River Thames Sunsets

A selection of my photographs, taken on different occasions between 2004 and 2010, of sunsets – looking westwards from the south bank of the River Thames along the four mile stretch of the River in Surrey, England, between Chertsey and Walton-on-Thames . . .

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Il Dolce Far Niente

‘Il Dolce Far Niente’ translates as ‘Sweet Idleness’, ‘The sweetness of doing nothing’, or perhaps the feeling that doing nothing can be a positive rather than a negative ‘activity’.  The concept is Italian and appears to derive its meaning from the languor of life in those countries which enjoy a Mediterranean climate.

In view of the demands made upon us all in our modern world of hectic activity, where, for many, Facebook and Twitter command more attention than making face-to-face conversation, it seems appropriate for us all on occasion to take time out, to halt life’s frantic pace, to pause every now and again to enjoy our surroundings and our fellow human beings.

The concept matches well with the thoughts of W.H.Davies expressed in his famous poem   ‘Leisure’  (q.v.).   The idea has also long been a favourite subject of both poets and pictorial artists, particularly during the 19th Century.

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‘Dolce Far Niente’ by John Singer Sargent – 1907 (Brooklyn Museum, New York)

IL DOLCE FAR NIENTE

how mellow is the stillness
of a moment’s rest
the tranquility of a pause
to catch one’s breath

 merely to sit
and let life’s gladness in
to squander time
bask in the quietude
embrace serenity
and savour solitude

such dulcet times
are gifted to us
as blessings
to counter
life’s feverish pace
how pleasant to give in
let the world go 
without a fight
relax and let time pass
submit to lethargy
such rest is
cathartic
curative

in the moment
seek stillness
let life lapse
take time out from caring
to sit and look
relax and watch
unbend
allow the strain
to become becalmed

be still
in the silence of the day
give thoughts
the space to bloom
and eyes the time
to gaze

empower the present
and let it be enjoyed
for what it is
not for what will follow
for in the present
the past is severed
and be sure
the future
will have its day

look to the now
the sun, the moon
the stars, the sea
the wind, the rain
the warmth, the chill
ponder upon them
and upon life

or ponder not
just accept them
be glad
and be still

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 ‘Dolce Far Niente’ by John William Waterhouse – … 1880  (Kirkcaldy Galleries)

It’s Your Decision

To Be Or Not To Be

Pen & Ink Drawing … WHB – July 2017

TO BE OR NOT TO BE –
IT’S YOUR DECISION

give in
just let life happen
don’t resist
or make a move towards it
let it approach you
and when it does
just stand your ground
and wait
don’t even think
for when you react
then you will be committed
bound to some response
compelled to a decision
confirmed in participation

in life

and thus
inevitably
to becoming
a human being

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CRICKET

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© ‘ The Cricket Match’ … Pen & Wash – WHB – March 2017

 

CRICKET

Roll up, Roll up
And buy your ticket
Rejoice and thrill
At the game of CRICKET

Bowlers bowl
Fielders field
Batsmen bat
Never yield

Keepers keep
And catchers catch
All this happens
In a cricket match

Strikers strike
And hitters hit
Sloggers slog
Lickety-split

Floaters float
Beamers beam
Chuckers chuck
While seamers seam

Umpires umpire
Scorers score
Strikers strike
Can’t ask for more

Spinners spin
Sledgers sledge
Captains captain
At the cutting edge

Drivers drive
And blockers block
Bouncers bounce
Eye on the clock

Grafters graft
And Hackers hack
Hookers hook
Better stand back

Openers open
Swingers swing
Sweepers sweep
‘Cos that’s their thing

Oft played upon
A sticky wicket
Best sport of all
The game of CRICKET


 

As in all sports, cricket has over its long history built up a long list of specialist vocabulary, or jargon.  I have attempted to incorporate some of this specialist language in my verses.

My pen and wash painting is of a scene at the Heathcoat Cricket Club in Mid-Devon.
The game of cricket has been played on this ground since the late 19th Century. 

The ground itself is one of the few to be found actually within the grounds of a National Trust property – that of Knightshayes Court , in the village of Bolham, near Tiverton.

 


 

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ON PARTING . . . Three Rondelets

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The RONDELET   is a poetic form originating in France.  It consists of a single septet (7 lines) with just two rhymes and one repeating refrain, in the fom of: AbAabbA.  (The capital letters represent the repeats. The 3 refrains (A) are written in tetra-syllabic (dimeter) and the other lines are twice as long, these being octasyllabic (tetrameter).

Below I print three of my attempts at constructing a RONDELET – all on the subject of ‘PARTING’ . . .

