David Myatt

David Myatt

Given his weird Faustian peregrinations, much has been written (mostly negatively, and both past and present) about David Myatt, although there is no denying that he was, and is, “a British iconoclast who has lived a somewhat itinerant life”, {1} and that he is “one of the more interesting figures on the British neo-Nazi scene since the 1970s” {2}.

That Myatt’s post-2011 philosophy of pathei-mathos is firmly rooted in both European paganism and Greco-Roman culture {3} is further evidence that his roots – despite his experiential forays into Islam (both Sunni and Shia) and despite his post-2011 denunciations of ‘extremism’ – still are in Western culture. As is so evidenced in Myatt’s translations of and commentaries on the classic Western text titled Corpus Hermeticism. A text important to and part of, the European Renaissance and which texts vivified scholars such as Marsilio Ficino, Renaissance potentates such as Cosimo di Giovanni de Medici, and scientists such as Isaac Newton.

Indeed, Myatt in his Preface to his forthcoming translation of tractate XI of the Corpus Hermeticism, writes that:

“The intention of these translations of mine of various tractates of the Corpus Hermeticum is provide an alternative, and esoteric and essentially pagan Greco-Roman, approach to such ancient texts and hopefully renew interest in them beyond conventional and past interpretations which – based on using terms such as God, Mind, and Soul – makes them appear to be either proto-Christian or imbued with an early Christian weltanschauung.” {4}

In addition, his much-neglected poetry {5} stands as a paeon to both the European land of England and to the life of a Western mystic.

That Myatt’s poetry, his translations of Greek classics {6}, and his pagan philosophy of pathei-mathos, are neglected is perhaps tribute indeed to how so many Western peoples are now, and have been for decades, in thrall to the ethos and propaganda of the anti-Western Magian and their savants.

So, is David Myatt an intellectual, Faustian, and mystic, icon of the pagan soul of the West?

RS
2017

{1} Jon B. Perdue: The War of All the People: The Nexus of Latin American Radicalism and Middle Eastern Terrorism. Potomac Books, 2012. p.70-71.

{2} The Observer, February 9, 2003.

{3} The Mystic Philosophy Of David Myatt. ISBN 978-1523930135. Also available at: https://regardingdavidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/mystic-philosophy-myatt-v1a.pdf

{4} https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2017/02/20/tractate-xi-extract/

{5} qv. https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2011/09/21/relict-a-selection-of-poems/

{6} https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/about/greek-translations/


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David Myatt

David Myatt

David Myatt: Relict

How, will, should, David Myatt be remembered? Premature and recent rumors of his death struck a chord with some of us who – whatever our age, whatever our place of dwelling, and whatever our political inclinations – have somehow in some manner (positive or negative) been affected by his life and by his writings.

But someday, and perhaps soon – give or take a few months, a few years, or perhaps a decade or more – he, now a reclusive uncommunicative mystic, will most assuredly be gone from this our mortal realm. So how should, will, Myatt best be remembered?

For myself I choose his poetry. Or rather that compilation of his poems – titled Relict – which he himself compiled. For there is humanism, a numinosity, the ethos of our Western civilization, presenced in such semi-autobiographical poems as are collected there. As well as the quintessence of what, post-2012, became his mystical, his very personal, his decidedly Western, ‘philosophy of pathei-mathos’.

Thus if he is to be remembered it should, perhaps, be for such so very human, so very civilized, poems. For such poems are such an eloquent rebuke to those who have attempted – or who for private or for political reasons may well continue to attempt – to besmirch him.

Relict
(pdf)

RS
2016


Related:

° Four Forgotten Poems


David Myatt 

The Life Of David Myatt

The poetry of David Myatt is the creative work of a person with an interesting and controversial history. His life, according to one source, is akin to a modern  spiritual “odyssey”, a Siddhartha-like search for truth [1]. According to another source, Myatt is “a British iconoclast who has lived a somewhat itinerant life and has undertaken an equally desultory intellectual quest” [2]; while yet other sources described him as an “extremely violent, intelligent, dark, and complex individual,” [3] and as “arguably England’s principal […] theoretician of revolution.” [4]

My personal view – perhaps a somewhat unpopular one these days – is that one of the aims of Art is to elevate us and raise us up and away from the mundane world, and that all artistic creations should be judged on their merits, so that while the life and former beliefs, political or otherwise, of the artist may be of interest, they should not cloud one’s artistic judgment. In the majority of instances, while the artistic creations are remembered after the death of the artist, their personal beliefs and political opinions are long forgotten.

