A Broken Heart

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‘Hands On Heart’ Photoshopped  Photo: WHB – Sep., 2017

PALPITATIONS

When palpitations
of the heart
start
that sudden
gulp
that gasp for air

is it love
or lust
or life itself
forcing me to face
my future

that unwonted throb
unwanted gasp
those ensuing reverberations
erupted flutterings
flip-floppings

before I am returned
to that steady beat
that controlled thump
which promises
certitude

My heart
that part
of me
held dear
so near
yet no longer
steady
nor ready
to yearn
to long for
and to desire
to allow free reign
to emotion

now caution
rules
demands attention
ectopic beating
atrial contraction
call it whatever
heart-hiccups
love-stutters
heebie-jeebies
screaming habdabs
all one

palpitations
once a passion
now a symptom

a broken heart
is not
just love forgone
it is
a life in peril

 

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MOONSTRUCK

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MOONSTRUCK

In the middle
of the night
when the moon
is at its height

I’m given
to fanciful excesses
about pretty girls
with golden tresses

Capricious ladies
small and sweet
built-up hair
and dainty feet

Lock their looks
on my leering eyes
and I’m enthralled
anaesthetised

I fall so hard
I cannot rise
it’s my golden apple
the major prize

But always a mirage
a passing dream
just one more fancy
it would seem

My life’s story
told in wishes
always someone
else’s kisses.

 

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Sometimes

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‘Dawn’ … Pen & Wash – WHB  ©

 

SOMETIMES

Sometimes
at first tread of dawn
I sense the dampness of the dew
as it cossets the grass to refresh my world

Sometimes
in the morning’s glow
I feel the sun’s insistence
on bringing me joy for another day

Sometimes
amidst the midday murmur
I hear the singing of my garden’s flowers
intent on making their presence known to me

Sometimes
in the heat of the afternoon
I feel the bee’s ardent resolve
its need to garner the fragrant lavender’s love

Sometimes
in the evening’s stillness
I am aware of the blackbird’s impulse
to trill its sugared song to thrill my enfeebled soul

Sometimes
in the dead of night
I am awoken by the moon’s resolve
to lighten my darkness with its lambent glow

And sometimes
When life’s burdens are upon me
I respond to Nature’s showcased beauty
With renewed resolve to remain a beneficiary of such grace

 

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Gwen JOHN – Rodin’s stalker

RODIN-Winged Victory-Model-Gwen John

‘Winged Victory – sculpture by Auguste Rodin… modelled by Gwen John

Gwen JOHN – Rodin’s stalker

sucked into his circle
seduced by his attention
the youthful innocent
charmed
awakened
flattered and captured
by his reputation
the innocent ingénue
capitulated
sat
posed
exposed
her youthful innocence
to his gnarled advances
he
an old cracked vase

now linked
to her driven impulsion
her aroused possessiveness
his fate
brought upon himself
his penance for taking her
in her prime
using her
then when she had fully succumbed
to his ardour
discarding her like a broken vase herself
now he was reaping the seed he had sown
being punished in his decrepitude
by her youthful zest
her constant attentions
her clinging ardour
demanding and draining
pressing constantly for his attention
now enfeebling him
the shards of his desire
scattered on the potters floor
Winged Victory de-flowered
disposed of
its remnants scattered
as so many others
the artist’s detritus
swept into a corner of his studio
to take their place
alongside those other rejected manikins
all now redundant.

she became the stalker
the stalker stalked
the predator compromised by his own lust
and trapped in his rapacious past
impotent now and fearful
his winged victory over her
turned turtle
finally repaid
by her triumph over him
resolved only
at his death


Gwen John (1876-1939) , sister of the renowned Welsh painter, Augustus John (1878-1961),  grew up in Pembrokeshire, Wales.  After leaving Britain for France in 1904 she became first the model, then the lover, of the much-older Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) .  Their relationship lasted a decade and shaped the remainder of the Welsh artist’s life and work.

In her lifetime Gwen John was primarily known merely as an appendage to both her brother and to Rodin.  She died on the outbreak of WW2, unrecognised as a serious artist.  In more recent years, however, following rediscovery of her work by art scholars since the 1970s, her own artistic work has undergone a re-appraisal.  

 She is now considered, particularly as a portrait painter, to be almost on a par to her brother.  In fact, Augustus is quoted as saying before he died in 1861, that “In 50 years Gwen will be better known than I am as an artist”.

The story of Gwen John’s intense infatuation with Rodin can be readily discovered on the internet. 

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Gwen John – Self portrait – 1899

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Ogden Nash – The Sunset Years of Samuel Shy

 (Poem No.49 of my favourite short poems)

Jenny Kissed Me

The Sunset Years of Samuel Shy

Master I may be,
But not of my fate.
Now come the kisses, too many too late.
Tell me, O Parcae,
For fain would I know,
Where were these kisses three decades ago?
Girls there were plenty,
Mint julep girls, beer girls,
Gay younger married and headstrong career girls,
The girls of my friends
And the wives of my friends,
Some smugly settled and some at loose ends,
Sad girls, serene girls,
Girls breathless and turbulent,
Debs cosmopolitan, matrons suburbulent,
All of them amiable
All of them cordial,
Innocent rousers of instincts primordial,
But even though health and wealth
Hadn’t yet missed me,
None of them,
Not even Jenny, once kissed me.