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Scanned image by Philip V.Allingham of a wood engraving by Dalziel at: http://www.thevictorianweb.org

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ON PARTING … 1 

Tell me to go
I know at last that we are through
Tell me to go
 The damage is to all on show
 And time is up for me and you
Better move on to pastures new
Tell me to go

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ON PARTING … 2

But now we part
I know I’ll miss your every kiss
But now we part
The hurt has caused my broken heart
I am not given to reminisce
But your embrace I know I’ll miss
But now we part

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ON PARTING … 3

(A similar form, but not strictly a Rondelet, the lines of the refrain being in trimeter ! )

Love me or let me go
The hurt is more than I can bear
Love me or let me go
Stop dealing me that parting blow
You tease and tempt my heart to ensnare
Without a thought to commit or share
Love me or let me go

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The description, with examples, of this poetic form can be found on the :
  ‘Shadow Poetry’  website

 

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Creative Sparks

Pattern, Shape, Texture and Inspiration

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Tell-a-tale Patterns on a wall
Shape and Texture all enthral

tell it all

I speak to myself
of myself

as I write
the blueprints of rules
should guide
not govern
flair and skill
for good or ill
let inspiration be found
in the scope
of my vision
natural occurrences
instances
of the imagination
mind’s saturation
sculpted by sea feather
weather-assisted
twisted
by time

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stones
worn and
moulded
bruised and folded
by the breeze
these
speak to me in telling verse
ideas diverse
intersperse
my thoughts
broaching themes
word streams
new memes

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this tree
disguised
surprised
anthropomorphised
attributes
of patterned roots
suits my style
brindled
dappled
nature’s offshoots
veinlike
skein-like

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And then
the shortfall
inspiration stalls
until that wall
enthralls
recalls
my pitfalls
windfalls
then my palette
revives
thrives again
and in its archives
My muse is revived

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Thus
this new view
a breakthrough
the connective tissue
come to rescue
my mind-block’s
black box
and to resuscitate
my failing powers
of inventiveness

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meaningless
yet meaningful
but tension taut
and overwrought
linked by thought chains
succoured by mind games
built into high rise blocks
of language fodder
ever odder

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eroded
exploded
colour coded

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oil-spoiled
and rainbow-coated
wordless surface
followed now with purpose
and augmented clues from

(ThamesDitton-CrackInWallPlaster

such as this
plaster-disaster
a certain
crack in the curtain
a remix, fix
new tricks
new script suggested

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dream instances
silent witnesses
to my imagination’s
flights
those dizzy heights
of know-my-rights
endeavour
hinting at the next
text

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the creative process
to which I’ll succumb
and produce this
my next pennyless
poetic income

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Lanturnes
rictameter
diamonds and pyramids
drape
and shape
my poems
mechanical poetry
composed to formula
but adding
when it comes to the crunch
a knockout punch
not all about pattern
because convention
needs to be coloured
by considered thought
wrought
from life
wrenched
from strife
moulded
by meaning
seen and felt
through my muse’s lens
into gems
of terse
verse

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nothing worse
than the curse
of banality
pattern
controlled by reason
liberated by
inspiration
Calliope’s lifeblood

Nature’s example
Of how Creation
Life
Followed by Death
Followed by Re-birth
is accomplished

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© Photographs copyright – all by WHB in various locations – Orkneys, Argyll (Scotland), Devon, Essex, Surrey, Sussex (England),  Stavanger (Norway). 

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Cardiff

[ Photo Blog #45 ]

Cardiff Waterfront

CARDIFF is the capital city of WALES.  It has a very long and fascinating history.  Today I just want to give a brief mention to its waterfront, an area which in recent years has been developed into an attractive and intriguing area with many new buildings, shops, galleries, sculptures and visitor attractions.

The harbour at Cardiff Bay is situated on the Southern coast of Wales, UK.  It has one of the greatest tidal ranges in the world (up to 14m).  This meant that at low tide it was inaccessible for up to 14 hours a day.  However, the Cardiff Bay Barrage was completed in 1999, enabling the creation of a a vast freshwater lake (500 acres) and the development of what is now known as Cardiff Waterfront.  Here can be found the Welsh Assembly Government buildings, the Norwegian Church Arts Centre, the Pierhead Building, Techniquest Centre, the Senedd or Welsh Assembly Building, Butetown History and Arts Centre, the 2000 Lightship, the iconic Wales Millennium Centre, al-fresco cafes, restaurants, and public works of art, giving a truly cosmopolitan feel to the City.

