Bed-side Blues

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“Life is like a half-sucked sweet –
Not what it used to be.”

 

What A Sucker

She brought me gifts to soothe my hurt;
She meant well I suppose,
As in this clinic bed I lay
Attempting just to doze.

She tiptoed gently to my side, 
Pretending not to wake me;
Whispering then into my ear
She raised my spirits greatly.

“Just a few nuts, you’re bound to like,
They’ll help to make you well. 
A peanut a day is good they say,
I don’t know how they tell.

The sickly coating’s not so good, 
So to help you with that cough
I’ve licked them till there’s just the nut
And sucked the chocolate off.” 

 

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‘On Ageing Gloriously’ – REPRISE

[ Wednesday Replay # 4 ]
 
To counterbalance my poem ‘On Ageing Disgracefully’, re-published last Wednesday, I now re-present my upbeat version of old age, previously posted by me on  
OldAge&Youth

‘Old Age & Youth’ …  Pen and ink – WHB.  2017

ON AGEING GLORIOUSLY

Yes, I am getting older now; my prime has slipped away;
But I’m beating off the Harpies who want to bring doomsday.
But the benefits now brought about through all the new advances
Have brought about a change in me, at least they’ve upped my chances.

For, mine eyes have seen the glory never found since I was nine;
I ‘ve cast aside my spectacles reversing my decline.
I’ve got new eyes now, darling, and the cataracts have gone,
So despite my aged torso I will still keep staggering on.

And my new knees tell the story of my better prospects now;
I’m going to try the Great North Run if only they allow,
‘Cos I feel as though I’m twenty four and kicking down the door.
At least I’ll get a few years now before I need some more.

My metal hip has been replaced; I now have one in plastic;
It’s been a great success, although the experience was quite drastic.
I can hobble with the best of them and the stairs I cope with ease;
Yes, walking is a doddle now and life is just a breeze.

My hearing aid’s a bonus, I know what’s being said on telly.
My confidence I have regained, I’d rival Machiavelli;
The end still justifies the means; these life aids serve their purpose,
But instead of “Turn the volume up”, I’m wishing they were wordless.

My carpal tunnel surgery stopped my fingers feeling numb.
I’m twice the man I used to be, an artist I’ve become;
So now you see me in my prime reflecting on new marvels;
My hands are fully functional now; I have not lost my marbles.

My lumbar corset gives me an efficient spinal brace.
My posture’s as it should be now, no longer a disgrace.
I stand upright and hold my place wherever I may be,
Just the occasional little blip, one you’ll hardly ever see.

The wig I found provided me with a new lease of life;
No longer bald and reticent – I’ve got a new-found wife.
I’m wond’ring how surprised she’ll be when we get into bed,
Perhaps she’ll want a payback when she finds she’s been misled?

They gave me my libido back with just a small blue pill;
Revived my passion and my lust – be that for good or ill.
I must say I’m enjoying those long lost thrills again,
No longer from the Tantric Arts, do I have to abstain.

They now give me a freebie both for Christmas and tv
Free bus and tube rides I can get, I’ve become a devotee
Of touring round my city all the splendid sites to see
Suits me to be busy now at the age of eighty three.

A pension I am grateful for, although it’s not enough,
I paid my dues for forty years, I did think that was tough;
Yes, the National Health helps me a lot, I get my medicine free,
And if I want a pick-me-up, my nurse is good to me.

My mouth has been replenished with a set of new white teeth;
I thought it best to have that done before they bought my wreath.
I look forward to my time in Heaven, but perhaps it’s just as well,
That I can still enjoy life now – in case I go to Hell.

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The  FOLLY

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THE  FOLLY

 

It might well be a fancy flight
a seemly sight
to pierce the night

The ruin stands by planned design 
stately in its verdant dell
beside the lake
a tableau there 
no history to tell

Reflections guaranteed to please 
float beside its stones
imaging false contrast
in the water’s mirror
a mirage of a potent past

To build a ruin seems absurd
why would you do it
the thought occurred

Perhaps to glory in the past
show time has passed
and nought can last

But as I wander within its wall
dark and damp
and weather worn
stained in moss
and ivy clad
I feel that here
real history lies
a tale so sad
a mystery

I do recall how
in its recent age
it yet was young
was burnished bright
both stone and tiles
a comely sight

To see an abbey in its prime
no sort of crime
merely a jest with time

Fanciful, a fantasy, 
undoubtedly a fallacy
yet
reflection of a legacy
portrayal of a history

 

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Rigmarole

RIGMAROLE . . .

