My Problem Age  

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WHB – 2017

The PROBLEM of AGE

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Am I at a problem age?

. . . OR

Do I have an old age problem?

. . . OR

Am I just part of an age-old problem? 

 

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Age is a problem, I’ve no doubt,
And one that can’t be solved.
Since time began
We know that Man
Has gradually evolved.

So, given that the speed of change
Is constantly advancing,
Why cannot we
Forever be
Subject to life enhancing?

It’s certainly an age-old problem,
Not just one of old age.
An anagram,
A new life plan,
Waiting to be assuaged.

I’m at a problem age right now
At the age of eighty two.
I’m obdurate,
I agitate,
And no one tells me what to do.

And when I get to One-O-Two
Who knows what I’ll be like?
I might begin
To live in sin,
Or start a hunger strike.

Time will tell, the saying goes,
But I may prove that wrong,
For when, at last,
My die is cast,
I still might jog along.

I might look weird, I will be odd,
I no doubt will be bald.
My old age pension
Won’t get a mention,
My workings might have stalled.

But I could prove you all quite wrong,
While still an ageing codger.
Surprise you all,
A new wife install,
Or introduce a lodger.

If I continue the way I’m going
The problem will be, you see,
Those other folk
Who I’ll provoke
To become old like me.

 

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The SELFIE

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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

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‘Truth and the Past’ … Three Fibs

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Poets have experimented with poetic form for as long as poetry has existed.  One of the most recent exercises in poetic form utilises the mathematics of the Fibonacci sequence and was introduced in recent years by the American author, Gregory K. Pincus.    Such poems or verses are often termed ‘FIBS’.

What is a Fib?

‘ The Fibonacci poem is a poetry form based on the structure of the Fibonacci number sequence. For those unfamiliar with the Fibonacci Sequence, it is a mathematical sequence in which every figure is the sum of the two preceding it. Thus, you begin with 1 and the sequence follows as such: 1+1=2; then in turn 1+2=3; then 2+3=5; then 3+5=8 and so on. The poetry sequence therefore consists of lines of 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, and so on with each number representing the number of syllables or words that a writer places in each line of the poem. As a literary device, it is used as a formatted pattern in which one can offer meaning in any organized way, providing the number sequence remains the constancy of the form.   The subject of the Fibonacci poem has no restriction, but the difference between a good fib and a great fib is the poetic element that speaks to the reader.’   This description of the form is quoted from:  http://www.musepiepress.com/fibreview/

I give three of my own attempts at this poetic form below . . .

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When

At

The end

of our days

We review our past

Let us not wish to deny it

 

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Stay

Think

Resolve

To recount

In all honesty

Only what is valid and true

When at last we make the journey to meet our maker

 

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Speak,

Now,

To me,

my poet,

Of your love for me,

In melodious soothing words,

To nourish the feelings which I long to hear you say.

 

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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.

 

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What The Sea Discards

Detectorist2bWhat The Sea Discards:   Life with a Beach Metal Detector

The sea still surged,
The storm still raged,
The wind incessant,
A beast uncaged.

Amidst the tempest,
Calm, intent,
Body taut
And forward bent,

Moves this figure
With steady tread,
Seeking gold,
His daily bread.

Sift the shingle
Trawl the shore,
Seashore scavenger
Beach troubadour.

Autolycus, his
Ancient counterpart,
Plying his trade
With bleeding heart,

To find amongst
The sea’s debris
His longed for love,
Life’s golden key.

Something to clutch
Dredged from life’s tide;
A token wish,
Beatified.

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Photographs by WHB:  On a West Sussex beach – October 2017   ©

 

 

Spuggy Hood

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‘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.

 

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Death Is An Unmapped Sea

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Photo:  ‘On Chesil Beach’ by WHB – 2007   ©

 

Death is an Unmapped Sea

Day dawns and life now reasserts its sway;
Sleep ends and dreams now slowly fade away,
Leaving behind the gains which I thought real.
Reality and the sun the truth reveal,
That time has shattered youth and brought old age.
Shall I depart midst over-arching rage,
Those aspirations which I held most dear,
Abandoned now as hope gives way to fear?
Now that I’m hurt, unheard and unfulfilled,
Can I refute those truths my life distilled,
And face what unmapped seas fate holds in store,
Without a faith to bear me to the shore?

 

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Roger McGough – ‘Poem for a dead poet’

(No.63 of my favourite short poems)

I have published one of Roger McGough’s poem previously in this series.  You will find it by clicking on this link:   ‘Vinegar’ . . .   Below is another of his poems which I very much enjoy, this time a short elegy for an unnamed poet.  Written in a simplistic style, the poem nevertheless, with both wit and precision, goes straight to the heart of what a poet does and what s/he seeks to be.

Poets Corner

‘Poem for a dead poet’

He was a poet he was.

A proper poet.

He said things

that made you think

and said them nicely.

He saw things

that you or I

could never see

and saw them clearly.

He had a way

with language.

Images flocked around

him like birds.

St. Francis, he was,

of the words. Words?

Why he could almost make ‘em talk.

 

Roger McGough

 

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Mock Battle

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MOCK  BATTLE

When Normans fought
As Normans did
Upon their mighty battlefields
When once upon a medieval time
Warriors vied in combat
Life was hard
Was short
Was brutal
Living was for the nearly dead
And death was bones amongst the grass

Now we are pleased to read our books
Our Idylls
To watch staged tourneys
Of legend
chivalry
of honour
and Medieval Romance
With little sense of cut and thrust
of jab and slash
of block and parry
a jousting game
bereft of passion
foam-tipped swords
and rubber blades
plywood shields
and plastic helms

men of steel
of acrid smoke
and blood-red trenches
barbed wire and bursting shells
we might know how you felt
on the fields of Passchendaele
the trenches of Mons

Verdun and Arras
The beaches of Dunkirk and Guam

If only we
And these toy soldiers
Shared the hurt
And owned the blame
Of those who gave
Their all for victory

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The photographs were taken by me during a mock medieval battle display by modern-day enthusiasts of the period.  This was presented on the top of the giant keep of Arundel Castle, West Sussex, on my recent visit there in October.

 

 

Summer Geese

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Painting in acrylic by Canadian artist, Alma Kerr – October 2017  ©

SUMMER  GEESE

 

I walk not with the summer geese

but I follow them

as they make their stately way

along the water’s edge

through the incoming waves

towards the seagrass

 

So beautiful

this sense that Nature and I

Are aligned

Working to the same end

Coupled in a determination

To follow our will

Into whatever the future will bring

 

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Poem composed in collaboration between Alma and Roland – November 2017

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