Outwardly, Myatt’s quest is now reasonably well known [5] – involving as it did, among other things, a study, in the Far East, of Martial Arts; the violence of ultra-nationalist politics; periods as a vagabond; two terms of imprisonment for violence; personal involvement with Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Christianity, Paganism, the Occult; and membership of a once secret military organization, set up by British government during the Cold War, to conduct sabotage and assassinations. In complete contrast, his interior personal life is much less well-known.

It may have been that his first period as a vagabond, in the 1970’s, was prompted, in part, by a series of ultimately unhappy romantic liaisons, one of which led to the young women in question moving abroad where she gave birth to Myatt’s daughter. This series of events does seem to have inspired some of his early poetry, as did his first marriage, which failed when his wife ran off with a younger woman (who, incidentally, was the dedicatee of Myatt’s translation of Sappho’s poetry). His second marriage ended with the death, at the age of 39, of his wife from cancer. The failure of his third marriage led him to spend another period as a homeless vagabond, in the hills and Fells of Cumbria, a period which inspired him to produce more poetry before he returned to writing about that second love of his life, women. For if there are two themes which consistently run through his poetry, they are Nature, and women. Indeed, he once remarked that “I often feel that some women embody the beauty, the numinosity, the joy, the sensuality, of Nature.” [6]

Despite his forays into extremists politics (1968-1998) Myatt’s poetry is decidedly non-political. Similarly, despite his upbringing as a Catholic, his time as a Catholic monk in the 1970’s and his years as a professed Muslim (1998-2009), his poetry is not conventionally religious. If his poetry can be categorized, it is ‘pagan’, Nature-loving, rather mystical, and autobiographical, and seems to me to express “the real Myatt” behind the façade of his various political, religious and other peregrinations over the past four decades.

Hence in order to understand Myatt himself, we might look beyond the many clichés – journalistic and otherwise – that have written about him and turn instead to his poetry. Or rather to the poetry in his published slim collection – taken from the title of the first poem – One Exquisite Silence [7], the poetry he included in his autobiography Myngath, and a few of the poems he himself has rejected [8], writing as he did at the beginning of that One Exquisite Silence collection that

“my poetry was composed between the years 1971-2012, and is of varying quality. Having undertaken the onerous task of re-reading those poems that I still have copies of, there are in my fallible view only around a dozen that I consider may possibly be good enough to be read by others.”


Myatt’s Poetry

What we find expressed in much of this poetry is an introspective yearning for a more natural and a more human way of life; a love of Nature; at times a certain melancholy, and someone who seems to enjoy the company of women far more than the company of men.

For example, regarding women, his poem One Exquisite Silence – written in 2003 – begins:

These are the moments of an exquisite silence
As we lie together on your sofa, holding, pressing
Our bodies together
As I, gently, stroke your face and hair
And you kiss each finger of my hand.
There is a fire of logs to warm us,
As night descends:
There are no words to confuse,
No time, as we flow, together,
As clouds on a warm Summer’s day
Beneath a dome of blue.

While in his Only Time Has Stopped (c.1978) he writes:

Here I have stopped
Because only Time goes on within my dream:
Yesterday I was awoken, again,
And she held me down
With her body warmth
Until, satisfied, I went alone
Walking
And trying to remember:
A sun in a white clouded sky
Morning dawn yellow
Sways the breath that, hot, I exhale tasting of her lips.
The water has cut, deep, into
The estuary bank
And the mallard swims against the flow –
No movement, only effort.

Regarding a certain melancholy, in his 1975 poem Travelling – presumably written during his time as an itinerant – he writes:

Even my water is warm
And suspicious faces watch me
As their owners in gardens surround themselves
With sound:
There seems a rushing in the seeping loud
Music, a barrier
To keep my slow moving solitary travelling world
Away –
I smile, but my beard, my worn clothes –
Perhaps my eyes – mark me.

A few hours
And it is good to be alone again
Among the peace of hills
Where my walking slowness seems to frame
Each slowly passing world:

Above – clouds
To herald some future rain.

In an untitled undated poem – probably dating from the 1980s – and included in his autobiography Myngath he writes:

Like memories, snow falls
With no sound
While I stand as Winter frosts
My feet
And a cold hand holds itself ready
Near a pen:

The birds, though starving, still sing
Here where trees and snow seat themselves
On hill
And the slight breeze beings to break
My piece of silence
Down.

Her love seemed only real
With its loss.

Above the trees, crows cawing
As they swirl
Within the cold

In respect of Nature, in his Apple Blossom in May, composed sometime between the late 1970s and the early 1980s, he writes:

There is a reality about Spring
When grass grows green with the sun:
Days lengthen bringing the warmth
That reassures and one is pleased
To run a hand where wind moves
And blossoms have been blown:

Every hour is unique
When rain stops.
In the town – three hills
And a valley to the left –
Music slithers from a shop
While people rush,
Gathering.
A drill strikes stone
Where youths gather
Sneering at people who pass.

