With Tongue In Cheek

Oh yes, I’m now old and decrepit,
But neither past it nor fetid.

In no way I’m over and finished;
My ardour still has not diminished.

… ‘COS …

Age has not wearied me yet;
Desire is still with me,
Lust still stirs within me,
I’m a game old codger, you bet!

…  SO …

IF YOU WERE MINE

You look divine.
If you were mine
I’d drool and dote,
You’d have my vote.

I’d fire Love’s dart
To win your heart.
That’s not a sin,
I know I’d win.

I’d face the press,
Ignore the mess.
I’d  tie you to me
And Lose the key.

With every wish
I’d  be selfish.
You’d have to be
Welded to me.

And each new day
Would show the way
To hold love fast,
To make it last.

And every kiss
Would speak of bliss,
Would prove at last
Life had not past.

They say I’m old
And won’t be told;
That love has past,
Dried up at last.

But yet I know
I’d love you so.
Despite my age
I’d take the stage.

You’d be my queen
And reign supreme
Over our peers.
For which three cheers.

So here’s the rub,
The heart, the nub.
What we’d have then
Is our Amen.

‘Twould gave us hope,
Help us to cope
With life, with pain,
To live again.

And when at last
Our time was past,
Our journey done,
We’d be as one.

. . .   so . . .

Take a note!
I’m not dead yet,
And, get this quote,
“I’d like to bet
You’ll be like me,

You’ll have a ball
When you can see
Work is not all.”

A PLEA FOR FAITH


‘The Incredulity of St. Thomas’ by Caravaggio (c.1601) Now in the Sanssouci Palace, Potsdam, Berlin, Germany

I composed these verses many years ago, in my youth, when struggling to come to terms with my staunchly Christian upbringing, and to move into a less accepting, more questioning future.  In many ways I have moved forward very little since.

Print words of faith into my heart;
Brand me with irons of proof;
Dispel the doubts that have held me
So long from thee aloof.

I need the truth, I can’t say why –
I won’t let you desert.
I want to find those inner wounds,
I need to feel your hurt.

My outer self accepts you whole,
And shields you from assaults.
Effectively, I water down
And camouflage your faults.

Believe me when I say I try,
But that will not suffice.
A great despair dispels the light
And the devil’s fiends entice.

But when the doubts arise inside
I can’t dispel the gloom,
Because I know I’m losing you
and hurtling to my doom.

The devil prompts and makes me ask
That central question “Why?
Do I really believe in God above,
Below or in the sky?”

Then I reflect and need to know
If all my past is sham.
Why do so many still believe
He was the Son of Man?

Print words of faith into my heart;
Brand me with irons of proof;
Dispel the doubts that have held me
So long from thee aloof.

What Might Have Been . . . THEN

Did I ever kiss you
in those halcyon days of old?
did I ever hold you
in my arms
whisper
to your ear?
or say
I want you so?

It didn’t happen
then
did it?
It could have
but it didn’t
such a wasted moment
such a forfeited life

What I know now,
but didn’t

then
you were there
waiting for me
seeking a glimpse
of recognition
or even a nod
 to your very existence

What I feel now
was not an option
It was outside my ken
then
barely a glance away
no more than a word away
but a whole world away
from mine
or so I thought
thoughtlessly

I could have taken
that other path
the road not taken
into that parallel world
that alternative reality
the sliding door
into another future
but
I chose differently
unconsciously
I didn’t know
didn’t even consider

that there might be
that there was
an alternative

then

But In my ignorance
in my indifference
you left and
I demurred

For you
then

I know now
there was a pain
a hurt un-mended
unintended

So I departed
to a separate future
itself now discarded
this time
for you

So long ago
nothing
then
now
is everything

Oh if I had spoken
then
broken that ice
 to find that different future

 grasped at chance
and fused we two together
embarked
 on life’s unwavering path
with hope
that all that came to pass
would prove to be
life’s key
its answer to failure

But would that alternative
that re-positioned love
have lasted long
and still been fresh
and sunny
after a lifetime
together

Or would it
then
would it have palled
just been repeated
on another plane
and left us
where we are now
cold
dispassionate
and turning to another
for succour

Or
perhaps
are both lives
being lived right now
co-existing in their own space
along with all those other choices
 I did not make?

Uncertain
amidst uncertainty
there is a certainty

That
time pleases no one
history wins
and history is the truth
It has to be the truth
for us

when we ourselves
have lived it
however many histories there are

When we have loved
not loved
then
re-discovered love
we must
somewhere
have experienced

the truth
a life

which we can take
shared


Into the future

Perhaps this is it
now
so much better than

what happened

… Then

  #      #      #

But
I believe
at the time of their making
our choices
were the right ones
only later
in another life
did they become

 the wrong ones

Nothing is pre-ordained
that cannot be
circumvented
neither is anything
unequivocal
or absolute

So many possibilities
so many doors

to choose from
countless ‘what ifs’

perhaps the order
in which we choose
matters not

Only the life
that is being lived now

Or … THEN


NOTES:

The lead-in illustration is by George Boyce  (geebee2007 / flickr.com)  is for Philip Pullman’s book ‘The Golden Compass’, the first of the ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy, currently being prepared for filming by BBC TV.  The trilogy follows the story of two children, Lyra and Will, as they wander through a series of parallel universes.

