About Roland's Ragbag

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

Requiescat in Pace


Sir Edward Coley BURNE-JONES ‘The Morning of the Resurrection’ 1886 … Oil on Canvas – Tate Gallery



Let it be
Words of Wisdom

Words of Solace
Just let go

Let it happen
You can’t stop it

Come what may
It will run its course

So as it goes
Don’t resist

Life will happen

Che sera sera
I cannot stop it

So be it
I can’t change it

It’s past and gone
That’s it

Done and dusted

Such is Life
It’s dead and buried

That’s Life
And Death is part of it






North Yorkshire Coast #2

[ Photo Gallery # 79 ]

Moving further along the North Sea coast of Yorkshire from the scenes of the villages north of Whitby in my previous Photo Gallery ( # 78), I post below just a selection of my photographs of two seaside towns, Saltburn and Redcar.

Both were and still are holiday resorts, once much more popular as such than they are today.   Both still maintain a small, if much diminished, fishing fleet and still do their utmost to attract visitors.  Their great glory is the beautiful 8 mile long beach, one of the longest unbroken stretches in the United Kingdom, running from South Gare, at the mouth of the River Tees, southwards, along the seafront of Redcar, past Marske-by-the-Sea, to Huntcliffe at Saltburn.

01 saltburn

SALTBURN: Huntcliffe,Cat Nab & the Ship Inn.

02 saltburn

SALTBURN: The view south from the entrance to the funicular cliff railway and Huntcliffe,

03 SaltburnSurfers

Saltburn is one of the original centres of the north-east surfing scene

04 saltburn

The funicular railway at Saltburn began operating in 1884 and is the oldest operating water-balance cliff lift in the United Kingdom.

05 saltburn

A misty view upwards showing the balanced ascending and descending carriages

06 saltburn

Saltburn pier, first opened in 1869, is now the last pier remaining in Yorkshire.  It has itself been frequently damaged in the past by North Sea storms, but remains a popular attraction.

06a Saltburn

View from the pier southwards to Huntcliffe

06b Saltburn

Saltburn Pier – looking due East to the North Sea

07 redcar

The view to sea from REDCAR.  Not what I had expected to see, 10 years after my previous visit!

08 redcar

REDCAR: Wind Turbines – now detracting from the view of the North Sea

09 redcar

Even the re-designed and modern seafront promenade now has wind turbines as a backdrop

10 redcar

REDCAR  . . .  and the fishing boats now have these to contend with too!

11 redcar

REDCAR BEACON:  Now sporting  a seafront helter-skelter – Sorry, NO, it is apparently a Vertical Pier, with its own restaurant and giving beautiful views along the Yorkshire coastline. 

12 redcar

REDCAR:  . . . and sand sculptures to enhance the view!?



‘The Sum of all our Memories’


Photo: :  ‘Two Against The World’ – WHB


If it is true
As it is said
That we are
The sum of all our memories
Then I will collect yours
By colour and by time
Count them
Order them
Sort them into their separate strands
Bind these close together
Plait them into skeins
Then hang them round your neck
As a daisy chain
To adorn and demonstrate
My love for you

Thus I will find
behind that closed facade
That barrier of reticence
The real you
The essence of your being
Your throbbing vibrant heart
Beating its rhythm
In time with my own

I will break down
Your defences
And at last discover
The self which claims
to love me
To want to own me
To be my buttress
Shoring me up
Against my troubles

And when your dam
Finally breaks
The following floods
Will swamp my uncertainties
Shoring up my resolve
So that together
We can face
An unforgiving world



‘THAT LOVE MAY LIVE’ – A Story In Four Haikus


Image . . . Pinterest

‘THAT LOVE MAY LIVE’ – A Story In Four Haikus



The heavens opened 
On my hopes for sun and warmth
Leaving me bereft


As the waters rose
So my spirits with them sank
I thought love lay lost


But I was quite wrong
For Nature wove its magic
Showing me the truth


Look upon the rain
As summers need to renew
And keep love alive



‘I Am’ by Sylvia Plath

[  # 75 of My Favourite Short Poems  ]


‘I took a deep breath

and listened to the old brag of my heart:

I am,

I am,

I am.’


Today’s offering is not, strictly speaking a poem.  It is a very short, one sentence, quotation from theThe Bell Jar’, (written under the pseudonym, ‘Victoria Lucas’), the only novel ever written by the American poet, Sylvia Plath, who committed suicide, aged 30, shortly after its publication in 1963.

I am using it today as its introspection does mirror that of John Clare, whose ‘I Am’ verses I featured a week ago.  Both Clare and Plath were troubled beings, suffering for long periods of their lives from severe mood swings and depression.

In this one sentence from her novel, Sylvia Plath, cries out with similar force to that which John Clare was expressing in his poem, for the self-belief and recognition which both felt had eluded them . . .  ‘I AM! yet what I am who cares, or knows?’ 




Art On The Rack


tall and slender
thin and lean
what do such racked
such skeletal
figures mean

imagination extended
perception broadened
brought to brush and canvas
stone and chisel
bronze and rasp
unique reality
given expression
in the artist’s eye
and distorted vision

el greco

artistic differences
in paint and bronze

fashion’s fad
now continued
on the catwalk

do my eyes
deceive me
with beauty
in the eye of the bewildered
or perhaps following

and stretched out models
and elongated
in the artist’s vision

paraded to their public
asked to accept
an interpretation
allowing retrieval
of a larger truth

thus to become
stricken and striated
of a new generation

fêted now
as great and good
but fated still
to be misunderstood



The images at the top are, from left to right  . . .
El Greco:  ‘St.John The Baptist’ – c.1600; Oil on Canvas
Giacometti:  ‘Walking Man’ – 1960; Bronze
Modigliani: ‘Lunia Czechowska in Black’ – 1919; Oil on canvas
Parmagianino: ‘Madonna With Long Neck’
The bottom picture is of ‘Catwalk models’ – from Pinterest.