There is a pleasure about Spring
When free grass grows in the sun,
A slowness when wind rushes tree:
Nearby
The curlew and lark
Where sun glints
Upon rain sodden earth:

How are you today, Mr Hughes?
Oh not so bad, you know –
Better for the sun.
Aye, will dry the ground
So we can seed.

Over the fields –
White clouds making faces
In the sun

While in his City Autumn, included in his Gentleman of The Roads, and composed in the 1970s, there is a melancholic mediation on Nature and modern life:

Dawn’s magickal moment when dim light
That strains the eye
Bursts upon a horizon still
Clutching the mist of night:
I was awake, experiencing,
Trying to hold through sleepy eyes
The silence that gave me for a moment
God;
Then the birds, thrusting their song
In the wind
Which snatched trees
Breaking the colours down
Because rain has long rejoiced to seed
This Earth.
I, on a bench

Until the traffic came:
Hard noise that crushed my spell –
Clouds, that promised tomorrow

°°°

What such poems seem to reveal is a quite different person from “the extremely violent, dark,” extremist – a “man of extreme and calculated hatred” [9] – that he has often been portrayed as, especially as the poems range in date from the 1970s to 2009 and thus encompass his decades of political activism and his time as a radical Muslim.

His autobiography Myngath, and recent essays such as his The Development Of The Numinous Way, provide some clues as to this apparent disparity between ‘the man of violence’ – the extremist – and the poet. Of his move toward becoming a Catholic monk in the 1970s he writes in Myngath that

“for a long time I had, in pursuit of some ideology – what I would later describe as a causal abstraction – controlled an aspect of my character: my almost naive sensitivity, my empathy, my rather boyish enthusiasm. But now this aspect came again to live, on a daily basis, so that I, perhaps rather foolishly, took to walking the streets of Leeds barefoot, and smiling like some village idiot; so pleased, so very pleased, to be alive; so happy with the blueness of the sky, the warmth of the Sun, the ineffable beauty of life itself.”

In his 6th July 2006 essay Existence Without End – written just over a month after the suicide of his partner in May of that year – he, then still living on an English farm, wrote that

“it is so beautifully warm, this Sun, taking away for a while the sadness of the sleepless night when dreams and memories of Fran kept me, often weeping and often silently hunched by the window, listening to the rain. No music of mine, then, as I yearned to capture, to express, the almost despairing sadness of it all. There were only words; only words such as these, and not for the first time I gently envied those gifted with the talent of musical composition. But no words can express what the sounds of numinous music can and sometimes have expressed, and I was left to sigh and close my eyes to try and dream such memories of happier days as have kept me alive as the days since her death turned first to a week and then to a month, no God to bring forth the comfort and the love so desired, so needed in the bleakness of that, of this, long night.

But this Sun brings something, while it lasts – something strange: a quite quiet remembrance of the joys and beauty of life when personal love lived to suffuse us with both happiness and dreams – no death to tear us apart. Yet how many times, how often and how stupidly, did I turn away from the sharing of such love – from its value, its humanity, its goodness known only, valued only, felt only, with its loss, with such a loss as this? Turned away from – for what? Some hard, unforgiving, inhuman ideal. Turned away from – too many times these past thirty years so that a storm now wells up inside me as the clouds of the night grew, waiting to break in a tempest of tears. So stupid, the man that I was, and maybe still am.”

Bereavement

Some years after the suicide of his fiancée in 2006, Myatt composed the two poems which are possibly his most poignant and beautiful, both of which I reproduce in full. The first is Dark Clouds Of Thunder, written in 2010,

The moment of sublime knowing
As clouds part above the Bay
And the heat of Summer dries the spots of rain
Still falling:
I am, here, now, where dark clouds of thunder
Have given way to blue
Such that the tide, turning,
Begins to break my vow of distance
Down.

A women, there, whose dog, disobeying,
Splashes sea with sand until new interest
Takes him where
This bearded man of greying hair
No longer reeks
With sadness.

Instead:
The smile of joy when Sun of Summer
Presents again this Paradise of Earth
For I am only tears, falling

The second – and his last poem – is The Sun, The City, composed in New York city in 2012:

°°°

The Sun, the city, to wear such sadness down
For I am only one among the many
Where a night-of-dreams becomes unreal
With all that is human living, dwelling,
Faster slower slowing grateful hateful hoping loving
Here:
No Time to relay the inner rush of sorrow
That breaks, broken, by some scheming need to-be
Since the 1-train, conveying, is here to grace me
In perspective.