Author’s note: I am aware that ‘Alternate Reality’ seems to be used more often than ‘Alternative Reality’, which I nevertheless think is logically the more correct way of describing this concept.


The Pebble Path to Peace

At evening with a heavy heart
I’d had enough of talk.
My mind’s reflections overwrought
I left the house to walk.

I came across it quite by chance
Whilst ambling by the sea.
I’d hoped to clear my head of doubt,
To find some certainty.

I dimly saw the trail ahead
Climbing to my right,
A Pilgrims’ Way to paradise;
It was not there last night.

Its pebbles seemed to call to me
To follow where they led;
To seek their end where ere that be,
Pursue them without dread.

Their blue and red encouraged me,
Spoke to me of hope,
Of everlasting certitude,
The means by which I’d cope.

They led me on beside the sea,
Meandered to and fro
Until abruptly then they ceased;
In front a golden glow.

The certainty I’d hoped to find
Was there in front of me;
A testament to Nature’s Grace –
The Glory of the Sea.

A feeling of contentment spread
Throughout my fatigued mind.
My body too relaxed in peace,
Resentment left behind.

I’d found what I was searching for,
Afforded by that path
Of coloured pebbles on the shore;
My soul’s search aftermath.

Both photographs were taken by me (WHB) one evening in 2009 
along the seashore of the English Channel at Swanage, Dorset, UK.

REGRET

And now the past pains the present again
Those vivid re-lived passages smart
So I try to disengage my memory
And the sorrowing sobs do not reach my heart.

But the regret will end, it always does.
Nothing retains its sting so long
That memory can’t in time evade.
And what is left … is bitter, bitter circumstance.

LOVE’S HURT

Oh why does loving hurt so much?
And bite so hard with such smooth teeth?
And clutch so tightly at my heart
As though to stifle every beat?

Just one dark look, one heavy word,
Is like the lash of some foul whip,
And lacerates my tender frame,
And brings a quiver to my lip.

In vain I try to stem the ache –
Othello’s antique pain.
The handkerchief is suspect still
My anguish will remain.





[ First published on rolandsragbag.wordpress.com blog on 5th October, 2016 ]

Will you marry me?


My photograph was taken from a beach in Cornwall, U.K.,  in 2006.  I do trust things turned out better in reality than in my  rather jaundiced, wholly imagined, speculations on the subject of marriage and the impulsive gestures which do often bring it about  –  as demonstrated in some of the ostentatious proposals which took place at the Rio Olympics. (WHB)

‘MARRY ME’ it said in the sky,
The brazenly shouted plea;
Showcasing a lover’s great passion?
A proposal she had to agree.

Was love in there somewhere I wondered?
Was that what the question implied?
A lifelong commitment on offer –
Based on whim, or desire for a bride?

“I’d love to” she whispered so gently,
Accepting his plea without question.
Her doubts were dispelled by his bluster
How could she deny his suggestion?

They married in bliss shortly after,
A lifetime of rapture to come.
With hope for a lifetime of passion?
Well, that’s how it’s meant to be done

The first happy years ran so smoothly;
The path of love seemed to be fine,
But the storm clouds were looming above them
Creating a warning fault line.

It was life intervened in their story,
A lassitude lay on their marriage,
Their ardour and pleasures defeated.
Love stalled, reduced to the humdrum,


Both felt as though they’d been cheated.

Habit had killed off their lustre;
Routine  had entered their souls;
Self-regard took over from closeness;
Possessions their only goals.

So was it for this they were married,
Just to reach an acceptance of sorts?
All passion long lost from their dowry
Now littered with bile and retorts.

The end of this story I’m told?
They parted with barely a whisper;
What began with a flamboyant gesture,
Ended, ‘Not with a bang but a whimper’.

This last line echoing T.S.Eliot’s oft-quoted lines from ‘The Hollow Men’  . . .

‘This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.’

On Pedants

Cezanne – Turning Road at Montgeroult – 1898

ON PEDANTS
Dark Thoughts in the Staffroom

Sat in the seat of sorry separation,
Iron to pot chatters of morning’s mistakes
That made this morning different from yesterday’s.

“He said he’d get him after the lesson.
I said if he did, I’d get him after the lesson.”

“He missed a penalty. The ten year old.”
“We should have won by seven more.”

“I said I’d tell his mum about him.
He said he’d tell his dad about me.”

The Cezanne cottage shouting from the wall,
In reverence for being out of place,
Muffles its strength in an attractive frame.

Their life is a blister,
Thriving until a provocation restores a little life.
The child’s vitality vitiates their own, yet still,
Unheedingly,
They dedicate their lives to inevitability.

* * *

“Pour agir dans le monde il faut mourir a soi-meme.”
These end the life within them without a known success.

* * *