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






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.



Sea  Light

Katie Sarra-Seascape (1)




As the swell of the sea reaches the shore
Waves wilfully break on the beckoning beach;
Light catches the colours riding the crests,
Blushing in red, in pink and in peach.

While above as we watch in reverence and awe,
The marmalade sky sugars the view,
Embracing the split twixt heaven and earth,
Splitting the vibrant view into two.

In such scenes as this all life gains a meaning,
For life and desire reside in the sea;
The beauty of nature is here embodied,
Bringing contentment and stillness to me.

Katie Sarra-Seascape (2)



My poem originates from a consideration of the oil paintings of Devon artist, Katie Sarra.  Many of Katie’s paintings present visions of the sea in its many different moods, still, turbulent, calm , moody.   Many of these seascapes are displayed in her gallery facing the River Daw as it runs through the Devonshire seaside town of Dawlish.  Her gallery is named ‘SEA LIGHT’.   It is a great joy to spend time in this beautiful gallery which doubles as a thriving cafe and tea rooms.  Two photographs of the gallery front below . . .



A.E. Housman – ‘Bredon Hill’

[  No.69 of my favourite short poems  ]


‘On Bredon Hill’ . . .  Sketch – WHB: 1991

Bredon Hill is in Worcestershire, England, in the Vale of Evesham.  This poem of A.E. Housman’s, which he called ‘Bredon Hill’, is taken from his collection of poems, ‘A Shropshire Lad’ published in 1896.

Housman (1859-1936) was an English poet and scholar, whose verse exerted a strong influence on later poets.  The tone of this particular poem shows a preoccupation with loss and, as such, mirrors the tone of many of his poems.   It tells of lost love, contrasting powerfully the ‘happy noise’ of the church bells which brought joy and happy memories of youthful exuberence at the start of the poem, with the single tone of the funeral bell with which the poem ends.


Bredon Hill    (From “A Shropshire Lad”)

by A.E. Housman

In summertime on Bredon 
The bells they sound so clear; 
Round both the shires they ring them 
In steeples far and near, 
A happy noise to hear. 

Here of a Sunday morning 
My love and I would lie, 
And see the coloured counties, 
And hear the larks so high 
About us in the sky.

The bells would ring to call her 
In valleys miles away; 
“Come all to church, good people; 
Good people come and pray.” 
But here my love would stay. 

And I would turn and answer 
Among the springing thyme, 
“Oh, peal upon our wedding, 
And we will hear the chime, 
And come to church in time.”

But when the snows at Christmas 
On Bredon top were strown, 
My love rose up so early 
And stole out unbeknown 
And went to church alone.

They tolled the one bell only, 
Groom there was none to see, 
The mourners followed after, 
And so to church went she, 
And would not wait for me. 

The bells they sound on Bredon, 
And still the steeples hum, 
“Come all to church, good people,” 
Oh, noisy bells, be dumb; 
I hear you, I will come.



When I Am Gone


‘Graveyard Moon’ … WHB -Pen  Wash 2017



When I am gone
And you are left.
Be not afraid,
Be not bereft.

When you are old
And I am gone,
You’ll love the moon
That shines upon

My midnight grave,
Our place of tryst;
For though I’m gone
I still exist

In memory still;
The moon that shone
Upon our birth
Still shines for us

… when I am gone.



Adrian Henri – ‘Tonight at Noon’

(No.67 of my favourite short poems)

Photograph – WHB   ©


Tonight at Noon  . . .  A Poem by Adrian Henri

Tonight at noon
Supermarkets will advertise 3p extra on everything
Tonight at noon
Children from happy families will be sent to live in a home
Elephants will tell each other human jokes
America will declare peace on Russia
World War I generals will sell poppies on the street on November 11th
The first daffodils of autumn will appear
When the leaves fall upwards to the trees 

Tonight at noon
Pigeons will hunt cats through city backyards
Hitler will tell us to fight on the beaches and on the landing fields
A tunnel full of water will be built under Liverpool
Pigs will be sighted flying in formation over Woolton
And Nelson will not only get his eye back but his arm as well
White Americans will demonstrate for equal rights
In front of the Black house
And the monster has just created Dr. Frankenstein 

Girls in bikinis are moonbathing
Folksongs are being sung by real folk
Art galleries are closed to people over 21
Poets get their poems in the Top 20
There’s jobs for everybody and nobody wants them
In back alleys everywhere teenage lovers are kissing in broad daylight
In forgotten graveyards everywhere the dead will quietly bury the living
You will tell me you love me
Tonight at noon



Adrian Henri was born in Birkenhead, near the port of Liverpool, England, in 1932. He described his early philosophy as “If you think you can do it and you want to do it—then do it.”  Along with Brian Patten and Roger McGough, Adrian Henri was the third member of the group who came to prominence in 1967 on the publication of ‘Mersey Sound’, the Penguin anthology of the Merseybeat or Liverpool Poets. 