But there are moments, to still,
When – tasks, duty – done
That inner quietness betrays
So that I sit where

The Sun of English Summer
Would could bring me down
There where the meadow grass had grown
Green greener drier keener
And farm’s field by hedge with scent
Would keep me still but sweating –
No cider to induce
Then that needed paradisal-sleep.

And now: now I only this all this,
One being cavorting where one past melds
To keep me silent, still, so that the sidewalk
Is only that sidewalk, there
Where hope, clustering, fastly moves us
On.
Good, bad, indifferent – it makes no difference:
I am no one to judge so many, any,
So that there is – becomes – only the walk faster slower slowing here
And we free in Sun to trust to sleep to-be to seep a dream
Bought at some cost, to many:

Fidelis ad Mortem

And yet there is the Sun, the city, to witness how we can should must
Break
Such sadness down.

°°°

In this latter poem, with its subtle invocation of the debt owed to the NYPD, its phrase that he is “no one to judge so many, any”, and its remembrance of the fields of an English farm while on the subway train that travels between Riverdale and Manhattan, Myatt encapsulates everything that he has learned about himself and the modern world since the death of his partner. Which is the tolerant acceptance, the personality humility, and the desire not to impersonally interfere, that form the foundation of his philosophy of pathei-mathos, a philosophy developed by him from the personal suffering and grief the death of his partner caused him.

Reading these two poems leads me to understand why Myatt felt he had to stop writing poetry and reject nearly all of his previous poems:

“Of all my profuse poetic scribblings, I can find only half a dozen or so that I can bear to re-read and which are, in my opinion, good. Some others may just be passable, but there are many – the majority, again in my opinion – which are lacking in either style or profoundity, or both, and which perhaps should be forgotten…” [10]


Conclusion

If David Myatt is to be remembered, it should ideally be for his poetry – and his translation of and commentary on the Pymander and Ιερός Λόγος tractates of the Corpus Hermeticum, and his philosophy of pathei-mathos – rather than for his political or religious writings, his past political associations, or his quest among the religions of the world. For in my view the poems in his own One Exquisite Silence collection, included in Myngath, and those few others in collections such as DW Myatt: Some Rejected Poems, are the very personal and revealing words of man who for decades veered between two types of living – the life of a poet, philosopher, mystic, and the life of a committed, sometimes violent, ideologue and activist – but who in the end seems to have been redeemed, because as he put it [11] of pathei-mathos; by having finally and irretrievably been compelled to choose the former type of living, with his poem The Sun, The City, a fitting epitaph to his strange peregrinations.


J. R. Wright
(Second, Revised, Edition 2016)

[1] Kaplan, Jeffrey (2000). Encyclopedia of White Power: A Sourcebook on the Radical Racist Right. Rowman & Littlefield, p. 216ff; p.512f

[2] Jon B. Perdue: The War of All the People: The Nexus of Latin American Radicalism and Middle Eastern Terrorism. Potomac Books, 2012. p.70-71.

[3] Raine, Susan. The Devil’s Party (Book review). Religion, Volume 44, Issue 3, July 2014, pp. 529-533.

[4] Michael, George. The New Media and the Rise of Exhortatory Terrorism. Strategic Studies Quarterly (USAF), Volume 7 Issue 1, Spring 2013.

[5] Myatt provides an overview of his life in his autobiography, Myngath: Some Recollections of a Wyrdful and Extremist Life, published in 2013. ISBN 9781484110744

[6] The Greatest Joy, The Greatest Sadness. Letter by Myatt to JRW, 2002. Included in JR Wright: Selected Letters of David Myatt, 2002-2008, e-text (pdf), 2009.

[7] One Exquisite Silence (ISBN 978-1484179932), later republished by him for some reason under the title Relict (ISBN 978-1495448386)

[8] My selection of his rejected poems includes Apple Blossom in May and Hermit Tent (from his 1980s ‘Gentleman Of The Road’ collection and both written in the 1970s), Was There Ever Such A Bliss As This (written in 2009), One Moment, Moving (written in 2010), A Warm Day One Spring (written in 1984), Travelling (written in 1975) and The Returning (written in 1984).

This selection is available as an e-text (pdf) under the title DW Myatt: Some Rejected Poems.

 

[9] Searchlight, July 2000. That issue of the long-standing anti-fascist magazine was devoted to Copeland and the London nail-bombings, with the article about Myatt appearing under the headline David Myatt: Theoretician of Terror.

