A Sign Too Far . . . TAKE 2

I have previously (See my blog entry of  February 16th 2017, …   ‘A Sign Too Far’  ) dealt with the modern day scourge which the multitude of signs and advertisements are to the pedestrian and to side-walks and pavements.  At that time I used my own photograph which I use again below to illustrate this different take on the same subject . . .

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A SIGN TOO FAR   . . .  TAKE 2

So often have I been
attacked by signs
Throughout the day
Plethora
Of signals
Face me as I walk
Innocuous one by one
But fearsome in phalanx
Threatening my advance
Discouraging my progress
Terrorising travel
Note to myself –
Beware
Be wary

A sign
Is a sign
Is a sign
I need to tell you that
I need to let you know
To say it loud and clear
Please notice me
Notice my notice
If I say it often enough
You are bound to notice
Allow me to grab
Your attention
And your money
Let me
tell you about myself
I’m not shy
Passer by
I’ll tell you why
Just shout it out
And cry
To the sky
Saying by the by
Please notice me
Please don’t go
You need to know
I’ve much to say
In every way
All through the day

Too much
Too far
I say
Just clear the way
And let me pass
Your sinister intent
Not heaven sent
You need me more
Than I need you
So please take notice
I refuse
To take notice
Of your notice.

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Photographs … WHB – 2017

 

Greenland – Nanortalik #1

Greenland is the world’s largest island – excluding the island-continent of Australia.  The majority of the island – well over 1,000 miles from North to South, is covered in ice.  Human settlements are confined to the coast.  I was lucky enough to be in Greenland in September 2008, when, unusually, the weather was beautiful – the sky clear blue, the temperature just like a British early summer.  I have already published, on March 30th this year, some of my photographs of the icebergs and ice floes in the Ice Fiord.  See:  ‘Ancient Ice’ .  The views were dramatic, but the place which captivated me most was the small town of Nanortalik on the South-West coast of the country.  It is an isolated community, without road connection to other settlements or to the Greenland capital of Nuuk.  Over the next three weeks I shall publish, on Thursdays, some of the photographs which I took in and around NANORTALIK . . .

A generic map of Greenland

Map of Greenland showing NANORTALIK in the South West of the island

 

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Local inhabitants wearing traditional costume – for the tourists!

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The ‘Head Stone’

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Local children atop the Head Stone

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View of part of the town looking inland to the mountains behind

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Approaching the village and its church

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No trees, but plenty of grasses and wild flowers

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Getting nearer to the church

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The town’s Danish Lutheran Church

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Church interior

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Cannon – early town defences

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Setting out on a rowing boat – sunlight shining through the seal-skin hull

We Mourn With MANCHESTER

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William Morris/Burne-Jones …  ‘The Angel Of Sorrow’ – Stained Glass, Christchurch, Oxford

WE MOURN WITH MANCHESTER

So sad the sound
Of wailing
Searching

voices
Blooded by fate
Taut and tense
Exuding fear
Dread and anguish
In frantic response to
Vile and cowardly acts of
The deranged
Our response can only be
Love for life
For those distressed
And retribution
In whatever hereafter
For the perpetrators
Their hatred

Forever condemned

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The Writing’s On The Wall

Writing On The Wall

 The Writing’s On The Wall

(Verses using idiomatic expressions)

It’s all over bar the shouting,
Pride goes before a fall;
Another nail in the coffin,
The writing’s on the wall.

“You’ve not a hope in hell’, they said,
“You’re doomed to sink like a stone;
Abandon hope who enters here.”
But the devil looks after his own.

I will not beat about the bush,
Nor bark up that wrong tree.
Yes, it’s back to square one I go,
‘Twixt devil and deep blue sea.

Some time I’ll bite the bullet again,
But till the bitter end
Blood, sweat and tears it is for me
Till I am round the bend.

No I’m not about to bite the dust,
Nor to push up the daisies,
For I am still alive and kicking,
Singing my own  life’s praises.

Yes, the cleft stick that I am in
Is just a cock-and-bull story,
For I will last till the cows come home
In my Land of Hope and Glory.

And when the hue and cry are over
Then I’m  off to the Land of Nod.
When those hell’s bells have sounded.
All’s still in the lap of the gods.

Yes, every dog will have its day,
The writing is on the wall.
Every cloud has a silver lining,
I’m not heading for a fall.

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Hope

(Poem No.35 of my favourite short poems)

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Drawing in pen and ink … WHB – May 2017

HOPE

BY Emily Dickinson

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.

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A delightful, short and simply expressed poem, which expands a metaphor into a delightfully positive view of the power of Hope in our lives.  It remains with us through gale and storm, demanding nothing of us.  

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The preferred use by Emily Dickinson of dashes to punctuate her verses has been, more recently, commented on light-heartedly in a short poem of Wendy Cope’s . . .