As an artist of often surreal paintings, this was also at times apparent in his poetry, as in ‘Tonight at Noon’ which I feature above.  There is humour here along with the pathos of the ending where it is realised, but only at the very end of the poem, that the poet is considering all the impossible happenings which would need to take place before his love was likely to be returned.  Henri died in 2000 and is buried in  Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris, France.


Rainer Maria Rilke – ‘The Swan’

(No.66 of my favourite short poems)


‘The Swan’ – WHB Pen & Wash – 2017

The Swan

This labouring of ours with all that remains undone, 
as if still bound to it, 
is like the lumbering gait of the swan. 

And then our dying—releasing ourselves 
from the very ground on which we stood— 
is like the way he hesitantly lowers himself 

into the water. It gently receives him, 
and, gladly yielding, flows back beneath him, 
as wave follows wave, 
while he, now wholly serene and sure, 
with regal composure, 
allows himself to glide. 


… Translation from the German by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows


I have previously commented on one of Rilke’s poem ‘The Panther’ (q.v.).  In this poem, The Swan’, Rilke connects the awkward way the swan has of moving on land with its smooth, gliding motions as soon as it enters the water.  It is then, with forthright simile, he references the move for the swan, as for we human beings, from the uncertainties and incomplete nature of our lives to a calm acceptance of death.  This seems to me to present a positive view of what death can bring, with the release from earthly tensions into the calm and sure serenity of the after life.


Houses of God



Stowe, Buckinghamshire

Strength in stone,
Hope in height,
Testament in time
Prove its lasting might.


Selworthy, Somerset

To those with faith,
Those who believe,
Those who rejoice,
And those who grieve.

3St Justin Church-Cornwall

St Just’s Church, St. Just in Roseland, Cornwall

Here present hope
And future need,
Through prayer and praise
Help fears recede.

4Yorks-Lastingham-Blacksmiths Arms

Lastingham, North Yorkshire

Church and chapel
Hold their place
In loving hearts,
With God’s good grace.

5Salisbury Sunset

Cathedral, Chichester, West Sussex

Cathedral cloisters,
Calm retreat,
Where stress and pain
With courage meet.


St.Colman’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Cobh, Eire

Houses of God,
Built for prayer,
For those with faith,
Somehow, somewhere.


Coleridge At Watchet

[  Photograph Gallery # 69  ]


The harbour town of Watchet lies on the North Somerset coast of England, between the Quantock Hills and the Brendon Hills on the Eastern edge of Exmoor.

The harbour at Watchet is said to have been the inspiration for Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s famous epic poem ‘The Ancient Mariner’.  Whilst on a walk with his friends, William and Dorothy Wordsworth, over the Quantock Hills in 1797 from his home in nearby Nether Stowey, they came upon Watchet.  It has been said that looking down at the town from St. Decuman’s Church in the town gave him the idea for his poem.

‘The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared, 
Merrily did we drop 
Below the kirk, below the hill, 
Below the lighthouse top.’
In 2002 the Watchet Market House Museum Society decided to commemorate the town’s important link with Coleridge by commissioning a statue. A seven-foot high effigy of the mariner was designed and created by sculptor Alan B. Herriot, of Penicuik, Scotland, cast by Powderhall Fine Art Foundries in Edinburgh and unveiled by Dr. Katherine Wyndham in 2003.  This statue now stands overlooking the marina on Watchet Esplanade.
There is now a designated ‘Coleridge Way’ walk of 51 miles through the landscape that inspired Coleridge to produce some of his best known work.  It takes an east to west path from Nether Stowey to Lynmouth through the lovely Somerset countryside of the Quantock Hills, the Brendon Hills and Exmoor – or obviously, in the reverse direction.

My photographs below were taken on a visit to the area in and around Watchet in 2007.



Watchet 01

Watchet – Harbour & Marina


Watchet 02

Looking north-east from Watchet harbour across the Bristol Channel to the island of Steep Holm

Watchet 03

Coleridge’s ‘Ancient Mariner’. created by the Scottish sculptor, Alan Herriot

Watchet 04

‘God save thee, ancient Mariner! 
From the fiends, that plague thee thus! — 
Why look’st thou so?’ — With my cross-bow 
I shot the ALBATROSS..

Watchet 05

(Coleridge) … this renowned poet resided for some years at the nearby village of Nether Stowey.  In 1797, while on a walking tour, Coleridge visited Watchet.  On seeing the harbour he was inspired to compose one of the best known poems in English literature, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’

Watchet 06

While the black-backed gulls keep an eye on events

Watchet 07

Coastal rock striations near Watchet 

Watchet 08

Dead, or just over-wintering?



‘Mind Games’ … WHB – 1956



Whimsical and wild
Such are the games I play
Whilst mentally beguiled

Hidden within poetry
In discursive verse
My clandestine love affair
And terse

Give to me a reason
Why thus I can’t express
My willingness to capture
My need to seek excess

To open up
Revealing all
Whilst midst the subterfuge
My ego seeks adrenaline
A haven
A refuge

It’s all a nonsense
Words at play
Fending off my fears
Seeking to screen my inner hurt
reality kept at bay