In his 2012 essay Pathei-Mathos: Genesis of My Unknowing Myatt wrote

There are no excuses for my extremist past, for the suffering I caused to loved ones, to family, to friends, to those many more, those far more, ‘unknown others’ who were or who became the ‘enemies’ posited by some extremist ideology. No excuses because the extremism, the intolerance, the hatred, the violence, the inhumanity, the prejudice were mine; my responsibility, born from and expressive of my character; and because the discovery of, the learning of, the need to live, to regain, my humanity arose because of and from others and not because of me […]

I feel I now quite understand why, in the past, certain individuals disliked – even hated – me, given my decades of extremism: my advocacy of racism, fascism, holocaust denial, and National-Socialism.”

[10] Private hand-written letter by Myatt, addressed to JR Wright, dated 25.vii.08.

[11] “The discovery of, the learning of, the need to live, to regain, my humanity arose because of and from others and not because of me.” Pathei-Mathos: Genesis of My Unknowing (2012).



 

David Myatt

David Myatt

DW Myatt: Some Rejected Poems
(pdf)

From the intro by JRW:

{quote} In [his] Introduction to his published slim volume of poetry – One Exquisite Silence (ISBN 978-1484179932), later republished under the title Relict (ISBN 978-1495448386) – David Myatt wrote that:

“My poetry was composed between the years 1971-2012, and is of varying quality. Having undertaken the onerous task of re-reading those poems that I still have copies of, there are in my fallible view only around a dozen that I consider may possibly be good enough to be read by others. This collection contains these few poems, and most are autobiographical in nature.”

I include here those of his rejected poems which in my view are indeed “good enough to be read by others”. {/quote}


800px-Cumulus_clouds_panorama

 

Clouds in the Sky

 
The one of understanding, feeling the timeless nature of Existence,
Does not exhort, nor preach, nor hold fast to any dogma:
They are Silent,
Pointing to the clouds in the sky.

For each must find their own goal, in their own time:
They who understand only guide those who earnestly seek,
Those whose time for understanding has come.

The tranquillity of life is in understanding of self,
For thereby comes acceptance of the illusion of Existence:
And they who are tranquillity become thus all life,
Realizing the folly of action breeding violence.
Yet they who are all life are Being, become –
Waiting with tranquillity for the coming of death.

With discarding of self comes the realization of eternity bringing sadness
And with the realization of eternity comes the tranquillity of compassion.
For they who are compassion merge with all existence
And live thus in the wisdom of sorrow bringing tears.


Yet they who cry know also the laughter of the moment:
Blown away by the wind like the clouds in the sky.
Thus does the seeker of the goal that is no goal
Realize the unwisdom of words:
Understanding wind in clouds in the sky.

Those who transcend self by their many errors of experience –
Understanding thus the serenity of silence –
Need no outward chattel
For they are richer than all the riches of Earth.
Thus do they who quest after transcendence become still,
A falling leaf turned Autumn brown
Following the wind of the moment:
Neither clinging to, nor striving against,
The force of existence ever a dream in the end.

They who are still
Seek not the folly of the wisdom of worship,
Nor the secrecy of shrines:
For their temple is a swaying branch in a glade of trees
Resting on a high hill beneath the wind-blown clouds in the sky;
And their prayer is Silence.

DW Myatt
(Written 1975 CE)


one-city5

The Sun, The City

 

The Sun, the city, to wear such sadness down
For I am only one among the many
Where a night-of-dreams becomes unreal
With all that is human living, dwelling,
Faster slower slowing grateful hateful hoping loving
Here:
No Time to relay the inner rush of sorrow
That breaks, broken, by some scheming need to-be
Since the 1-train, conveying, is here to grace me
In perspective.

But there are moments, to still,
When – tasks, duty – done
That inner quietness betrays
So that I sit where

The Sun of English Summer
Would could bring me down
There where the meadow grass had grown
Green greener drier keener
And farm’s field by hedge with scent
Would keep me still but sweating –
No cider to induce
Then that needed paradisal-sleep.

And now: now I only this all this,
One being cavorting where one past melds
To keep me silent, still, so that the sidewalk
Is only that sidewalk, there
Where hope, clustering, fastly moves us
On.
Good, bad, indifferent – it makes no difference:
I am no one to judge so many, any,
So that there is – becomes – only the walk faster slower slowing here
And we free in Sun to trust to sleep to-be to seep a dream
Bought at some cost, to many:

Fidelis ad Mortem

And yet there is the Sun, the city, to witness
How we can should must break
Such sadness down.

 

David Myatt
New York, 2012


Source – http://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/about/poetry/the-sun-the-city/