1.  A set of confused and meaningless statements
2. A long, complicated and confusing procedure

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Rigmarole

 

Rigmarole came

Messed with my head

I lost my thread 

Couldn’t understand

How such a knotted twisted man

A lifelong fan

A mixed up aimless being

Given to mirage seeing

Could laugh and mess my every thought 

Confuse the path ahead

And leave me thinking here and now

Why, where, who, how?

With what creature was I dealing

whose uncertainties was I feeling

Intent on healing

For when I tried to sort him out

He turned my thinking right about

And so, unable to untangle

his knotted meaning

My mind still reeling

So convoluted were his words 

So matted and blurred his feelings

So tortuous his explanations

So disjointed his suggestions

so twisted his knickers

That I gave up on his

Mumbo-jumbo

His gobbledygook 

What a malarkey 

What a farce

Claptrap twaddle

Fuss and faff

Guff and drivel

 

Well . . . Rig – My – Role . . .

If it isn’t all just nonsense.

 

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The GREEN MAN

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‘Green Man’ . . . Pen&Wash – WHB ©

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The GREEN MAN

He is my history
Lusting after the hills of my youth
He strides the moorland paths
Amidst the bracken and the gorse
Drinking the sun’s warm ale
Savouring the wind’s heather-toned tang
Turning time to his advantage
Tuning in to its connecting wavelength

He is great Nature’s spirit
Rising and falling with its moods
Sad yet serene in Spring
Holding the hope of the future

Bright and bubbly in the summer rains
Rich and expansive in the sun’s bright gaze

Brought to magnificent autumn richness
Coloured by russet tints
Fruitful in his beneficence

He is the winter too
Drifting with the whiteness of its moods
His flocks penned for winter warmth neath the mountain crag
Shielding the gentle crocus
And the blanched snowdrop

He is the spirit of the trees
Lord of copse and wood
Guardian of Grove and greenwood
Verdant Monarch of the forest

Of the landscape’s lakes
Running with the cool waters of streams and rivers
The stillness of Its ponds and pools

Both past and future
Gone yet still to come again
his cyclic journey unfolds
From birth to death
From death to resurrection
To new life and resurgent hope
Maintaining existence
Midst promises and threats
To bring renewal in the name of life

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Early 20th Century Autograph Books

[ Wednesday Replay # 1 ] 

Previously published on Roland’s Ragbag on August 6th 2016 at:
‘Early 20th Century Autograph Books’


 

Autograph books, where they exist, are now used mainly for collecting the signatures ( or at least the scribbled ciphers) of the latest popular music or sports star.

Compare this scribble below by Wimbledon Champion, Andy Murray, in 2013, with, from my own autograph collection (of 2), this perfectly legible  autograph of England and Yorkshire batsman, Len Hutton, obtained in the 1940s . . .

100 years ago Autographs Books were primarily more for the collecting and usually exchanging, of aphorisms, homilies, comments,  pithy verses, simple drawings, personal messages, with friends and relatives.

These autograph books of the first half of the 20th Century, give a clear picture of the social mores and conventions of the time.  Their contents can be clearly seen as a means of passing popular wisdom on to subsequent generations. Nowadays they may be thought of by some as schmaltzy, even maudlin, but they do present a picture of the tastes and sentiments of that time and help to remind us of a much simpler and less cynical age.

 REPRODUCE BELOW, In Slide show format) SOME OF THE SKETCHES FROM MY OWN FAMILY’S AUTOGRAPH BOOKS – THE MAJORITY OF THE ENTRIES ARE DATED 1929.

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. . . AND HERE ARE THE TEXTS OF SOME OF THE MORE DISCERNING ENTRIES . . .


Beware sweet maid when men come to thee
And say they seek their soul’s affinity
When all they want, the base espousers,
Is someone to sew buttons on their trousers.


_____________
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‘Just a few lines from a would-be poet’


It’s very hard to find a friend
When your heart is full of hope.
It’s harder still to find a towel
When your eyes are full of soap.


In ascending the hill of prosperity
May you never meet a Friend


It’s not the one that knows the most
That has the most to say.
Nor yet the one that has the most
That gives the most away.


Love is like a mutton chop
Sometimes cold – Sometimes hot

Whether cold or whether hot
It’s not a thing to be forgot.


‘Taint what we have,
But what we give,
‘Taint what we are,
But how we live,
‘Taint what we do,
But how we do it,
That makes life worth
Going through it.


