About Roland's Ragbag

Long retired; Expatriate Tyke; Eclectic; Not-So-Grumpy Old Man.

IF I HAD MY WISH

I can find no trace of the poem / ditty printed below.   I am not the author, and I am unable to find out who is / was.   Many years ago, when I was probably around the age of 6 or 7  (i.e. in the 1940s – yes, that’s right, during WWII ),  I learnt this poem by heart and delivered it to an audience at a Yorkshire chapel concert – presumably to demonstrate  my skills in memorised recitation.  Well  …  it certainly wasn’t to showcase a budding poet!   Although I don’t recall being sensitive at the time about the cannibalistic sentiments expressed,  I do now see the poem as somewhat ‘non-PC’ and quite unsuitable for directing a child to commit such verses to heart and then expound them in public.  

. . .   and Yes,  I have never forgotten these verses, the dramatic emphases within the poems structure, or the subtle cadence of its rhythms (!!!).   So . . .  make of it what you will, but  I would certainly be interested if anyone can throw light on its origins and/or its creator!  . . .

. . .  I remember being instructed to “pause before delivering the last line … and then say it quickly and loudly – with emphasis!”  . . .  What artistry !!! 

If I had my wish
I would be a small fish
And swim where nobody could catch me.
I never would look
At a worm on a hook,
Or some naughty boy then might snatch me.

I’d frolic and play
With the fishes all day,
And not go to school at nine-thirty.
I’d not give a bean
If my neck wasn’t clean,
Or if BOTH my ears should get dirty.

And when I had died,
I should like to be fried,
With the bones taken out of my tummy,
And served, if you please,
With some lovely green peas,
… and then eaten up by my mummy!

WANTED – A Good Woman

I photographed this poster prominently displayed in the forrard window of a motor cruiser moored at the mouth of a river on the east coast of Kent, England, in 2009.   For those who are unable to decipher the wording on the poster, I quote it here . . .

WANTED
GOOD
WOMAN
Must Be Able to Clean

Cook, Sew, Dig Worms
and Clean Fish
Must Have Boat 
and Motor
ALSO SEND PICTURE OF

BOAT AND MOTOR

The, presumably tongue-in-cheek, audacity prompted me to write the verses below ...

Wanted!  A Good Woman

Wanted! A pliant good woman
A sturdy strapping lass;
Content to be a willing wife –
One of the servile class.

Someone to meet my every need,
Allow me my own space;
Clean my house, cook. sew and dig
And do it with good grace.

My priorities must be upheld;
I need no self-willed martyr
Who’ll bicker and demand a fee
Each time I tweak her garter.

A bit of brass, willing to share,
That would not go amiss;
I’d give you pocket money too
And from time to time a kiss
.

A woman’s lot is never done
I know that’s what they say,
But after all is said and done
It’ll be worth it for the pay.

You’ll get a home with bed and board,
With a kind, considerate master.
What else in life could a lady ask
When all else now has passed her?

And so to sum up my request,
I need a loving spouse
,
A soul-mate made to serve my needs,
And good about the house.

Someone to moderate my charms,
To make me less unfeeling …

… I don’t know why but no one yet
Has found my job appealing.

VERITY

Verity’ by Damien Hirst, Ilfracombe, Devon … Photograph … WHB – 2015

‘VERITY’ is the name given to a stainless steel and bronze statue created by Damien Hirst, the English artist, entrepreneur, and art collector. He is the most prominent member of the group known as the Young British Artists, who dominated the art scene in the UK during the 1990s.

The 20.25-metre tall sculpture stands on the pier at the entrance to the harbour in Ilfracombe, Devon, looking out over the Bristol Channel towards South Wales.  Hirst lives close to the town. He describes his work as a “modern allegory of truth and justice”.  The statue depicts a pregnant woman holding aloft a sword while carrying the scales of justice and standing on a pile of law books.  Half of the sculpture shows the internal anatomy of the pregnant woman, with the foetus clearly visible. (adapted from Wikipedia)

VERITY

Pregnant,
Opened up, exposed,
Exhibit Number One

I am birth corroborated,
Prying eyes sated,
Privacy crushed

Paraded for the populace
To ponder,
To pity

They ogle,
Excoriate,
Turn witty

Solicitudes are rare;
Their taunts I bear;
Reproofs I must abide

And yet, I am the truth
About how it is
To be free

My brandished threat
Repays the debt
My innocence holds

My stance, defiance,
Thwarts compliance,
Demands a voice

But to keep hope alive,
Live long, survive,
I must be exposed

Must confront
The brutal sea,
The relentless incoming tide

No chance repose;
What end my woes;
Torment inside

My frightened stare
Torches the tides,
Seeking solace

Whilst emblazoned in light
Against the torrid sky
The world gawps

I must bear
The stares
And cry

I am torn apart;
My pain is there
For all to see.

