TERENCE – The Teachers’ Torment

TERENCE – THE TEACHERS’ TORMENT

Terence was so sensitive,
He was averse to life.
He was a pain to have in school,
A constant source of strife.

He wouldn’t play in any team,
He just stood there and cried;
Wouldn’t join in any sport
However much we tried.

He hated maths, he couldn’t add,
His spelling was appalling.
His writing was a dreadful scribble,
His language was quite galling.

And what he knew of history
Could be written on two stamps
And science and geography
To him were complete blanks.

And when it came to making friends
He wasn’t interested;
His eating habits were quite crude,
His food left half-digested.

He said that school was not for him,
He’d rather be at home.
His mum and dad, at their wits end,
Called it his Teddy Syndrome.

“OK, then let’s just try” I said,
“To see if this will work.
Let him bring his Ted to school
Might solve his little quirks”.

And so it did, I’m pleased to say.
There’s no more ridicule.
He carries Ted around with him,
Best teacher in the school.

‘Horace & His Teddy’ … Pen – PH & WHB

The Stable Door

‘Stable Door,Wiltshire’ (National Trust) . . . WHB – Pen & Watercolour, c.1990

THE STABLE DOOR

Red bricked  arch
Red rose adorned
Frames the entrance
Bringing enchantment
To meet history
In this secluded pile

Once-stabled steeds
Whinny in wonder
From their equine tombs
And boast of
times when
Bridle bit and brace
Had cause to adorn
These ancient crumbling
 Cobwebbed stalls

Long left to nature
And to fate
But now in trust
To a Nation which remembers
And celebrates
Its history

 

MIRROR! MIRROR!

WHB: Self-portrait – scraperboard . . . c.1955

Mirror! Mirror!
On my screen
Can I believe
What I have seen?

Mirror! Mirror!
Tell me now
I am lovely,
Take a bow.

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

Am I vain,
Or am I boring?
Look at me,
My ego’s soaring.

Go to blazes!
Tell me why
I’m not just
Pie in the sky.

Tell me that
I should believe it;
 At least I look
As though I mean it.

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

My face my fortune
It is said;
If they are right
My palm’s well read.

But all is not
Quite what it seems,
What I see
Is in my dreams.

For I can tell
Just looking at me,
I’m not like
The me I see

Look At Him

‘The Blush’: Pen & Wash – WHB … c.2001

Look at him
He’s blushing
My mother said
To those starchy
Grown up guests
All seated
At the formal
Wedding breakfast table

Perhaps
Mistakenly Imagining
The unwanted attention
Would be cure
For my burgeoning habit

While I
So far unnoticed
Curled up
Claiming invisibility
Reddened even more
Shrank into my chair
Felt the burning heat of my face
Burn down through me
To a deep hole
In the ground beneath

Thus are our
Futures set on course
Another denigration
To be overcome
Another mental scar
To afflict my dreams
Another blandishment
foregone
Another battle to
Accompany me into manhood

e.e.cummings

Tu Fu

Tu Fu ( or Du Fu), who was born in Gongyi in 712 A.D., was one of the foremost poets of the Chinese Tang dynasty. He and Li Bai, are normally thought of as the greatest of all Chinese poets. He died in Changsha, China, in 770 A.D.

I print below, two of his poems, both, as the majority of his poems,  exemplify his intense relationship with nature, wildlife, and with the seasons, even amidst the turmoil of the times in which he lived.

(Both designs are my own pen and wash drawings in an attempt at capturing a Chinese style.)

A Spring View

Though a country be sundered, hills and rivers endure;
And spring comes green again to trees and grasses
Where petals have been shed like tears
And lonely birds have sung their grief.
… After the war-fires of three months,
One message from home is worth a ton of gold.
… I stroke my white hair. It has grown too thin
To hold the hairpins any more.

A View of Taishan

What shall I say of the Great Peak? –
The ancient dukedoms are everywhere green,
Inspired and stirred by the breath of creation,
With the Twin Forces balancing day and night.
…I bare my breast toward opening clouds,
I strain my sight after birds flying home.
When shall I reach the top and hold
All mountains in a single glance?

The HARE

‘The Hare’ . . . Watercolour – WHB : 1987

In his refuge

As the sun sets

The hare

Waits;

Dusk

Is its hour, 

Its time to brave

The beagle’s

Bark and

Bitter bite

To leave his form

And risk

Life again –

For

Continuity. 

