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 . According to another source, Myatt is “a British iconoclast who has lived a somewhat itinerant life and has undertaken an equally desultory intellectual quest” ; while yet other sources described him as an “extremely violent, intelligent, dark, and complex individual,”  and as “arguably England’s principal […] theoretician of revolution.” 
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  – 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.” 
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 , the poetry he included in his autobiography Myngath, and a few of the poems he himself has rejected , 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.”
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
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
There seems a rushing in the seeping loud
Music, a barrier
To keep my slow moving solitary travelling world
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
And a cold hand holds itself ready
Near a pen:
The birds, though starving, still sing
Here where trees and snow seat themselves
And the slight breeze beings to break
My piece of silence
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,
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:
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
Then the birds, thrusting their song
In the wind
Which snatched trees
Breaking the colours down
Because rain has long rejoiced to seed
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”  – 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.”
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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…” 
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  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)
 Kaplan, Jeffrey (2000). Encyclopedia of White Power: A Sourcebook on the Radical Racist Right. Rowman & Littlefield, p. 216ff; p.512f
 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.
 Raine, Susan. The Devil’s Party (Book review). Religion, Volume 44, Issue 3, July 2014, pp. 529-533.
 Michael, George. The New Media and the Rise of Exhortatory Terrorism. Strategic Studies Quarterly (USAF), Volume 7 Issue 1, Spring 2013.
 Myatt provides an overview of his life in his autobiography, Myngath: Some Recollections of a Wyrdful and Extremist Life, published in 2013. ISBN 9781484110744
 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.
 One Exquisite Silence (ISBN 978-1484179932), later republished by him for some reason under the title Relict (ISBN 978-1495448386)
 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.
 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.”
 Private hand-written letter by Myatt, addressed to JR Wright, dated 25.vii.08.
 “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).