wanted to say.

  11. Love the line 'Always feed the children of your enemies'. Pretty profound statement in your dream. Only confirms my belief that you are a good person.
    I've come to realize lately that I need to be mindful of what I watch on tv before sleeping.

  12. Dreams and what they might or might not mean is something so personal, and at the same time so open to interpretation they make for good blog posts (unless they are too personal, such as dreams with an erotic component which I don't think I would share on my blog).
    For me, dreams come and go in "clusters" - sometimes I can not remember any for weeks or months on end, and then I have a phase where I dream something "significant" every night for several nights in a row.

  13. Thanks for your thoughts and comments Monica, Lisa and Meike.

    I like the way that you look at the Bible, Monica. I would like to take a similar view. Unfortunately many do not and concentrate on the violence and retribution and have as a mantra 'for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God' and slaughter anyone who disagrees. But, as I said, my comment was not intended to be taken that seriously.

    Meike I rarely can recall a dream once I've been awake for more than a few seconds. On the whole I regard that as a Good Thing.