East is just West in another direction.
Left is just Right in the light of reflection.
Black is just White with a different complexion.
And Truth is a Lie which evades all detection.
Evil is Good if it means self protection.
And God is the Devil on closer inspection.
Ian A. Hutchinson 10 October 1996
This poem was inspired when I was studying a globe of the world and I suddenly realised that each line of latitude joins up all locations on that line – and so if I want to go to Bicton which is two miles due East of Montford I can instead go the long way round – namely 24,899 miles due West – and I will eventually get to Bicton.
This weird idea of East and West eventually bringing me to exactly the same location gave me a feeling of the underlying connections between the Eastern and Western peoples of the world.
In the second line my claim that Left is just Right is not only true of a mirror image it also reflects my personal view that in real terms Left and Right wing politics are often simply mirror images of the same basic human instinct – the will to power.
I then wondered what other complete opposites might be connected in this self-contradictory way and I realised that the colours Black and White both look exactly the same in total darkness – it takes light to be able to tell them apart – and this also reflected my personal belief that differences in human skin colour are totally irrelevant in terms of human rights.
Truth is a Lie reflects my own uncertainties about so-called scientific facts because man’s ideas about the universe often later prove to be false and this line also reflects my cynicism about our inclination to prefer convenient lies to uncomfortable truths – especially if we think we are unlikely to be found out. Evil is Good is my cynical comment on all weapons of mass destruction and God is the Devil accurately sums up my distrust of all organised religious.
The over-arching theme of the whole poem is that apparent opposites can actually be connected and each line can be regarded as literally true from certain viewpoints and each line is also supposed to have at least one metaphorical meaning. I wonder what the literary pundits who offer their convoluted interpretations of famous poems would make of Connections?