The Morning Sun

 
Morning Sun’ … Pen & Wash – WHB. 2017

When the morning sun

Burns through the dusk

Of the night’s demise

And at last

The backside of the night

Is breached

A new day is born

And morning introduces its prospects

Promising a fresh start

A renewal of hope

Countermanding

Yesterday’s disappointments

And the night’s terrors

Now bringing a sense of peace

A stillness

Allowing strength to gather

And defy the uncertainties

Of a new day.

The Dome of St.Paul’s Cathedral, London

Dome of St.Paul’s … Pencil – WHB – 1958

The dome of St Paul’s Cathedral, London, is an incredible structure, a true work of art in the sense of it being both lovely to look at and requiring incredible precision and workmanship in the design and the construction.  Sir Christopher Wren, principal architect, originally produced several different designs for his dome before eventually settling on the one we have today, and of course he used a team of architects, who, through seemingly endless discussion, trial drawings, modelling, and debate, eventually produced this, certainly one of the greatest glories of London. (See photograph below).

From 1710, when the present cathedral was completed, until 1962, St.Paul’s Cathedral was London’s tallest building. 

The dome of St.Paul’s is built in 3 sections (see side section view below) …

Stage 1: To the Whispering Gallery;  259 steps.  Circles the dome’s interior at 30 metres above the floor of the cathedral transept.

Stage 2: Further up to the Stone Gallery; another 119 steps at 53.4 metres above the ground.

Stage 3: To the Golden Gallery, reducing in size as we get higher .  This runs around the highest point of the outer dome.  It is 85.4 metres (280 ft) from the cathedral floor below and there are another 150 steps to climb to reach it. 

That is a total of 528 steps in all!

Having made the journey to the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral only once in my lifetime, and having also once climbed to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, which claims to have the tallest dome in the world, I found it interesting to make some comparisons between these two domed buildings.

St.Peter’s, Rome, has a height of 448 feet (or 136.5 metres) to the top of its cross.  It has 551 steps from the floor of the cathedral to the top of the dome

St Paul’s, London, is 365 feet (or 111 metres); It has 528 steps from the ground floor to the top of its dome.

FOOTNOTE:

On the basis of these figures, I calculate that the average height of the steps of St.Peter’s is approximately 8 inches, whilst the steps of St.Paul’s have an average height of about 8 1/2 inches.  So with St.Paul’s having 23 fewer steps to climb, but each one requiring your foot to be raised an additional ½ inch, which steps are the easier to climb?  . . .  AND ANSWER CAME THERE NONE!


There are several videos on YouTube which will take you up and down these steps to the Dome of St.Paul’s and which give panoramic views of London from the top.

THE LYNX

‘The Lynx’ … Pen & Wash – WHB 1992

THE LYNX

A wildcat
bobcat
Canadian Lynx;
hungry
luminescent eyes
pierce the grasses
as,
crouched in the undergrowth,
I stalk my prey.

Throbbing,
from black-tipped
triangular ears
to black-tipped
stubby tail,
with the
intensity of my need.

Prowling,
seeking hares,
favourites,
but any small mammal,
a life for a life
to keep me alive.

Will it happen tonight?
will my own world end first?
either way
a solution.
Nature’s resolution.

.Lynx … Pen – WHB: 1983

NUMEROPHOBIA

‘Teaching Maths’ … Collage by Clive Butler – c.1984

NUMEROPHOBIA

When numbers leap up at me
I often feel scared;
They can be aggressive
Maker thinking impaired.

I try not to fluster
To think these things through,
But I can still end up muddled
Not having a clue.

In the shop I try hard
To keep check on my spend,
But I’m easily distracted
And I have to pretend
That I know what I’m doing,
Mind and brain won’t agree;
Are two for the price of one
Same as buy one get one free?

When I’m with my bank statement
Checking up what I’ve spent,
Deducting those refunds
Allowing for rent,
Assuming some interest,
Checking those bills,
It gives me a headache –
Cue for some pills.

Life should be much easier.
If only I’d been
An attentive student
I could have foreseen,
That time spent with maths
In school in my teens,
Might have paid off –
Unless it’s my genes!

Three score years and ten
I will not see again;
At least I know that
My bible’s my brain.
My life is a number
Too large to keep count
It’s approaching seven dozen –
I demand a recount.