Saudade

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‘Saudade’: 2017 –  Photograph used with kind permission of AK  ©

 


Saudade‘ is a Portuguese word which does not have a direct equivalent in English. It is usually described as ‘a nostalgic longing to be near something or someone that is distant, or that has been loved and lost’  or as ‘the love that remains’ after someone or some place is gone. In its wider sense it conveys feelings, of experiences, places, events that once brought pleasure, but which now trigger the senses and make one live again, although often with an underlying sense that the object of longing will never return.

Several pieces of music have been composed which attempt to convey such feelings of nostalgia and melancholy, mostly by the Brazilian composers for the classical guitar. One of my favourite pieces of guitar music is the ‘SAUDADE’ composed by Diermando Reis.  I have used it here to accompany my poem.  It is played beautifully with great tenderness and technique, by the French classical guitar maestro, Frédéric BERNARD (“Cyrloud”).

I encourage viewers to turn up the volume, then click on this YouTube video link to the music which will open the video in a separate window.  If you then return to this main screen window you will be able to read the poem whilst the music is playing . . .

Guitar from Brazil: Eterna Saudade, Dilermando Reis

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SAUDADE

I retain
a longing that never leaves
a love that heeds
neither present
nor future
but clings to the past
as suckers of ivy
cleave to my crumbling walls
as the unceasing tide
embraces
the shore

and, as the guitar’s
velvet fingerings
hold me in their thrall
its mellow notes
take me
to that soft spring time
of my youth
when life had begun
to take on meaning
memory then
had no significance
and zeal and lust
freshly formed
were all

now
those times long past
remain with me
brighter than yesterday
clearer than today
the music returns me
to that other time
that other place
bound by hiraeth
bringing with it
regret
for opportunities gone
for loss of that distant
loved land
and people

enchanted in memory
and now
all too bitingly missed
loved
lost
and longed for
… saudade

 

AmorSaudade

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Let Sleeping Ducks Lie

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Morning on the River Lowman, Devon … Photo: WHB – 2017  ©

 

LET SLEEPING DUCKS LIE

Pillowed heads
nestled
self-cushioned
oblivious
to my interference
in their down time

Dead to the busy world
and to my stare
my attempt
to disturb their lives
with my own

Our only mutual assurance
the comfort
of another sunrise
another day
to forage
to survive
to face
new concerns
different uncertainties

 The inbuilt plight
of all creation
fortified only
by a will
to endure
to survive
and thrive

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Popular Opinion

 

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From Reddit (detail) – Sep., 2017

“Popular opinion is the greatest lie in the world. ”  ― Thomas Carlyle   Thomas Carlyle

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WAS IT ME?

Three faces of the truth
Did, Didn’t, Might-Have-Done
Owned up only to being honest

DID . . .

Ok
Hands up
I admit it
You aren’t wrong
It was me
I am guilty
You’ve got me bang to rights

DIDN’T

It wasn’t me
You are mistaken
Not guilty
I deny it all
I was never there
I couldn’t have done it
I have a watertight alibi

MIGHT-HAVE-DONE

I don’t know
It might have been me
It could have been me
But – what does it matter
I don’t care
You don’t care
No-one cares

JUDGEMENT

Being economical with the truth
Right or wrong
True or false
Truth will out
Justice will triumph
 
Or so says popular opinion 
The greatest lie in the world

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A Broken Heart

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‘Hands On Heart’ Photoshopped  Photo: WHB – Sep., 2017

PALPITATIONS

When palpitations
of the heart
start
that sudden
gulp
that gasp for air

is it love
or lust
or life itself
forcing me to face
my future

that unwonted throb
unwanted gasp
those ensuing reverberations
erupted flutterings
flip-floppings

before I am returned
to that steady beat
that controlled thump
which promises
certitude

My heart
that part
of me
held dear
so near
yet no longer
steady
nor ready
to yearn
to long for
and to desire
to allow free reign
to emotion

now caution
rules
demands attention
ectopic beating
atrial contraction
call it whatever
heart-hiccups
love-stutters
heebie-jeebies
screaming habdabs
all one

palpitations
once a passion
now a symptom

a broken heart
is not
just love forgone
it is
a life in peril

 

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MOONSTRUCK

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MOONSTRUCK

In the middle
of the night
when the moon
is at its height

I’m given
to fanciful excesses
about pretty girls
with golden tresses

Capricious ladies
small and sweet
built-up hair
and dainty feet

Lock their looks
on my leering eyes
and I’m enthralled
anaesthetised

I fall so hard
I cannot rise
it’s my golden apple
the major prize

But always a mirage
a passing dream
just one more fancy
it would seem

My life’s story
told in wishes
always someone
else’s kisses.

