About Roland's Ragbag

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

‘MIirror, Mirror’ – by Spike Milligan

[  # 97 of My Favourite Short Poems  ]

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Spike Milligan  (1918 – 2002)

Yes, another poem by Spike Milligan, that arch-Goon.  This one, however, shows another side to his poetry.  Here, he shows that he is quite capable of being tender and is able to give us such a gentle and gracious poem. recognising that the blind boy sees, not what is on the mirror’s surface, but what his own senses tell him is the true nature of the ‘spring-tender’ girl.

MIRROR, MIRROR – by Spike Milligan

A young spring-tender girl
combed her joyous hair
‘You are very ugly’ said the mirror.
But,
on her lips hung
a smile of dove-secret loveliness,
for only that morning had not
the blind boy said,
‘You are beautiful’?

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Weaving Words

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Weaving Words

 

(The Poet’s Calling)

 

I wander my world 
weaving words into verse
plaiting my thoughts 
into silken skeins of sense
rendering images
from my mind’s eye
to this digital paper
perverse perception
lending life to poetry
lust to hope 
and love to mon amour
the written word. 

Only in time
with wish fulfilment
perchance my dreams
will meet my expectations 
and produce that meisterwerk
whose impetus
drives me on

 

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Shaftesbury and Sherborne

[ Photo Gallery # 101 ]

Shaftesbury (in Dorset) and Sherborne (in Wiltshire) are towns only about 12 miles apart in South West England – in the area formerly part of Wessex. Both are charming historic towns with much to offer the visitor. Perhaps the best known features of these two market towns are the picturesque Gold Hill in Shaftesbury and the magnificent Abbey in Sherborne. I include just a few photographs of these two features in my Gallery below.

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Gold Hill is a steep cobbled street in the town of Shaftesbury. It is famous for its picturesque appearance; the view looking down from the top of the street has been described as “one of the most romantic sights in England.” The image of this view appears on the covers of many books about Dorset and rural England, as well as on chocolate boxes and calendars and Television advertisements.

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Gol Hill, Shaftesbury

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The Abbey Church of St Mary the Virgin at Sherborne is usually called Sherborne Abbey. It has been a Saxon Cathedral (705–1075), a Benedictine abbey (998–1539), and now, a parish church.

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The Imbroglio

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The  IMBROGLIO

 

I’m embroiled in an imbroglio –
Meshed in fuss and stress;
I didn’t see it coming up,
Careless I confess.

I told her not to speak her mind,
Not to tell the tale;
But NO, she had to spill the beans
Our secret to unveil.

Such honesty’s not always wise,
It often leads to pain.
I doubt she’ll ever think of me
Desirously again.

For, admitting to our liaison then,
Over a glass of wine,
Brought calumny upon her head,
And a beating up on mine.

 

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A Conundrum

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Sycamore helicopter seedlings: Photo – WHB 2018

A CONUNDRUM

The ant that scampers from my tread,
Does it feel the fear, the dread, 
The threatened onslaught of my shoe,
Does it fear as I would do?

Does it wonder if the rest – 
His sibling brothers in the nest – 
Would miss him if he did not return
Would they show the least concern?

Or would his absence not be noted; 
Never mentioned, never quoted? 
Just another gap in time,
Neither sordid nor sublime.

I ask God in my ignorance,
What then is the difference
Between this threatened ant and me;
Which of us should cease to be? 

 

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Photo by Egor Kamelev on Pexels.com

‘A Vow’. . . by Wendy Cope

[  # 96 of My Favourite Short Poems  ]

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A poem by Wendy Cope, who, in her own down-to-earth and honest style presents a non-traditional version of the marriage vows, one with greater honesty than any more conventional approach to the promises and commitments of marriage.

It may be remembered that Wendy Cope once rebuked our poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, for agreeing to write a poem to celebrate Prince William’s marriage to Kate Middleton.  This poem confirms her views on such matters by taking a common-sense view of the marriage vows.

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I cannot promise never to be angry;
I cannot promise always to be kind.
You know what you are taking on, my darling –
It’s only at the start that love is blind.

And yet I’m still the one you want to be with
And you’re the one for me – of that I’m sure. 
You are my closest friend, my favourite person,
The lover and the home I’ve waited for.

I cannot promise that I will deserve you
From this day on. I hope to pass that test.
I love you and I want to make you happy.
I promise I will do my very best.

