The SELFIE

selfie3

THE SELFIE

 

Self-conscious
images
abound.

We meet them
everywhere
around.

They’re soon
discarded
and replaced

by the next
one from
the database.

Narcissus
being ever
eager,

keen for
yet another
teaser.

Crying for
your strict
attention,

I’m all yours,
full of
invention.

An endless stream
of captured
moments

containing
crazed and daft
components.

Followed up
in quick
succession

by yet
another
indiscretion.

Let’s celebrate,
our life
is dull.

We need to
record it all
– in full

Selfie-.Hastings Pier

Advertisements

Ted Hughes – ‘Hawk Roosting’

(No.63 of my favourite short poems)

Ted Hughes, born in Yorkshire in 1930, was Poet Laureate in the last years of the 20th Century, from 1984 until he died in 1998 at the age of 68.   His tempestuous marriage to the American poet, Sylvia Plath, lasted only six years.   Hughes explored this difficult relationship in his last major published work, ‘Birthday Letters’.

As much of his work demonstrates, Hughes was intensely interested in and affected by the natural world.  In ‘Hawk Roosting’, one of his early published poems, he conveys the commanding presence of the hawk looking down on the world, his world, from a place of eminence.  He considers himself as monarch of all he surveys, conveyed so powerfully by Hughes in this poem.

The Hawk

‘The Hawk’ … WHB – Pen & Wash,  2017

Hawk Roosting

I sit in the top of the wood, my eyes closed.
Inaction, no falsifying dream
Between my hooked head and hooked feet:
Or in sleep rehearse perfect kills and eat.

The convenience of the high trees!
The air’s buoyancy and the sun’s ray
Are of advantage to me;
And the earth’s face upward for my inspection.

My feet are locked upon the rough bark.
It took the whole of Creation
To produce my foot, my each feather:
Now I hold Creation in my foot

Or fly up, and revolve it all slowly –
I kill where I please because it is all mine.
There is no sophistry in my body:
My manners are tearing off heads –
The allotment of death.
For the one path of my flight is direct
Through the bones of the living.
No arguments assert my right:

The sun is behind me.
Nothing has changed since I began.
My eye has permitted no change.
I am going to keep things like this.

 

banner-pink

Spuggy Hood

Spuggy Hood3

‘Spuggy’ … WHB – pen & ink – 2017  ©

 

SPUGGY HOOD

 

Spuggy Hood is in my class,
A stocky, spotty, snotty lass.
We all take care with her about,
A dangerous friend to have. No doubt.

Her hair is tangled, mousy brown,
Her face it wears a constant frown.
As for her dress, well it is awesome,
Brighter than the leaves in autumn,

But this is just because of jam,
Of bits of grease and chunks of ham.
Everything that she has eaten
Seems her cardigan to sweeten.

At lunchtime in the school canteen,
Regardless of the day’s cuisine,
Don’t wish to be dog in a manger,
But, sit near Spuggy, you’re in danger.

Whilst we try to eat our lunches,
She grinds her teeth, she chomps and munches;
Dribbles, snivels, slobbers and slurps,
With many gulps, and grunts, and burps.

She doesn’t seem to care at all,
Big and fat, built like a wall,
Barging her way around the room
Whilst roaring with a sonic boom.

She takes no prisoners, has no friends,
Kindness pays no dividends;
Of her classmates she’s oblivious
Her behaviour really is perfidious

Chews her pencil, sucks her thumb,
Picks her nits, scratches her bum.
Never ever is she good,
She’d show her knickers if she could.

She likes to sit and pick her spots,
Her fingers covered in ink blots.
Blows her nose on toilet paper . . .
 
. . .  I hate, I hate, I hate, I hate ‘er.

 

redline-thin

 

Rainer Maria Rilke -‘The Panther’

 

The Panther-Nov2017a1

‘The Panther’ … Pen & Wash – WHB: 2017

The Panther 

His vision, from the constantly passing bars,
has grown so weary that it cannot hold
anything else. It seems to him there are
a thousand bars; and behind the bars, no world.

As he paces in cramped circles, over and over,
the movement of his powerful soft strides
is like a ritual dance around a center
in which a mighty will stands paralyzed.

Only at times, the curtain of the pupils
lifts, quietly … An image enters in,
rushes down through the tensed, arrested muscles,
plunges into the heart and is gone.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Stillness

 

Rydal Water-1991

‘Solitude’: Rydal Water, Cumbria, The Lake District, UK … Pen & Ink – WHB 1991  ©

 

STILLNESS

 

This stillness and the beauty all around me

Bring with them peace and grace for which I yearn;

For here among the lakes and mountains resting

I sense my hopes and dreams will now return.

 

For now I’ve reached a time when life has bitten,

Reminding me of pleasures once enjoyed;

Since lost in cares and daily obligations

How Nature can supplant and fill the void.