 

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Sometimes

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‘Dawn’ … Pen & Wash – WHB  ©

 

SOMETIMES

Sometimes
at first tread of dawn
I sense the dampness of the dew
as it cossets the grass to refresh my world

Sometimes
in the morning’s glow
I feel the sun’s insistence
on bringing me joy for another day

Sometimes
amidst the midday murmur
I hear the singing of my garden’s flowers
intent on making their presence known to me

Sometimes
in the heat of the afternoon
I feel the bee’s ardent resolve
its need to garner the fragrant lavender’s love

Sometimes
in the evening’s stillness
I am aware of the blackbird’s impulse
to trill its sugared song to thrill my enfeebled soul

Sometimes
in the dead of night
I am awoken by the moon’s resolve
to lighten my darkness with its lambent glow

And sometimes
When life’s burdens are upon me
I respond to Nature’s showcased beauty
With renewed resolve to remain a beneficiary of such grace

 

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Carpe Diem

(No.53 of my favourite short poems) 

carpe diem

Not in fact a poem this week, but an inspirational  monologue on the significance of writing poetry and of the importance of  ‘carpe diem’  (translated from the Latin as ‘seize the day’), or the importance of making the most of the present time before it is too late.  The thesis is presented in the film ‘Dead Poets’ Society’ in a speech to his pupils by the charismatic English teacher, Mr Keating, who taught his pupils about life, not just about poetry and the English language.   Mr Keating was played in the film by Robin Williams.

From ‘Dead Poets Society’ … screenplay written by Tom Schulman

Mr. Keating:

“In my class, you will learn to think for yourselves again. You will learn to savor words and languages. No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.  I see that look in Mr Pitts’ eyes like 19th century literature has nothing to do with going to business school or medical school, right?  Maybe.  You may agree and think yes, we should study our Mr. Pritcher and learn our rhyme and meter and go quietly about the business of achieving other ambitions.  Well, I have a secret for you.  Huddle Up…Huddle UP!  We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute.  We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race.  And the human race is filled with passion.  Medicine, law, business these are all noble pursuits necessary to sustain life.  But poetry, beauty, romance, and love; these are what we stay alive for.  To quote from Whitman “Oh me, Oh life! … of the question of these recurring;  of the endless trains of the faithless … of cities filled with the foolish;  what good amid these? Oh me, Oh life.”  “Answer…that you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. …  What will your verse be?” 

Robin Williams - Dead Poets Society

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Watch “Robin Williams – What will your verse be? – excerpt from Dead Poets Society” on YouTube  . . .

Mr Keating’s speech from ‘Dead Poets’ Society’

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Thomas H. Schulman ( 1950 – 2016) is an American screenwriter best known for his semi-autobiographical screenplay Dead Poets Society. The film won the Best Screenplay Academy Award in 1989, and was nominated for Best Picture and Best Director.  (From Wikipedia)

Robin McLaurin Williams (1951 – 2014) was an American stand-up comedian and actor. Starting as a stand-up comedian in San Francisco and Los Angeles in the mid-1970s, he is credited with leading San Francisco’s comedy renaissance.  (From Wikipedia)

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Death’s Calling Card

A Verse in Spenserian Stanza:

In a Spenserian Stanza each verse contains nine lines in total: eight lines in iambic pentameter followed by a single ‘alexandrine’ line in iambic hexameter. The rhyme scheme of these lines is “ababbcbcc.”  Somewhat morbid, but my own composition in this form is offered below . . . 

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Burne-Jones – ‘Merlin & Nimue’ – detail

Death’s Calling Card

In summer time when light is long to last
And evening stretches far into the night,
Then I am wont to think of times gone past
When life was dear and death was out of sight;
But autumn has arrived and dimmed the light,
That short time left to me now presses hard;
Have I done all the planning that I might,
Allowed myself my faults to disregard,
Updated my résumé, my next life’s calling card?

 

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Ode To Mount Felix

(No.52 of my favourite short poems) 

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A community stitch project has recently been completed and put on display to commemorate the centenary of the Mount Felix Hospital which, throughout World War 1 and afterwards for several years served, as a military hospital in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, for soldiers from New Zealand wounded at Gallipoli and in later battles.    The project is in the form of a tapestry of 44 panels stitched by community groups ranging from primary schools to experienced embroiderers.   By the end of WW1 the hospital, in conjunction with another nearby hospital, had nearly 1,900 beds and some 27,000 patients had been treated during the operational lives of these two hospitals.

One of the panels, pictured below, features a lovely poem composed during his time in this hospital by one of the patients, name unknown,  who was stunned by the beauty and tranquility of his surroundings after experiencing the horrors of war.  I give photographs above and below of the tapestry on which this verse has been embroidered.

WoT MtFelix1

 

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Stercus Accidit

StercusAccidit 

Stercus Accidit

Eventually
Inevitably
Regretfully
Into our life
Strife
Friction
Fever
 frenzy and ferment
will occur
C’est la vie
So let it be
Trouble is rife
Just deal with life
That’s what it means
We are machines
Unsurpassed
Programmed to last
Stercus is sent
A letter of intent
To test the resolve
Which makes us human

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NOTES:   Latin:  ‘stercus = faeces; accidit = happens.  In the vernacular, the phrase is usually translated as :  “Into every life some shit must fall”, or as  “shit happens“.  The phrase is attributed to the Scottish philosopher David Hume.  More delicately, in French, “C’est la vie” would probably be used in similar situations – not, of course, that I am suggesting the British are any less indelicate than the French!

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