The SPIRE

Salisbury Cathedral, Wiltshire, England . . . Pen & Wash : WHB – 2015

THE SPIRE

This work of man
Exultant spire
Sings to the world’s
Celestial choir.

Man’s needle point
It pricks the clouds
Defies the lightning
Lures the crowds.

Commands the heavens
Upholds the sky
Tells the world
Don’t fear to die.

This vibrant sky
These bright moonbeams
Define our souls
Colour our dreams.

This work of man
Exultant spire
Sings to the world’s
Celestial choir.

Salisbury Cathedral, is an Anglican cathedral in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England, and one of the leading examples of Early English architecture.  The main body of the cathedral was completed in 1258.  Two men filmed themselves climbing 404ft (123m) to the capstone of the Cathedral’s spire to replace a faulty weather meter.    I add below a link to this video giving the spectacular view captured by these conservators working at the top of this, Britain’s tallest spire  . . .

CLIMB to the top of the SPIRE

The footage shows the breathtaking views only usually experienced by the Cathedral’s peregrine falcons.

Before The Sun Sets

Pen & Wash Sketch – based on ‘Ancient Trees’ – to mark National Trust Week 1999 . . .  WHB

The crisp crunch of my footsteps as I crossed that frosty field
Confirmed to me the joy that winter brings;
The frail but wondrous sunlight burning through the morning mist
Affirmed a world of wonder in all things.

It brought to me a memory of those long days of my youth,
When all was young and all life was tomorrow,
When time and love and right and wrong were not things I considered,
Just the lasting joy which Nature can bestow.

Tomorrow was a world away from the life that I live now;
No anguish that my world might cease to be
Before I’d felt and savoured all that life can have to offer,
Before the sun sets on that ancient tree.

Despite my knowledge of the pain that’s in the world around me,
Bleak Nature seeks to calm its shifting shadows,
The seasons, sun, the starlight, still remain to bring us hope,
That vital spark from which renewed life flows.

AS THE YEAR ENDS

 

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Pexels.com

Dark the swollen river runs
Under the bridge’s shades of grey.
Slate sky condemns the passive scene
Draining colour from the day.

Tree silhouettes outline my view
Their winter ribs bared to the frost
December bids the old year gone
With no regrets for what is lost. 

The year expires; bid it goodbye, 
It brought distress, re-kindled fears,
It promised much it failed to give,
Left little hope and many tears.

So now, in hope of better times,
Tomorrow holds the future’s key.
New perspectives flood my view
Blue skies as far as I can see.

LIFE FORCE – ONE

LIFE  FORCE – ONE

When shadow turns to substance 
In the still of morning’s birth, 
Then once again I wonder 
How much my life is worth.

 Have I in the scheme of things 
At last outlived my time?
I want to last a fair span yet,
To hope is not a crime.

 I long to do a thousand things 
I’ve not had time to do, 
But is that just a selfish wish 
I’m not entitled to?

 So many of my friends have gone,
Lives past while mine’s still here. 
Do I deserve more time on earth, 
Or is my ending near?

 Such morbid thoughts occur to me 
More frequently each day. 
I rush to pack more living in, 
No halt, pause or delay.

 Despite the limits on my life 
My time is filled with actions. 
Yet still my mind frets at the thought 
Of those un-lived attractions.

 Why am I selfishly intent 
On hurtling to nirvana, 
Grasping at each passing chance 
More enhanced life to garner?

 I could so quietly subside 
Into a life of ease; 
No rush, no great exigency 
My daemons to appease.

 Yet I am not content like that, 
I must remain on course, 
To stay with, in the time I’m left,
This imperative life force.


The two photographs were taken by me in London’s Roman Amphitheatre, which can be found in its restored state in the basement of the City of London Guildhall.

These Roman remains, thought to date to the 1st Century AD,  were discovered when the Guildhall Art Gallery was being re-developed in 1985.  The original structure could house over 7,000 spectators seated on tiered wooden benches in what would then have been the open air, where they watched the execution of criminals as well as fights, usually to the death, between wild animals and gladiators.

