‘Roseberry Topping’ … WHB: Pen 1981

Tell me stories,
Sing me hymns.
As I remember
Let me weep.

Time is passing,
Friends are leaving,
Do I want
More hours to keep.

Midst purple heather,
Bracken brown,
Grass close cut
By hillside sheep.

Blue bells ring,
Rose berries ripen,
Let me lie
Both warm and deep.

Green hills surround
Where I was born;
Let me again
Amongst them sleep.


Pen & Ink Drawing of George \frederick Watts’ sculptured bust of CLYTIE  . . .  by W.H.B.

 In the verses below, I attempt to express Clytie’s plight when she finds her love for the Son God, Helios, rejected, and she is committed to watch his daily flight across the heavens in his winged chariot .  Eventually she is transformed into a sunflower or heliotrope , condemned for ever to follow the sun’s movements across the sky.


As dusk takes over from the day
I stand on Helios’ shore and weep.

Light for my soul,
Lust for my life;
These no more can I strive to keep.

Yet there is hope because the night
Is followed by expectant day.
The sun will rise
With hope intact,
And I’ll revive my destined way.

The languid sun will lift at dawn
Over the shimmering tranquil sea.
It is my dreams,
My Holy Grail,
And promises new hopes to me.

The sun renews its daily task.
As Clytie, I still strive to meld
Lovers’ aubade,
Their serenade.
With this till dusk my life is held.

Time’s chariot, its path I trace;
Helios arcs across the sky.
Till evening ends
In blood red  gore,
And once again I die.

But then again the cycle breaks
When dawn extends to dusk its kiss.
It’s carmine clinch,
Crimson caress,
Herald again life’s feud with bliss.

Clytie is a figure from Ancient Greek mythology. She was a water nymph, daughter of Oceanus and Tethys in Greek mythology. Clytia loved Helios in vain.[ My Poem was Previously published – Sep., 2016 ]

Let Life Begin

My covid story
I rehearse …
I tell its story
In rhyming verse.

To be in England
Now April’s here;
Come lockdown’s end
I’ll give a cheer.

I’ve lived alone
In a bee-loud glade,
And sung the song
That covid made.

Now let me dance
With the daffodils,
And no more seek
For frills and thrills.

A holiday
I can’t afford;
I’ll stay at home,
Not travel abroad.

A cold winter
We’ve had of it;
Let life begin,
Lickety split.

With appreciative nods in the direction of…Robert Browning; W.B.Yeats; William Wordsworth; T.S.Eliot

My Bobby Dazzler

‘Ow do, lass, tha’s a stunner,
I aint seen ‘out like ‘thee afoor.
Th’as luvly as t’sun after t’rain
I’m as sure as I’m sure I am sure.

Tha’s such a reyt bobby-dazzler,
Tha’s taken mi breath clear away
And I’ll nivver find a better,
So one day it’s a bridal bouquet.

And when we git married I’ll luv thee,
I’ll look after thee till I die;
And when we’re tigether in t’eaven
Tha’ll still be a-dazzling me eye.

‘Bobby-dazzler’ was originally a North East England dialect term for a person who is affectionately considered as being beautiful or remarkable. In have attempted to write these 3 verses in a North Yorkshire dialect,

Cirrhosis Of The River

Photo: WHB … R.Thames mooring – 2016

I name this boat ‘Cirrhosis’

It’s part of my neurosis;

And when at last it sinks

I’m finished with the drinks.

 © WHB . . . Originally published on this blog in 2016


‘The Churchyard’ – WHB … Pen: 1981

With bared feet
and sadness in my soul
I walk in the shallows
the waves rippling to my bare feet
I follow the ribs of the sand
to their end
in the swell of the next wave
and by their disappearance
I recognise the promise
of their continuation
for the world is in flux
a life beginning
as another ends
fading at first
soon settles
into expectation
an affirmation
as the embers
of all that cease to be
are carried forward
in the seeds of
a future hope

Without a Bang

That joyous word
Gone away
Now little heard

Oft I dwell
On my failed successes
Gone to ground now
With all those other
Of life’s excesses

Clamour ended
Without a racket
No more a habit

No more thunder
Don’t misbehave
Cause no stir
A quiet grave

No Commotion
Palaver none
No consternation
And mayhem gone

was once in fashion
Were then a passion

Have had their day
no more holds sway

And Imbroglio
All had to go

And Ruckus
All dead and gone
without much fuss

Donner und blitzen
Sturm und drang
Together ended
without a bang

Thus the world ends
While I whisper
Not with a bang
But with a whimper

With my grateful thanks to T. S. Eliot who assisted me with the last verse.

Word Of The Year

Staycation – the word of 2020 –
Is here again, and life’s still empty.

A holiday at home? Exciting?
Two weeks in prison – more inviting.

Last year’s buzzword here again,
Bring along your ball and chain.

For that’s now this year’s buzzword too;
So much to dream, so little to do.

Shall I fly or book a cruise?
No longer is it mine to choose.

Stay at home or nearby?
Get me to the airport and let me fly.

A Covid passport will be needed,
All other options now conceded.

Cupid Curbed

Call me Cupid
catch my arrows
kiss me quick
then let me go
now a phony
feeling lonely
stitch me up
pity my woe

Watch me sigh
wither and cry
no more milk
of human kindness
no more joy
in joining hearts
as life crumbles
as it gets dark
now all my arrows
miss their mark

My wife Psyche
has let me know
that now at last
she has seen through me
cut me off
taken my bow
told the world she’s cottoned on
that I no longer sing its song

For time and covid
in cahoots
turned the tables
stopped my games
pulled my plug
left me bereft
no more playtime
no transgressions
canoodling killed
by lockdown’s laws
show me how I can continue
through the strictures
and the flaws

I’ve had enough
of covid’s rule
I’m being taken for a fool
I’ve parked my bow
in time’s sad bunker
I’ve been disturbed
my arrows curbed
so I’m retiring
going to grass
no more point
in joining hearts
I’m off to milder sunnier parts

Beware Of The Bull

Photo … ‘Bull-Beware’ – WHB: Devon, 2020

Where the circus pit
 of my stomach churns
heart beat first flutters
then pounds

and mutters
fear comes
to liquid lungs
and fright to flight is urged
red rags banned
fear felt …
… and yet …

Only a sign
a gentle warning
no sort of shrine
suspect moonshine
likely benign
surely no danger lurks
in buttercup fields
my guesswork
tells me more
this is a ploy
no real McCoy
a sharpish shout
to keep me out
no bull
no threat

and yet

in the end
we yield
to threats and signs
to worrying warnings

I am not bold
strict guidelines hold