Make new friends but keep the old,
One is silver, the other gold;
Cheeks may wrinkle, hair grow grey,
But friendship never knows decay.


When the golden sun is sinking,
When your time from care is free,
When of others you are thinking,
Will you sometimes think of me?


Written in faltering, scratchy handwriting …

This is a damned bad pen you’ve given me!

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Chocolate Words

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CHOCOLATE WORDS

I love words
in the way
I love chocolate.
Their lingering taste
Their whispering style
They way they trip off
Slip off
the tongue
Words to bear in mind
Leaving such pleasures behind

And always
That thrill
That musical trill
That sensuous sound
Discarding meaning
But leaving
feeling
The desire for more
Encore
The poet’s drug-store
Treasure Island

I’d like a word with you
A word in your ear
Shakespeare
So I’ll be wordy-wise too
Will
take  some words
and run with them

I heard a word
One day in May
I heard it say
Come here and play
So undeterred
A word occurred
Third word
The word purred
Absurd word
‘Twas mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird
Mimus polyglottos
glottal stop
or “glo’al stop”

You see where it can take me
Tangential thought
Verbiage onslaught
Overwrought
Logorrhoea
Here, here!

Words abound
Words of wisdom
Words of truth
Their singing sound
stirred, blurred, slurred,
So play on words
Herds of words
Let their joy sing
and let them bring
Creation’s wellspring
and thus … let the welkin ring

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The Red Chesters

TheCaretaker

THE  RED  CHESTERS

“Shall I collect the red chesters?”,
The caretaker said to me.
He’d said it so often I didn’t demur;
I grimaced and just let it be.

For him to take care of a school,
That was a daily trial.
He’d disappear for hours on end;
Complaints just met with denial.

‘Thruppence short of half a crown’,
Was how we described him then;
But that was being so unkind
To a minnow amongst men.

He shuffled around from place to place
Carrying brush and pan,
Picking up what others dropped,
Doing it because he can.

When needed to open a stockroom door
He went to find the key.
Two hours later he appeared
To set the prisoner free.

He stoked the boiler from time to time
To keep the heating on,
But never remembered to turn it off
When wintertime had gone.

He swept the playground with a broom
The way he’d always done.
You couldn’t see the difference
From when he had begun.

Cleaning out the long jump pit
Was just a task too far.
He couldn’t tell a pile of sand
From half a ton of tar.

And as for adding up I found,
He wasn’t the wisest of men.
When asked to count milk bottles up
He could never get past ten.

I asked him once how many chairs
He’d set out in the hall.
He told me, about ten rows, plus two,
He’d put against the wall.

And as for cleaning out latrines,
He didn’t find that easy.
He couldn’t wash a basin out
Without him feeling queasy.

So why, you ask, did I appoint him,
Choose him before another?
Sorry, but I do admit,
He was my dearest brother.

 

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N.B.  ‘Red Chesters’ is the way some people mispronounce the word ‘Registers’, which are the daily attendance records maintained in each class of UK schools.

 

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Sara Teasdale – ‘A Winter Night’

 [  No.70 of my favourite short poems  ]

Acquainted With The Night

Winter Night … Pen & Wash – WHB

A Winter Night

My windowpane is starred with frost,
The world is bitter cold tonight,
The moon is cruel, and the wind
Is like a two-edged sword to smite.

God pity all the homeless ones,
The beggars pacing to and fro.
God pity all the poor tonight
Who walk the lamp lit streets of snow.

My room is like a bit of June,
Warm and close-curtained fold on fold,
But somewhere, like a homeless child,
My heart is crying in the cold.

 

by Sara Teasdale

 


NOTES:  (adapted from Wikipedia) . . . 

Sara Teasdale (1884 – 1933) was an American lyric poet.  She was born Sarah Trevor Teasdale in St. Louis, Missouti, and used the name Sara Teasdale Filsinger after her marriage in 1914.  . . .  From 1911 to 1914  Teasdale was courted by several men, including the poet Vachel Lindsay, who was truly in love with her but did not feel that he could provide enough money or stability to keep her satisfied.  (In 1914) she chose to marry Ernst Filsinger, a long-time admirer of her poetry  . . .  In 1918 she won a Pulitzer Prize for her 1917 poetry collection ‘Love Songs’  . . .  In 1933, she died by suicide, overdosing on sleeping pills.  Lindsay had died by suicide two years earlier.


 

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A.E. Housman – ‘Bredon Hill’

[  No.69 of my favourite short poems  ]

BredonHill1991

‘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.

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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.

 

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