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Aidan Dun: Vale Royal

Aidan Andrew Dun grew up in the West Indies, returning to London as a teenager then travelling around the world for more than a decade before writing his first epic poem, Vale Royal. Launched at the Royal Albert Hall, it led to him being dubbed as the "voice of King's Cross" and the book quickly sold out. Goldmark have now published the second edition in a deluxe paperback and a special limited edition signed and numbered cloth-covered hardback with additional holographic material handwritten by the author. You can find the book and hear Aidan Dun reading his own poem here. Meanwhile, here is the first section of the poem:

In the trip of a star-crossed summer

in the sadness of my disconnection

I ran adrift in the city of exterior light.

I jumped off a merry-go-round of transience

and disappeared in the streets, saying

Now let the good times roll.

I had lingered in the guidelines long enough

and so without a destination, I set out

not intending to turn back very soon.


Saying to myself: The sun is born at midnight.

I made the best of this idiot pilgrimage

sleeping in the way-stations of flight.

In wide arcs of wandering through the city

I saw to either side of what is seen

and noticed treasures where it was thought there were none.

I passed through a more fluid city

broke up the imprint of all familiar places

shutting my eyes to the boredom of modern contours.

There were canals where streets had been

and powerfully reflected light

obliterated whole ranks of unsuitable buildings.

Asceticism was my dream

disillusionment demanded no less.

I floated downstream with indifference.

My one idea was to stay outside

until everything but the indestructible

had been destroyed.

Astray in the void of connectedness

I left behind past and predictable worlds

and span on a new axis out of sight.

And so I came to the place called Pan Cross

and the Plain of Good Luck

where the workers with golden hands

Are building the Cathedral of the Sunchild

beside the river, on the cone of high land

above the flashing downward race of the Fleet.

This is the Cathedral of the translucent foundations

the eight silver doors and rafters of sunlight

Alchemical House of the First Breath of Creation.

In the multicoloured shadows of this perfect structure

I found the people of the golden skin bathing

where eight-sided medicine wheels turn through green foam.

Here in a vision I saw the man-angel water-snake

dipping his head and tail in a font of sunlight

safeguarding the Cathedral with his magnificent wingspan.

Here I stayed bathing in the sunlight myself

till my understanding went beneath the surface

and I was shown the plan of the song Vale Royal

A song to throw light on the great secret of London

and the Stance of the Child in the Tree of Life

the Royal Winged Son of the Liberation

A song to explain the Golden Quatrain

and the mystical geography of Kings Cross

a song for all navigators of the night-sea crossing.

Come, a direction into zones of darkness

a passage to the spaces of discovery begins.

We shall make a voyage to the deep place called Vale Royal.

The mirror and crescent of a jet-black night

now crosses the unclouded zenith of understanding.

We shall study maps of parallel worlds.

A silver ray flashes in the sky of mind.

A spiral train of thought turns backwards.

We burn the lamp of memory to retrace

To penetrate and know the darkness of time.

Ghostly travellers move in shafts of light

hallucinated exactly on dead horizons.

We illuminate an existence of other centuries.

We experience the outbreak of metaphysical wars

between the Sunchild and the Spirit of Typhon.

Look, an old man is wandering at night

beside a river, though ruins of Troynovant.

See, there is a child the old man tries to destroy.

It is dark down here, the light is bad

it is London in the olden days, take care.

But nothing here is real without belief.

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