EMILY DICKINSON

Higgledy-piggledy
Emily Dickinson
Liked to use dashes
Instead of full stops

Nowadays, faced with such
Idiosyncrasy,
Critics and editors
Send for the cops.

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No Blue Plaque

NO BLUE PLAQUE

No blue plaque here
but
in that house
in that room
I was conceived.
In the same house
in the same room
then I was born.

First child
Only child
Undistinguished house

undistinguished room
undistinguished birth.
But blessed with
the Conquering
Blood and Fire
General’s name.

It had to be that way.
Aren’t all births
distinguished only by their
unglamorous spectacle?
Not something I asked for
nor desired.

No regrets,
but there were
Consequences.
Oh, yes.
Eighty years
of consequences.
My history
My responsibility
My river’s ride
through childhood rapids
to maturity’s turmoil
and turbulence.
Becalmed now
in dispiriting dotage
its stillnesses
its infirmity and nostalgia.

What follows
eventually
as I merge
with the looming ocean

waiting
to receive me?
Memories fade for me
yet I know
some continuity remains
where these same images
 have been handed on

to those loved ones
who will remember.

But now
in moments of tranquility
my responsibility
for my past
presses hard,
until those times when
 my love surges
to outweigh my guilt,
and again
for good or ill
my scarred soul

returns to its past
and wonders.

… and time treads on
as I stare at the window,
blinds shielding its secrets
Now
just as they did then
So long ago.

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All 3 photographs … WHB – Yorkshire (2016) and Sussex (2009), UK

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ISLAY – Scotland’s Whisky Isle

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The view from Port Askaig across the Sound Of Islay to the Paps Of Jura.

Islay (pronounced ‘eye-la’), with a population of approximately 3,200, is on the same latitude as Gigha (see my post of April 6th 2017) and so shares its position as the southernmost of the Inner Hebrides Islands, off the west coast of Scotland.  Along with the neighbouring island of Jura, it is known for its whisky.  Eight distilleries produce the island’s characteristically peaty single malts. 

The first written references to Islay come from St. Columba who set foot there in 560 AD. The historical significance of Islay cannot be over emphasised.  It is from Finlaggan, the cradle of the Clan Donald, that much of Argyll was ruled by the Lords of the Isles.  Here, in the ancient burial ground is the grave of Robert the Bruce’s grand-daughter.

For many visitors the famous distilleries on Islay are the first acquaintance with this hospitable and friendly island, but Islay has many other attractions and is well worth a visit to follow the beautiful coastline, walk its moorlands, and visit its small villages and historic settlements. The  island has miles of beautiful beaches, impressive bays on Islay’s Atlantic west coast, and stunning views throughout.   Walking and cycling are ideal and practical ways to explore the island.  Islay is also a birdwatching paradise with more than 100 species of birds and thousands of migrating geese who visit Islay in the winter from the Arctic.  Not without reason Islay is called “The Queen of the Hebrides”. 

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Below is a Gallery of just twelve of the photographs I took on a previous visit when the weather was not always as kind as it might have been.  Clicking on any of the photographs will bring up a slide show with slightly larger images …

Life Drawing Class

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LIFE DRAWING CLASSES

Life drawing classes in Chelsea
The chance of a lifetime fulfilled
A chance to perfect my technique
I should’ve been delighted and thrilled.

But it wasn’t quite like that in practice;
Whilst I became more and more zealous
I found to my utter dismay
My fiancée grew terribly jealous.

So I gave up these classes to please her,
My art took a secondary place
To a contented future with landscapes.
Yes, I gave in to her whims – just in case.

So, I never will be a Paul Rubens,
And Lucien Freud’s not for me.
I timidly gave in to persuasion,
All governed by wifely decree.

 

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FencePainting

Cartoon – Acknowledgement to artist unknown.  The other 4 sketches are my own – WHB  ©

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TIME OUT

 

TIME OUT

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Time out for Reynard.
He’ll just wait.
Eyeing up those chickens
To seal their fate.

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Time out, but wary,
On the qui vive.
Fodder for his family
Just about to thieve.

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Time out for him now,
Night’s work done.
Taking a siesta
In the sun.

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Say what you will, but
The urban fox,
Is part of Nature’s spectrum,
Not unorthodox.

 

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Photographs taken in a Surrey garden … WHB: 2015-17

 

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‘The Eagle’ … Alfred, Lord Tennyson

(Poem No.34 of my favourite short poems)

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Head of a Bald Eagle … Pen & Ink – WHB : May 2017

 

The Eagle

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.
The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.
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By  Alfred, Lord Tennyson

A poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809 -1892), who succeeded Wordsworth as Poet Laureate in 1850.   This short poem is expressed with great effect and dynamism.   The adjectives are just right.  The words, metre, alliteration and rhymes work together to convey the essence of the eagle’s power and majesty.
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