‘The Sum of all our Memories’


Photo: :  ‘Two Against The World’ – WHB


If it is true
As it is said
That we are
The sum of all our memories
Then I will collect yours
By colour and by time
Count them
Order them
Sort them into their separate strands
Bind these close together
Plait them into skeins
Then hang them round your neck
As a daisy chain
To adorn and demonstrate
My love for you

Thus I will find
behind that closed facade
That barrier of reticence
The real you
The essence of your being
Your throbbing vibrant heart
Beating its rhythm
In time with my own

I will break down
Your defences
And at last discover
The self which claims
to love me
To want to own me
To be my buttress
Shoring me up
Against my troubles

And when your dam
Finally breaks
The following floods
Will swamp my uncertainties
Shoring up my resolve
So that together
We can face
An unforgiving world




‘THAT LOVE MAY LIVE’ – A Story In Four Haikus


Image . . . Pinterest

‘THAT LOVE MAY LIVE’ – A Story In Four Haikus



The heavens opened 
On my hopes for sun and warmth
Leaving me bereft


As the waters rose
So my spirits with them sank
I thought love lay lost


But I was quite wrong
For Nature wove its magic
Showing me the truth


Look upon the rain
As summers need to renew
And keep love alive



Books Do Not Die . . .


Books, do not die

{ A paean to Books }


Books, do not die,
You bring me such joy;
I’ve dwelt in your pages
Since I was a boy.

Books, do not die,
You are humble yet proud,
Bringing solace and hope,
The sun through the cloud.

Books, do not die.
Your warmth and your grace,
Your wisdom and charm,
I clutch and embrace.

Books, do not die,
You have smell, you have taste.
Your very presence
Will not go to waste.

Books, do not die,
Your existence delights
You see me through
Those long dark winter nights

Books do not die,
My dreams you renew;
You offer escape,
I can’t live without you.

Books, Do not die;
Do not burn, Or expire.
Life blood of words,
Procreate and inspire.




TREE-mendous FUN

Devon-aug 085a

Photo : ‘… in Devon ‘ – WHB

TREE-mendous FUN

“I love you”, said ELM to HAZEL,

“Shall I comPEAR you to a summer’s day?
rough winds, they shake the darling buds of MAY,
and summer’s LEAVES have far too short a DATE;

but my FIR will keep YEW warm in winter;
then let us produce HAZE-ELM-lets,
or, if you preFIR,
maybe we’ll make ELM-HAZEL-ets together.”

“But I am PLANE”, HAZEL said,
“and you are SPRUCE,
and I PINE for a HOLLY-day,
For the BEECHES of my youth;
… so, before I become
just ASHes in a BOX
I will be, AS-PEN to paper,
and I WILL-OWe you this one poem.”

“OAK – HAY”, Elm said

So the PEAR of them
and BRANCHED off to WOODstock,
where they lived APPLE-y ever after.


[  with apologies to Mr. W. Shakespeare for bowdlerising his Sonnet # 18   ]


U. A. Fanthorpe – ‘ATLAS’

 [  No.72 of my favourite short poems  ]


After all the recent talk of LOVE surrounding VALENTINE’s DAY, here is a very down-to-earth poem by what we could perhaps call a no-nonsense down-to earth poet,  U.A.Fanthorpe. 

Born in 1928, Ursula Askham (normally using just her initials, U.A.), Fanthorpe, died, aged 79, in 2009, near her home in Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire.  After studying at Oxford University, she went on to teach English at  Cheltenham Ladies’ College for sixteen years, before giving up teaching.  She was aged 50 before her first collection of poems was published, having noted, quite precisely, that “On 18 April 1974 I started writing poems”.  She was later made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was awarded a CBE in 2001 for services to poetry.  In 2003 she received the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry.

Perhaps her best known poem is ‘Atlas’.  The poem presents a far-from-romantic view of LOVE.  Certainly a positive, worthwhile, and all the more powerful for that, view of the realities of a truly loving relationship . . . 



‘ATLAS’ . . . by U. A. Fanthorpe


There is a kind of love called maintenance
Which stores the WD40 and knows when to use it;

Which checks the insurance, and doesn’t forget
The milkman; which remembers to plant bulbs;

Which answers letters; which knows the way
The money goes; which deals with dentists

And Road Fund Tax and meeting trains,
And postcards to the lonely; which upholds

The permanently rickety elaborate
Structures of living, which is Atlas.

And maintenance is the sensible side of love,
Which knows what time and weather are doing
To my brickwork; insulates my faulty wiring;
Laughs at my dryrotten jokes; remembers
My need for gloss and grouting; which keeps
My suspect edifice upright in air,
As Atlas did the sky.


UA Fanthorpe, from ‘Safe as Houses’ (Peterloo Poets, 1995)





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.



He is Gone

funeral party

A Quote from that great  English comedienne, actress, singer and songwriter, screenwriter, producer and director, Victoria Wood, who sadly passed away in 2016 at the age of 63 . . .

“In India, if a man dies, the widow flings herself onto the funeral pyre; if a man dies in this country, the woman just drags herself into the kitchen and says, ‘Seventy-two baps, Connie, you slice, I’ll spread’ “

From: ‘Great British Wit’ by Rosemary Jarski  (Ebury Press 2009)


Pull the stops out
He is gone;
Start a new life,
Don’t dwell upon

What once was quick,
It now is dead,
Life starts afresh;
He always said,

“When I am gone
Do not be sad,
Start a new life
And be glad.

Get out the glad rags,
Have a party,
You’ll be fine now,
Hale and hearty.

Ready to start
A brand new life,
A brand new woman,
An experienced wife.

Time to sparkle,
Forget the past;
Your Prince awaits you,
Free at last.

For when I’m safely
In my box,
No need then
To stop all the clocks.”




A.E. Housman – ‘Bredon Hill’

[  No.69 of my favourite short poems  ]


‘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.


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.



A Son to his Mother – A Sonnet


A Son to his Mother . . . A Sonnet

As the clouds have wept on your grave
Since you left this world behind,
So do my tears flow
When your memory brings to mind
The love you had for me, 
Which in my lust for life
I never did return, 
But with my careless knife
Cut out the debt I owed.
Left you to love alone, 
To suffer silently,
My gratitude unknown
Forever to my shame,
I am the child to blame.


When I Am Gone


‘Graveyard Moon’ … WHB -Pen  Wash 2017



When I am gone
And you are left.
Be not afraid,
Be not bereft.

When you are old
And I am gone,
You’ll love the moon
That shines upon

My midnight grave,
Our place of tryst;
For though I’m gone
I still exist

In memory still;
The moon that shone
Upon our birth
Still shines for us

… when I am gone.