 

Its healing powers I know and cannot question;

They bring delights I cannot bear to miss.

They sing to me of other loves and places,

And speak to me of other times than this.

 

banner-green

 

TIME – A Sonnet

AdamA_preview1

‘Head of Adam’ Copy in Pencil of Michelangelo’s painting in the Sistine Chapel. Vatican City, Rome … by WHB -1981

The dust of borrowed time 

Has settled on my soul 

Clogging my receptors, 

Taking further toll

On my retreating days 

Aware as I am now 

How limited my gaze

Which cannot tell me how

Much latitude I have

How bad will be the weather

My seasons tell my stories 

Now all have come together 

Time reaches out to garner me

I’m handing in my history’s key. 

 

scroll2

 

William Blake – ‘On Another’s Sorrow’

William_Blake_(1880)_On_Another's_Sorrow

This poem, in its first published form is by the English poet and painter, William Blake (1757-1827).   Blake was not highly recognised during his lifetime but is now regarded as a leading poet and painter of the Romantic Period.   As an important printmaker, Blake, as he did for many others of his poems, produced the decoration himself.  The poem discusses human and divine understanding and compassion. It was first published in 1789 as the last song in the ‘Songs of Innocence’ section, part of the collection ‘Songs of Innocence and of Experience’. 

My Mirror

Self At 20 A

Self-Portrait Aged 20 – on Black Scraperboard:  WHB

Is this a selfie
I see before me?
Is this reflected
In my story?

Mirror mirror
Please tell me now
I am lovely
Take a bow

Am I vain
Or am I boring
Just look at me
My ego’s soaring

Go to blazes
Tell me why
They say that I’m
Pie in the sky

And when I try
To look my best
I do not doubt
That I am blessed

But all’s a mirage
Tempting fate
Wonky nose
And wobbly gait

To have  a visage
Worth a look
I’d completely empty
My cheque book

Not quite Helen
Who launched those ships
More like my own
Apocalypse

My face my fortune
Some will say
I’d swap for handsome
Any day

Stop pulling faces
They all said
But it’s quite normal
I’m thoroughbred

At least I look
As though I mean it
Unlike some
I don’t demean it

Because I feel
I have no guile
Doesn’t mean
I’m mean and facile

But all is not
Quite what it seems
For what I see
Is in my dreams

And I can tell
Just looking at me
My face is all
That it can be

I know I’m right
As I should be
I really am
The me I see

Self At 20-negativeB

Self-Portrait Aged 20 – Negative of Black Scraperboard:  WHB

Table-Talk

HMoore-sleepers

Detail from one of Henry Moore’s ‘Shelter Drawings – ‘Sleepers’ … 1941

TABLE-TALK

In the deep vaults of my musing mind
Where the oldest memories live
There the surest ones I find
Are those which childhood give.

In darkest times, unfelt by me,
When war was at its height
Then what to me was just a fear
For my mother was direst fright.

The siren’s call came late at night,
Always excitement there;
A change of scenery, a new-found bed,
Heralded by its blare.

Under the table I found a haven,
A primitive cave, a thrill,
A nest where I curled up and slept,
Where time and life stood still.

My mother must have been distraught
Whilst I, in raw oblivion,
Enjoyed the change of scenery,
While all around was Stygian.

And then the sound of planes above,
Heading on their mission,
Though stuttering engines sometimes brought
A faltering recognition

That maybe now the time had come
To wish and say a prayer;
No more Messerschmitt and bombs
Why won’t they go elsewhere?

HMoore-sleepers1

Detail from one of Henry Moore’s ‘Shelter Drawings – ‘Sleepers’ … 1941

During World War 2 many homes provided themselves with an Air Raid Shelter to protect the inhabitants from bombs being dropped by German aircraft.  Anderson Shelters were those normally placed in back gardens and half-buried in the ground with earth heaped on top to protect them from bomb blasts.  Morrison shelters, named after the then Minister for Home Security, Mr. Herbert Morrison, were introduced in 1941. These were made from heavy steel, and were for indoor use, where they could also be used as a table. People sheltered underneath them during an air raid. 

Before my father built an Anderson shelter in the back garden, we sheltered under the dining table, fortunately never experiencing the heavy bombing which took place over London and many major cities in the country.

 

scroll2

 

Sea Fever – by John Masefield

(No.56 of my favourite short poems)

Sea FeverA

‘Sea Fever’ . . . WHB: Pen & Wash – Sep., 2017

Sea Fever

 

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

 

By John Masefield


 

masefield

‘Sea Fever’ is perhaps the best known of all the poetic works of John Masefield.  Born in Herefordshire, England, in 1878, he was the British poet laureate for 37 years in the middle of the 20th Century until his death in 1967.   As a young man he trained as a merchant seaman, but, in 1895, he deserted his ship when in New York City.  There he worked in a carpet factory before returning to London to write poems, in many of which he wrote about his experiences at sea.

bar-green