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.