‘And the Fifty-Two Daughters of the Revolution turn the Gold to Chrome’ (Andrew Eldritch)
- mastery, sovereignty, authority, control.
- the territory thereof.
‘Dominion’ is rooted in the latin domus: ‘house’. It has everything to do with property. That is, not only the private possession of something or somewhere, but control of the systems that govern its use – the architecture, infrastructure, language, law – and, thereby, control of its users.
Dominion is an entanglement of ownership and environment. It’s part of our climb toward the top of the pyramid, toward a God’s-eye-view. Because, as the story goes, if we don’t climb we will be climbed over. If we don’t claim, we will be claimed. If it isn’t our’s, it’s theirs. Competition for territory is written all through the natural world, after all. But dominion is often mastery beyond need.
To live is to dwell: we live in dialogue with what surrounds us – places we take from and give to, that we need and know by, in which we meet others and ourselves, in which we grow. It is not just a matter of survival but of identity. To think of dominion historically might be to think of empire, colonialism, government, land-grabs and tenancy. But the places we live – where we shelter, nourish, touch, learn, share – aren’t always physical.
The word ‘domain’, sharing its root with dominion, now most often alludes to a specifically digital territory: the ownership of a distinct slice of the internet. Online is a myriad of empires, of empires within empires like nesting dolls, a labyrinth. But our world has always been a palimpsest of places – physical and non-physical – as every layered story, every myth, is an environment we live in, wherein or whereby we might control or be controlled.
Even as an authority in one territory, one story, we’ll be caught in the matrix of another. Our own voice is lost in a desert of sound. And, as in the physical world, seeing dominion from the inside, when we have learned to speak in its language, see ourselves in its mirrors, love what it provides us with, fear what’s beyond its walls, gets harder the longer we dwell.
Abridged is looking for poetry on the need to belong, to control, to own, in all contexts of the word. You can send up to three poems. Poems should be sent to email@example.com in Word format or similar. The deadline is 10th October. Please put your name on submissions otherwise we may think it is spam. This issue is a print edition. Image by David Haughey: http://www.davidhaughey.com/
Abridged is Supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland