ON  PARENTS   

‘My Parents’, David Hockney, 1977, Oil on Canvas, Tate Gallery, London

Leaving Larkin Alone

‘This Be My Verse’

We all do it
We pass on pain
From one generation
To the next
It is essential to
our rite of passage
backwards
to our parents
and forward
to our offspring

Leaving Larkin alone
Although I can see
Where he’s coming from
My mam and dad
Still
Loom large in my life
Even so long
After leaving it

They must have been lonely
Lovers of their son
Country child
Only child
Lonely child
Left so soon
Longing for London’s
Lively life
And a renewal
Of lost love

With some bitterness
No bile
No bombast
I recognise my
Ambitions
And accept
They damaged
Not destroyed
Their devotion

Through it all
Dedication to me
And to mine
Remained
How could I
Have acted differently
They set me up for this
Their ambitions for me
Self-harming
Through being
Selfless
Succeeding
To their own detriment

Now
I find myself
Bemoaning
With an intensity
Which hurts
More every day
My callous
Refutation of their need
For my love

If only
I’d not been
The only one
The only child
If I’d not deserted
That early home
With seeming
Eagerness
That cradle of my mind
Those roots of my soul
Now so full of meaning
So pertinent
To the man I have become

But when the conflict
Presented itself to me
I was by then
Committed
Other responsibilities
Crowded in
And parents
As happens to them
Take the rear seat

 And yet
I know
I had to go
To avoid
That tethering by love
Which smothers
More dutiful sons
It avoided
My hopes
Being stifled
Petrified
And pressed into
The backwaters
Of a life

Perhaps it must be so
For don’t we all do it

Think of those others
Leaving behind their roots
For pastures new
Able to look only onwards
Whilst leaving
The hurt
Of separation
From those who loved them
But would do nothing
But encourage their ambitions

Bennett
Showed how to escape
Walter and Lilian
Whilst continuing
To cull their histories

Hughes
With his animal instincts
Needing to roam free
Left William and Edith
For an itinerant life

Hockney
Soon found California
More suitable
To his calling
Leaving
Kenneth and Laura
To theirs

I claim
None of their skills
Their powers
To change the world
But my history
Reflects theirs
Grammarians
Tykes of a sort
And of an age
Seeking
Advancement
Searching for soul
For life
In pastures new
Neglectful of commitment
To our own past
Conscious only
Of our independent futures

It was ever thus
All took Larkin
At his word
Got out –
As early as they could
And
How odd
That two of them
Even followed Larkin’s advice
Eschewing
Parenthood
The essence of
Larkin’s dismissal
Of his own birthright
His reckoning
With Sidney and Eva
For giving him birth

But
Leaving Larkin alone
Again
Our legacies may prove
Our sense in cutting
The ties that bind
Perhaps the world is
Consequently
A better place.

Our parents
May not think the same
But what are parents
Other than
The future’s hope

Pub. Faber & Faber … 2009

Oh, How It Hurt

Oh, how it hurt
That refusal
That rebuff
Cut and wounded
I withdrew
Licked my wounds
Plastered my sores
Bandaged my cuts
My bruises cold-iced

My shame . . .
Yes, in truth,
Perhaps it was
More shame
Than a broken heart

 Pride undermined
Ego squashed
That doesn’t help
Because
There is more shame
In it being shame.

 I see that now …
And am ashamed.

William Blake … ‘Mired in Sin and Shame – Original Sin’
Wm. Blake Pic from:  http://theprisma.co.uk/2012/10/21/mired-in-sin-and-shame/

Stay With Me … A VILLANELLE

‘The Heart Of The Rose’ … Edward Coley Burne-Jones … Oil on canvas – 1889

A  VILLANELLE

Stay with me to the end of time
Relive with me those joys now past
I want you always to be mine

To be together is no crime
It’s not for nothing I have asked
Stay with me to the end of time

You are my life’s eternal sunshine
To you I will remain steadfast
I want you always to be mine

This poetry for you I rhyme
With you alone I’m not downcast
Stay with me to the end of time

For you alone I give a lifetime
Our love will life itself outlast
I want you always to be mine

To heights of wonder we will climb
And when we reach the top I ask
Stay with me to the end of time
I want you always to be mine

VILLANELLE

A Villanelle is a nineteen-line poem consisting of a very specific rhyming scheme:
 aba      aba      aba      aba      aba      abaa.

The poem’s format is also strictly regulated.  The first and the third lines in the first stanza are repeated in alternating order throughout the poem, and appear together in the last couplet (last two lines).    

One of the most famous Villanelles is “Do not go Gentle into that Good Night” by Dylan Thomas

Notes quoted from:  ‘SHADOW POETRY’ @ . . .   SHADOW POETRY

CUPID’S Post Office

At the Rye Automaton Museum, E.Sussex … Photo: WHB-  2005

CUPID’S POST OFFICE

Cupid’s Post Office,
Just one in the land.
Love letters to order
Don’t write it by hand.

From my bottom drawer
You can read it and smile,
Knowing full well she’ll love it,
Her heart you’ll beguile.

Try out my wisdom.
My best epithets
Can be had for one penny.
You’ll have no regrets.

When she gets this missive,
I do guarantee,
You’ll have no complaints,
She’ll be ecstatic, you’ll see.

Your own billet doux
Wouldn’t be half as good.
Try mine for a change Sir,
And show your manhood.

Just imagine the pleasure
Your beloved will take,
And so, just for a penny,
You can end your heart ache.