More can be discovered about these little-known remains of the Roman Londinium on the City of London website at:

London’s Roman Amphitheatre


 

MY CHRISTMAS GHOSTS

MY CHRISTMAS GHOSTS

… Three Christmas Senryu …

They live on in dreams
Friends who once enriched my life 
Ghosts of Christmas Past

Ghosts of Christmas Now
Fill my days and haunt my nights
Bring both joy and fear

Loves I’ll leave behind
Ghosts of Christmas Yet To Come
They are my future

Senryū

Form of poetry

Description

Senryū is a Japanese form of short poetry similar to haiku in construction: three lines with 17 morae. Senryū tend to be about human foibles while haiku tend to be about nature, and senryū are often cynical or darkly humorous while haiku are more serious. Wikipedia

BUILDING BRIDGES

'Packhorse Bridge - Stokesley,Yorkshire - Bas Relief wood carving

Aiding Access
Tying Terrains
Serving States
Linking Lovers 

Binding Borders
Attaching Allies  

Heralding Heroes
Binding Believers
Enabling Escapees
Nurturing Nations
Trading Trackways
Creating Comrades
Mending Marriages
Merging Merchants
Following Frontiers
Uniting Unbelievers
Creating Conquerors
Delivering Destinies
Allowing Assemblies 

Nourishing Networks
Connecting Countries
Exacerbating Enemies
Empowering Explorers
Engineering Encounters 

Inculcating Interrelations 
Combining Confederations
Constructing Concordances
Regenerating Relationships
Perpetuating Possessiveness

Perpetuating Possessiveness

 

. . .   &, OF COURSE, … REKINDLING  RELATIONSHIPS !!!

The two pictures are of ‘the ancient Packhorse Bridge, in Stokesley, N’Yorkshire, England – the first a bas relief wood carving, the second a recent photograph.

The Grey Lady of Hampton Court

At Hampton Court Palace
One grey Autumn day,
Whilst strolling alone
I wandered astray,
Discovered this phantom,
Too shy to display.

Shroud for a lady, 
Hide her away. 
No one must see her
Lest somebody say,
She’s only a failure, 
She’s long had her day.

But now she is hidden 
And no one can see,
Then no one will question 
Just who she might be. 
They’ll just go on thinking
Perhaps she’s a he.

The fact she is ghostly, 
Clothed in a Shroud, 
Might give them a hint
That she’s not been allowed 
To be seen out in public, 
Detached from the crowd.

For in summer when tickets 
Are hard to come by,
That’s when they’ll release her 
Sustaining the lie.
Produce her in costume 
When darkness is nigh.

The Lady in Grey
As a spirit will glide,
 Patrol the Long Gallery,
Make-up applied,
Intent upon haunting –
A Queen mortified.

So that’s it for the winter, 
Don’t leave her on show.
Come wind and come tempest, 
Come rain or come snow, 
This tourist attraction’s 
The best that I know.

That rival in Scotland,
The fishy old coward,
In a straight contest, 
Its legacy soured,
It cannot compare 
With our Catherine Howard.

Evening In The Churchyard

The Churchyard – Evening’ . . . WHB – Pen & Wash: 2021

The world does not die as the light fades

it does not sleep as the quick do.

It lives on in darkness

in the breath of the wind

in the sigh of the trees

and as the crows retire to their trees

and the dead decay in their coffins

the unquiet world moves on.

New generations are born

and in their tortured births

grow the seeds of their destiny.

The mole-turned turf

and the tumbled stones of hallowed ground

adding another tilt to their

melted and moulded memorials

while hope continues to rebuff despondency.

We look on in the twilight

coffin-cold visions countered

by the promise of another day

to follow the fading light.

Time’s Hold

Painting by George Frederic Watts . . . 1886

 TIME’S  HOLD

You are what might have been 
on that alternative path,
my abandoned way re-discovered.

But what is now is salient; 
you make me an offer,  
propose to me a future 
that will not arise  
unless hope turns to reality
before Time tires.

When life was fast dissolving,
when my world
 was being wrenched apart,
then, supporting your own cross, 
you came from nowhere
to reach out, to connect,
to take my hope
and cherish it.

What I am left with
is no longer despair, 
but the veiled thrill
of tomorrow’s augury.

You could resolve my need,
bring me that accord, 
of touch, of feel, of senses, 
of minds in tune. 

What you do – for me, now,
is to engender lust, 
that lust of my youth,
for life, for certitude,
which can repel my languor, 
now sequestered by age,
and bring a new intensity,
revivify that spark
which once embellished all.

No longer my past innocence, 
but a considered offering,
a last grasp at time’s hold on me.