The Unimagined and Ongoing Consequences of the Things We Do

Unimagined sequelae and their ongoing-ness.

Let me share my experience with John Taverners music, “The Protecting Veil”, a piece of music to which I responded some thirty years ago with poetry, as it moved me more deeply with each listening.

On one occasion it stopped me in my tracks with the realisation that the composer, John Tavener, and the cellist Steven Isserlis, had no idea how their music was affecting me at that moment in 1990s Switzerland, nor did the members of the orchestra, nor the parents who had encouraged them to continue the music lessons which led them to become members of that orchestra, nor do the engineers who are producing the electricity that allow me to play, at that moment, the CD to which I was listening, nor did those who made the CD, the engineers, the sound engineers – and on and on, and on.
Such a vast array of human beings, whose experience and endeavour allowed me, at that moment, to be blinded by an insight never before experienced. It stopped me in my tracks.

Then I was struck by an even more profound realisation – a realisation that neither did I have any idea of what, at that moment, were the ongoing consequences of things I had done with so many people during my rich and varied life.
And so with the many ways I have expressed this, from time to time. The more I think about this, the more I see that we have no idea of the ongoing consequences and multiplier effect of acts of kindness, recognition and appreciation, or assistance we might have given over the years, not realising the value they might have added to others lives. They are “carried by the great winds across the sky “, winds that include the knowing that such small actions and appreciations, given long ago and long since forgotten, are still having an effect, and likely a multiplier effect, still adding value to others lives without us being aware. …. infinite!

Such a real encounter with infinity, and the vastness of human experience

Here is an extract from that poem –

Protecting Pines IV:
yet somehow there is more to write;
about that other knowing; that what I feel as I listen… as I think,
and become part of the music I hear, is the life given to this moment
by a composer’s grasp of his reality, and its transformation to notes on a page..
by musicians’ response to composers notes…
through the life given to each instrument by their makers..

and more…
it includes the life given to the moment
by those who worked in the electronics factory-
those who made the disc, who invented the technology-
those who administered the orchestra-
those who nurtured and loved the actors in this incredible drama
their mothers, their fathers, their teachers;
those who built the buildings, who generate the electricity to power the mechanisms that at this very moment, this physical point in time,
all those who bring all these together to add life to this moment of mine.

all this life added by so many to a piece of music,
heard anew within this deeper being

o vast panorama of people who, by living their lives, contribute
to an epic of truly infinite proportions, that makes this moment most full and so vast.

another verse, as content becomes the process;
not just the vibration of a cello string resonating with my soul
but the bringing together of
composer’s being
cellist, conductor and other players;
sound engineers’ efforts;
the theme of Mary’s protecting veil,
and even those who initiated the story so many centuries ago…
together with my own soul
components which now are all immeasurably changed
because they have taken on new life this very moment, new dimensions of their own being
living each now with the newness created, no, realised,
at this time one Sunday morning, beneath the pines.
components now becoming more infinite than they had ever been before,
part of the beyond-ness of all moments;
and how wonderful that composer, cellist and all the others
know not from where this added value has been achieved this day…

and Oh my God, Who can know the added value being realised this very moment
in so many ways, by our own contributions to such processes…
yesterday, today and tomorrow


Who knows what is happening now to the processes initiated by myriads of small actions –
a word here; a hug; a moment given fully to another to allow them to share their music, their poem;
another heard and understood; connections made between others, a book shared; a token given.

what life abounds as these small changes continue to resonate, reverberate and multiply
and share the life that we, until know presumed was confined to that moment when it happened…
What an incredibly rich harmony of the most profound proportions.

What infinity. What sanctity
is this vast universe of interaction, enriching all those souls and all those lives.

and for me, a new dimension of knowing, another part of my being,

another of those infinite number of hidden dimensions glimpsed, appreciated and now, …now….. ..ah….

and the other poem I am reminded of… in the words of T S Eliot

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.

And just think of the unimagined consequences and sequelae of the little things we do within our day-to-day encounters with the vastness of human experience, not to mention their ongoing-ness and multiplier effects. The infinity of being!

A comment to myself in May 2022: Is this the title of my memoir, “Unimagined sequelae”: as clearly the way my life turned out could not have been imagined in advance, any more than the unimagined consequences I have discussed above. It unfolded, rather than was imagined or planned… Not predicted in any way, but looked back on in absolute amazement, almost disbelief (so evident when I look back on photos taken over the years… how fortunate was I to have unfolded in such a manner.

Bill Pigott August 2022

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