In a world that demands
To know,
To know everything

The truth is there
For all to see,
To verify that I
Am VERITY

Poem by WHB . . . 2015 Copyright

‘Verity’ by Damien Hirst, Ilfracombe, Devon … Photo WHB – 2015

LINDISFARNE – Holy Island

Lindisfarne – Off the North-West coast of England in Northumbria

Below is a selection of sketches and photographs based on my previous visits to this beautiful historic and sacred island off the North Sea coast of England

The Sandman

THE  SANDMAN

The sandman looms

long and low in the westerly sun

on the evening shore

treading his beach

with dedicated feet

an image hunter

heir of Autolycus

searching

 for Nature’s hidden ornaments

probing with his stick

revealing the sand crabs

tempting the tide to turn

and wash away his presence

leaving no imprint

only a fleeting glance

a captured instant

of memory

of another world

arcane and mystical

beneath the sand

before the glimpse

releases him

and he moves on

into the dying day.

The Sandman was spotted on the beach beside Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland,UK, in 2003 …
Photo and sketch …  WHB

Love Is . . .

Photograph . . . Surrey 2016 . . .  WHB.

MY INITIAL DIAGNOSIS

WAS CIRRHOSIS OR FIBROSIS,

BUT MY GNOSIS BEING HYPNOSIS,

THEN TO REACH APOTHEOSIS

WE NEED MUTUAL SYMBIOSIS.

You may recognise that the opening line of my verse above was also a line in a popular song of 1960,  ‘Goodness Gracious Me’, sung as a duet by Sophia Lauren and Peter Sellers.

The Man In The Iron Mask

Photos . . . WHB – Canterbury

THE IRON MASK

by Sian Napier

snapier@thekmgroup.co.uk

The huge mask which stood outside Canterbury’s Marlowe Theatre from 2003 until it was demolished in 2009 has returned.

Bulkhead, to give it its real name, was moved back to the theatre in The Friars on Friday but now stands by the river in the newly-created outdoor seating area.

The mask is the work of sculptor Rick Kirby and arrived in the city as part of a sculpture festival called Blok.

It was so popular that Canterbury council bought it and had it installed by the old theatre’s forecourt where it stayed until the Marlowe was pulled down.

It was then removed to the council offices in Military Road where it remained outside until Friday.

Marlowe Theatre director Mark Everett said: “It’s wonderful that the Marlowe mask has returned to its rightful place and it was great to see it settling in to its new home by the riverside.

“The mask was always very popular with theatregoers and we know people will be delighted to see it return.”

THE IRON MASK . . . Poem by WHB

The authors in these lines of verse

Are from a distant time

From ages past into the mists

Of tragedy and rhyme.

Dumas was steeped in history

He set himself the task

Of counts and musketeers to write,

The Man in the Iron Mask

Kit Marlowe’s plays were tragedies

Of complex anguished beings

Of Tamburlaine and Faust he wrote

Portrayed their tortured feelings.

The Mask is that of Tragedy

The Greeks performed their dramas

It brings to mind Marlowe’s great themes

Which glimpse life’s endless traumas.

To me this linkage then arose

Between the two famed authors

Take or leave it for what it’s worth

It’s what this conceit proffers.

VENICE


Venetian Sunset – from Piazza San Marco … Pen & Wash – WHB … 2013

City of Islands
City of dream
Inscribed with colour
 Every line.

City of History
City of deeds
Imbued with story
Every step

City of Passion
City of pride
Engorged with fashion
Every stride

City of Clamour
City of bells
Ringing with meaning
Every knell

City of Turmoil
City of strife
Threaded with suffering
Every hurt

City of Mansions
City of graves
Instilled with ardour
Every shrine

City of Titian
City of art
Awash with beauty
Every part

City of Merchants
City of trade
Echoed by Shakespeare
Every shade

City of Conflict
City of strife
Turbulent city
Every vice

City of Water
City of flood
Sea taking over
Every surge

City of Magic
City of spells
Present in each pile
Every shell

City of Revels
City of fun
Carnivals rule life
Every fete

City of Intrigue
City of masks
Sophistry renews
Every day

City of Drama
City of sin
Would I were there now
Let new life begin.

Venice . . . Pen & Wash – WHB: 2013