Thy mirror shews thee
Not more true
Than my fond heart
Reflecteth you.

The 2 images above are of From Victorian Valentine Cards – Photographs: WHB – 1999

Jenny Kiss’d Me

LEIGH  HUNT  (1784–1859)  was an essayist, journalist and poet of the Romantic Period in English Literature.  Not perhaps one of the leading Romanticists, but he, nevertheless, did much to bring their poetry to prominence in the early 19th century, particularly through his friendships with Shelley, Keats and Byron, and by means of his editorship of the influential literary magazine, The ‘Examiner.’

A short poem of his, which I’ve long enjoyed for its sweetness and simplicity, is Leigh Hunt’s verse, originally entitled ‘Rondeau’, but more generally known as ‘Jenny kiss’d Me’.

This charming poem is said to have been inspired by a meeting, following an illness, with the wife of his friend, the eminent historian Thomas Carlyle.

JENNY KISS’D ME  . . .  By Leigh Hunt (1838

Jenny kiss’d me when we met,

Jumping from the chair she sat in;

Time, you thief, who love to get

Sweets into your list, put that in!

Say I’m weary, say I’m sad,

Say that health and wealth have missed me,

Say I’m growing old, but add

Jenny kiss’d me.

Where Gleams Our Sun

Scotland – Western Isles … Watercolour WHB 2025 . .

What we once had before we split
I never will regret one bit.
It was a joy I can’t repeat;
It was my fault, I do admit.

Regrets do not a prison make
But time will ever keep awake
That spark of love, which, withered now,
I watched with horror envy take.

Your gain, my loss, I can agree;
Despite your vow to cherish me,
I lost you when I gave you space;
I knew I had to set you free.

It helps to keep my life on track,
To plaster over that cruel crack;
To be with you in dreamland now
I’d give up all to have you back.

You fill so many of my dreams
And memory runs amok it seems.
Tonight I take you with me, there,
Where gleam our sun and our moonbeams.

Love’s True End

When hearts meet and lips touch

And soft and supple bodies blend,

When in joy you give me your all,

Then will I sing of love’s true end.

WHB . . . 1956

Pictures by Sir Edward Burne-Jones (1833 – 1898) . . . ‘The Heart of the Rose’
Tapestry design, inspired by Chaucer’s adaptation of the medieval French
‘Le Romaunt de la Rose’

Westminster Chorus – Oh Love, That Will Not Let Me Go

Today . . . a plug for my favourite choir – the Westminster Chorus – with their moving rendering of ‘Oh Love that will not let me go’  . . .

The Westminster Chorus, singing a David Phelps arrangement of the George Matheson Hymn, “Oh Love, That Will Not Let Me Go” in the Petrikirche, a Protestant church (start of construction 1322) in Dortmund, Germany. The church is famous for the huge carved altar (known as “Golden Miracle of Dortmund”), from 1521. It consists of 633 gilt carved oak figures depicting 30 scenes about Easter.

 

 

 

The Lily Pond

Lily Pond at Hestercombe House, Taunton, Somerset . . .   Watercolour  -WHB  c.2003

No murmur breaks the silence
the afternoon is still
the pool reflects the calmness
which hovers in the air

The colours
and the scent of flowers
speak only of serenity
and peace
the splendour of the garden
throbs with Nature’s pride
a statement of the passion
and the pleasures of creation

Tall distinguished Iris
goddess of the rainbow
clutch the water’s edge
radiating their vibrant heritage
stealing the sun’s power
to enhance their golden presence
their stature
their boldness
speaking their nobility
and proudly defining
their cool distinction

Whilst languid water lilies
blanket the pool’s surface
coveting recognition of their worth
their foot pads
watery meniscus
a haven for the diffident carp
shading all the pool’s life
from the sun’s keen scrutiny

And then recalling
their antique role
in baiting
that languorous youth Narcissus
by encouraging the pool’s mirror
to reflect his admiration
bolstering his vanity
and tempting him
to his destruction

All My Love

Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones … ‘Love Among The Ruins’  1894  …   Wightwick Manor, West Midlands, National Trust, UK.

ALL MY LOVE

I cannot promise ‘All my Love’;
It’s not that I don’t care,
But love is not an empty word;
What love I have I share.

A love for family and friends 
That cannot be gainsaid;
That still will be a part of me 
When other loves do fade.

There is a love of all mankind
Which brings a certitude 
That life’s not just for you and me,
But nature’s plenitude.

There is a love that touches me,
A love of all creation,
Recalls for me such longing and
Sustains my inspiration.

There is a love that teaches me 
To think of others first;
To curb those venial thoughts I have 
My nature at its worst.

There is a love beseeches me 
To face up to my errors;
To open up my damaged heart 
Confront my hidden terrors.

There is a love which reaches me 
Across the mighty ocean; 
That gives to me a lasting hope, 
A clutching at emotion.

There is a love of life itself,
A love I hold and cherish,
And pray for strength to face its end
When at last I perish.

There is love which distresses me,
Seeks more than I can give;
Demands I offer up my soul,
Smothers the life I live.

That selfish love, demanding all,
I still cannot allow; 
For love’s an abstruse concept and
Mine is prescribed now.

All these are loves I’m asked to give, 
Demanding that I care,
But I have only so much and 
I have no love to spare.

Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones … ‘Love Song’  1868-1877  …  Metropolitan Museum Of Art, New York, USA.