Christopher a Commentary

In this paper, I study a poem, Christopher, by Douglas Beardsley from a Jungian perspective. Following Jung, my basic assumption is that images are life. By treating the series of images as if they were a dream and understanding their symbolic nature, one can, therefore, see the psychological forces at play in the poet’s life, at least during the time he was engaged in writing this poem. This is what I do by way of amplifying on the images, in addition to commenting on some aspects of the nature of the individuation process. The poem is evidently about encountering inferior aspects of the psyche, particularly inferior extraverted feeling and sensation.

I also show how this poem has kinship with the ancient tradition of alchemy and that it, at least partially, fulfils the requirements of a meditative process promoted by Jung, which he calls active imagination. What I don’t do is discuss the merits of the poem as poetry, another matter altogether. For this revision, however, I do add an after-word on the creative process.

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