North Yorkshire Coast #1

[ Photo Gallery # 78 ]

After my three Photo Galleries displaying the delights of Whitby, my next two galleries will cover some of the delights of the Yorkshire coast further north, now named the ‘North Yorkshire and Cleveland Heritage Coast’.

01 NY Heritage Coast

‘Heritage Coast’ sign at Sandsend

02 HawskerChurch

A sea mist masks the church and gravestones of the coastal village of Hawsker

03 sandsend

Evening view to the north from the beach at Sandsend

04 sandsend

Rough sea looking south towards Whitby from Sandsend.

05 sandsend-westbek

Misty morning beside Westbek at Sandsend

06 RunswickBay

The picturesque artists’ village of Runswick Bay

06a Runswick

High tide in the bay at Runswick

06b Runswick

Further view of Runswick Bay

07 Skinningrove

The old mining village of Skinningrove where the Kilton Beck meets the North Sea and still runs red with the iron deposits carried down from the surrounding hills .  Known as ‘Britain’s Iron Valley’.

Kilton Culvert

Kilton Culvert (N.B. not one of my own photographs)


Three views of the ‘Repus’ Cobble, an old Skinningrove fishing boat now positioned looking out to the North Sea from the beach at Skinningrove.

10 Skinningrove

It is not clear why this cobble has been named ‘Repus’, but it has been pointed out that the name spells ‘Super’ backwords!

11 Skinningrove

Manning the prow of the ‘Repus’ Cobble


Am I a POET?



CALLIOPE: the muse who presides over eloquence and epic poetry; 

Am I a POET?

I’m a poet!  Who are you?
Are you a Poet, too?
Do I write poetry?
I say I do;
But is it poetry I write?
What say you?

 Was it by sweated brow,
By haunted vision,
I overcame my indecision?

 Did Damascene insights,
Or inspiration’s muse,
Give birth
To my poetic views?

 This begs the question
Long undecided:
Am I a Poet,
Famed or derided?


I wrote a poem the other day,
or was it just words
in a different order,
to have their own reason for existence?

Such feelings are
The price I pay;
when I say
I am a poet
am I honest,
do I really know it?

Addressing myself
I’ve learned to ask,
and every time I pen a poem
I set myself this very task . . .

Can I really
hand on heart
claim to be
a tiny part
of all those great
illustrious sages
who’ve coloured
life’s dramatic pages
in epics, sonnets,
ballads and odes,
presenting prose
in verbal codes,
fantasising fecund dreams,
massaging thoughts and wild ideas,
composing their Byronic idylls,
word music of the spheres?

The net result,
always the same,
I know I’ll have
no claim to fame.

Such images,
they prove to me,
that shallow thoughts,
marshmallow words,
can never in a thousand years,
however many sweated tears,
make me one of their poetic peers.



Poets Corner



First Love

First Love


I remember my first love
That first careless rapture.
Its zeal and its pain
I desired to recapture.

I remember my first love,
Possessive and jealous,
That fire all consuming,
Demanding and zealous.

I remember my first love,
The passion and hurt
I knew as a young man
When I felt so alert.

I remember my first love
When my senses were keen,
The sharpest, the brightest
They ever have been.

But as time has moved on
I now understand
That my passion is spent
My fervour unmanned.

I was looking for first love,
Thought that’s what I needed,
A Faustian bargain
With lust now receded.

I was looking for first love
Could it come in old age
Could it quicken my heart
With its fire and its rage

I was looking for first love,
But I now must accept
That time has undone me,
Its tears I have wept.

And so, I give in
To the stillness and lassitude
And remember my youth
In acceptance and gratitude.



John Clare – ‘I AM’

[  # 74 of My Favourite Short Poems  ]



John Clare (1793 – 1864) was an English poet.   Born in Northamptonshire, he was the son of a farm labourer, who became known for his celebrations of the English countryside and for regularly expressing sorrows at its disruption.   His poetry underwent major re-evaluation in the late 20th century and he is now often seen as one of the important 19th-century poets.   His biographer, Jonathan Bate, states that Clare was “the greatest labouring-class poet that England has ever produced.  No one has ever written more powerfully of nature, of a rural childhood, and of the alienated and unstable self.”  Many of his poems are filled with a joy he experienced in nature and the countryside.  Sadly, however, for the last 25 years of his life Clare suffered from mental illness and was incarcerated in a mental institution.   In this wistful soul-searching poem, described by some as “one of the greatest poems of sheer despair ever written”, Clare spills out his desolation and detachment from a life which he would dearly love to have lived . . . 

‘I AM’ . . .  by John Clare


I AM! yet what I am who cares, or knows? 
My friends forsake me, like a memory lost.
I am the self-consumer of my woes,
They rise and vanish, an oblivious host,
Shadows of life, whose very soul is lost.         5
And yet I am—I live—though I am toss’d.
Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dream,
Where there is neither sense of life, nor joys,
But the huge shipwreck of my own esteem         10
And all that’s dear. Even those I loved the best
Are strange—nay, they are stranger than the rest.
I long for scenes where man has never trod—
For scenes where woman never smiled or wept—
There to abide with my Creator, God,         15
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
Full of high thoughts, unborn. So let me lie,
The grass below; above, the vaulted sky.