It was here, in the Norwegian seamen’s church, that Roald Dahl and his brothers and sisters, of Norwegian descent but  born in Cardiff, were all christened.  This central area of the Cardiff Waterfront is now named Roald Dahl Plass and is the site of many of the city’s greatest events.

The links between Cardiff and Norwegian seamen date back to the coal boom when Scandinavian ships brought timber for pit props and returned home laden with coal. Churches like this with its attractive white clapboard cladding and pointy spire were built to serve the Norwegian sailors who docked here. Today the restored church features an interesting gallery and a friendly café.

The photographs are by me, taken on a visit to the city several years ago . . .

 

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Model of Cardiff Waterfront

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The Norwegian Church

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Commerative photograph of a portrait of Roald Dahl in the Interior of the Norwegian Church

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Commemorative plaque on the naming of Roald Dahl Plass

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The Pierhead Building

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The Wales Millennium Centre

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A bronze of an immigrant couple symbolising the arrival of many to Tiger Bay seeking a better life in Britain.

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Female Beastie Bench – Cardiff Bay, Sculpted bench in brick  ‘My Beautiful City of Cardiff’

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The 2000 Lightship, a Christian centre funded by Associated British Ports and Cardiff council – now re-sited

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Stained glass Portholes on the Lightship

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‘Inversnaid’ by Gerard Manley Hopkins

(Poem No.41 of my favourite short poems)

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‘The Mountain Stream’ … WHB – Pen & Wash – 2000

While in his twenties, Hopkins’s trained as a Jesuit priest, gave up writing poetry at one stage, but returned to it later in his life.  His poems are highly rhythmical and often ‘difficult’ on first reading .   In his poem ‘INVERSNAID’ he looks in wonder at a stream in the Highlands of Scotland near the small Scottish village of that name on the ‘bonnie’ banks of Loch Lomond, where a waterfall plunges down the hillside into a dark pool.

In his poetry, Hopkins developed a number of ground-breaking techniques, including ‘sprung rhythm’, where stresses are counted rather than syllables in a line. His use of language is robust, energetic and, at often experimental.  Like most of his poems, ‘Inversnaid’ is composed using a variety of poetic constructions – alliteration, assonance, repetition, personification, compound words, dialect and archaic words, effects that bring considerable force and energy to his poetry.  Dylan Thomas had a similar feel for language and for the construction of compound words.


Inversnaid

This darksome burn, horseback brown,
His rollrock highroad roaring down,
In coop and in comb the fleece of his foam
Flutes and low to the lake falls home.

A windpuff-bonnet of fáwn-fróth
Turns and twindles over the broth
Of a pool so pitchblack, féll-frówning,
It rounds and rounds Despair to drowning.

Degged with dew, dappled with dew
Are the groins of the braes that the brook treads through,
Wiry heathpacks, flitches of fern,
And the beadbonny ash that sits over the burn.

What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.

Gerard Manley Hopkins …  (1881)

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Three Tercets

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William Blake … ‘The Vision Of Christ Resurrected’

A Haiku, when written in English, is a 3-lined unrhymed tercet.
A Poetic  TERCET is essentially a verse of three-lines all of which end in the same rhyme and often written in iambic pentameter.  I print three of my own such Poetic TERCETS below .  . .


 

THE DOUBTING THOMAS

To start each morning he would kneel and pray;

He needed that to get him through the day.

At least his god would let him have his say.

THE BOMBAST

He loved to speak and then have the last word.

His friends, such as they were, called him absurd,

The rest just closed their ears and nothing heard.

THE CHOICE

God said to Man I’ll give to you a choice,

Believe in me and then with me rejoice,

Or be a Trappist monk and lose your voice.

 

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WORDSWORTH: ‘A Slumber did my Spirit Seal’

(Poem No.40 of my favourite short poems)

I posted Wordsworth’s poem   ‘She dwelt among the untrodden ways’ on the 1st August 2016.   Wordsworth’s ‘Lucy’ poems are laden with wistfulness and melancholy, but the simplicity and delicacy of their language, and the directness and aptness of their rhyme, have always touched me with their beauty and tenderness.  Below I print another of these short poems from the ‘Lucy’ series, usually known by their first line …  ‘A Slumber did my Spirit Seal’

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Burne-Jones … ‘Sleeping Beauty’

A Slumber did my Spirit Seal

A slumber did my spirit seal;
I had no human fears:
She seemed a thing that could not feel
The touch of earthly years. 

No motion has she now, no force;
She neither hears nor sees;
Rolled round in earth’s diurnal course,
With rocks, and stones, and trees. 

By:  William Wordsworth

 

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