By Wendy Cope 

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The Moon And Sixpence

 

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Photo by Just Another Photography Dude on Pexels.com

 

The Moon & Sixpence

 

At such a sight
As the moon at night
So high, so bright
My thoughts take flight
The sheer delight
Of its vibrant white
Its pungent bite
Some day might
Emit its light
End my plight
Leaving me quite
Without foresight
Yet still contrite

All this I write
So slight
And yet
So recondite

My life’s Sixpence 
I’ve almost spent
It’s true
I’m getting old
And to my cost
I’ve loved and lost
My heady tale
Is nearly told

For all my time
The pain, the wine
I’ve trod the edge
So they allege

But despite the sorrow  
The joy and pain
Nothing in vain

The theme has been
I’ve lived my dream

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NOTE:  From ‘Wikipedia’, describing the derivation of the title for Somerset Maugham’s novel, ‘The Moon and Sixpence’, which is loosely based on the life of French artist, Paul Gauguin.

According to some sources, the title, the meaning of which is not explicitly revealed in the book, was taken from a review of Maugham’s novel Of Human Bondage in which the novel’s protagonist, Philip Carey, is described as “so busy yearning for the moon that he never saw the sixpence at his feet.”  According to a 1956 letter from Maugham, “If you look on the ground in search of a sixpence, you don’t look up, and so miss the moon.” Maugham’s title echoes the description of Gauguin by his contemporary biographer, Meier-Graefe (1908): “He [Gauguin] may be charged with having always wanted something else.”

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Portland Bill & the Abbotsbury Swannery

[ Photo Gallery # 100 ]

Portland Bill, or The Isle of Portland, lies immediately to the east of Chesil Beach.  This area of land is not in fact an island, but a promontory, 4 miles by 1.7 miles, jutting out out into the English Channel.  It forms the southernmost point of the county of Dorset, England, and is 5 miles south of the seaside resort of Weymouth.

The ‘island’ is renowned for the quality of its limestone, formed during the Jurassic period and for many years since it has been quarried here.   Being of such excellent quality, the stone has been used extensively as a building stone in many major public buildings throughout the British Isles, such as St. Paul’s Cathedral and Buckingham Palace in London.  Portland stone has also been exported to many other countries and has been used for example in the the building of the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.

I have also included in my photo gallery below, a few pictures of swans from the Abbotsbury Swannery situated on the banks of Chesil Beach, just a few miles west of Portland Bill.

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As I Grow Old

Father William

AS  I  GROW  OLD

As I grow old
So I become bold

No more restrictions 
Disallowed contradictions

Youth brought its gaucheness 
Implacable faultless

Taking for granted 
Entitlement implanted

But age, ah the pleasure, 
Getting the measure 

Of life in its dotage
Foregoing all rampage 

Now felt understanding
All pressure withstanding

Now my time has turned
Rights I have earned

Taken life’s bites
Its end in my sights

I’ve come to a time
When the next world is mine

Forgetting, forgiving,
Poetically living

No longer the dread
Of just wishing I’d said

For in verse yet unsung
I know what I’ve done

Brought to fruition
A lifetime’s ambition

And for ever for me
Life’s summation, its key. 

 

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Ed-ingo #2

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Statue of ‘Edward The Peacemaker’ … Tiverton, Devon, England

 

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The Royal Head held proudly high
Atop his sculpted pose;
Reminder of the man of peace
Slumbering on in sweet repose.

But now atop that regal head,
Displayed in pinkest glory,
A wayward bird has just alighted
And I am here to tell the story.

It started as a student prank,
Designed to seek attention
For term end rag week escapades,
Somewhat beyond my comprehension.

How to equate a royal crown
With a vivid pink flamingo,
Defeats my sense of decency,
I cannot grasp such student lingo.

Above the River Lowman here
It cries out to the town,
‘Just look at me, now can’t you see
My new pneumatic crown?’

Perhaps this king who loved a joke,
Despite this loss of pride,
Would now say to the passers by,
“Do not those larkish students chide,

For I was once a student too,
I laughed and loved a joke,
So I’ll be pleased if my new crown
Diverts the canny local folk.”

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Note:   This is a follow-up poem to ‘Ed-ingo #1’ published a few days ago . . . see:  ‘Ed-ingo #1’


 

Edward VII (1841 – 1910) was the great grandfather of our present Queen, Elizabeth II. There are a number of statues of Edward VII around the British isles and Commonwealth Realms. This particular one can be found on a bridge over the River Lowman in Tiverton, East Devon.  Edward was married to Alexandra of Denmark, but had many mistresses.  He was acknowledged as ‘The Peacemaker’ for the considerable efforts he made to maintain world stability at a time when War seemed to be looming.  The peace he had worked so hard to keep was eventually broken with the declaration of the First World War (1914-1918).

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