These very same girls
Who with me have grown older
Now freely relax with a head on my shoulder,
And now come the kisses,
A flood in full spate,
The meaningless kisses, too many too late.
They kiss me hello,
Should I offer a light, there’s a kiss for reply.
They kiss me at weddings,
They kiss me at wakes,
The drop of a hat is less than it takes.
They kiss me at cocktails,
They kiss me at bridge,
It’s all automatic, like slapping a midge.
The sound of their kisses
Is loud in my ears
Like the locusts that swarm every seventeen years.

I’m arthritic, dyspeptic,
Potentially ulcery,
And weary of kisses by custom compulsory.
Should my dear ones commit me as senile demential,
It’s from kisses perfunctory, inconsequential.
Answer, O Parcae,
For fain would I know,
Where were these kisses three decades ago?

By Ogden Nash

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NOTES:

Frederic Ogden Nash (1902 – 1971) was an American poet well known for his light verse, of which he wrote over 500 pieces. With his unconventional rhyming schemes, he produced some of the best-known humorous verse. From time to time his poetry can be extremely moving and delicate with a beautiful turn of phrase – as in this particular poem where he writes of  “the meaningless kisses, too many, too late”.

 The Parcae: In ancient Roman religion and myth, these were the female personifications of destiny, often called the FATES in English.

‘Jenny kiss’d Me’  is a poem by the English essayist Leigh Hunt. It was first published in November 1838 by the Monthly Chronicle.   The poem was inspired by Jane Welsh, the wife of Thomas Carlyle. According to anthologist Martin Gardner, “Jenny kiss’d Me” was written during a flu epidemic, and refers to an unexpected visit by the recovered Hunt to the Carlyle household and being greeted by Jenny.

N.B.  I posted Leigh Hunt’s poem ‘Jenny Kissed me’  on  February 3rd, 2017.  Click this link to read it …  ‘Jenny Kissed Me’

 

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SELKIE-The Seal Woman – 2

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©   ‘Selkie’ … Coloured Pen – WHB – August 2017

 

SELKIE-The Seal Woman

PART THE SECOND

 

Now
As the surge of the swollen sea
Sweeps the shore
I scan the rolling waves
For a sign of her presence
A hint of her salt-scent
Her seal-self
The searing splash of her tail
As it breaks the foam’s crest

I sense the silky soft touch of her skin
I know she is there
I sense her nearness
In the clutching drift of the current

The sound of her muted cry
wafting to me with the wistful wind
Towards my rock
Her rock
Our rock
The anchor connecting our two realities
The link
Ocean-forged
Wind-weathered
Sun-scorched
Heart-touched
Communion binding us
In those few delicious moments
When our worlds merge
And we become as one

Creatures of neither sea nor land
Melded in Earth’s memory
To exist for ever
In legend

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SELKIE-The Seal Woman – 1

SELKIES (said to be a diminutive form of the Scottish word for ‘seal’) are mythical creatures which feature in much Celtic literature and folklore.  These stories and the alleged sightings of these shape-shifting creatures are mostly centred on the Hebridean Islands of Scotland and the island groups of the Orkneys, the Shetlands, and further north in the Faroe Islands and around the Icelandic coastline.

Sea-going and fishing communities in these places have their stories to tell about these creatures.  Unlike mermaids, they are not half-human and half-fish.  Selkies, both male and female, are said to live as seals when in the sea, but shed their skin to become humans when on land.

 The legend takes many different forms, but it is generally thought that whenever a selkie and a human meet when both are in human form, the two will always fall in love. Such tales, however, never have a happy ending as the selkie will always at some point have to answer the call of the sea.  Even if their human partner hides the seal skin away, then, as soon as it is discovered, the Selkie will be unable to resist returning to its life as a seal, often leaving his or her children behind.

 Some interpretations of the legends maintain that, in this way, many sea-faring families, having lost their father, brother, grandfather at sea and the body never being recovered, explain the absence to the children as their loved one having re-joined the seal community (‘Gone to join the seal folk’) and will one day return.

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By the sculptor Hans Pauli Olsen – ‘The Seal Woman of Mikladalur’ statue on Kalsoy (2014).  In old Faroese folklore it was believed that at certain times the seals came out of the sea, stripped their seal-skins and became real human beings, dancing on the shore. But before sunrise they had to take on their skins again to be able to return to the sea – their natural element.

SELKIE-The Seal Woman

 PART THE FIRST

She came to me from the Sea
shedding her sealskin
on that rock
A gift vouchsafed from the depths
with the alluring tang of the ocean
She captured my innocence
captivated my soul
absorbed my whole being

Communion we had to excess
our feelings of love unexplained
brought us a peace which neither had known
contentment in each other’s warmth

Then I had thought she was mine
to cherish and to love
to share time
and histories
to plan a life together

But it was not to be
her hidden sealskin discovered
she was compelled to answer
the call of the waves

It could not be for ever
our short-lived passion spent
foregone
Hope and desire
subsumed by time
by the sea’s imperative

So I lost her to the ocean
no more was she mine
only my memories remained
I had to grant
respect for her freedom
her heritage
seek solace in memory
and bury my hopes
in the swell of the sea

Selkie (1)

 PART The Second – to be published tomorrow . . .

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‘i carry your heart with me’ -E.E.Cummings

(Poem No.46 of my favourite short poems)

E.E. Cummings ( or ‘e e cummings’) (1894-1962) was an experimental American poet with a distinctive style, but nevertheless very accessible.  I previously blogged his poem … maggie and millie and mollie and may
Cummings’ poetry often deals with themes of love and nature, as in the following lovely poem . . .

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i carry  your heart with me

 

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
                                  i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

BY  E.E.Cummings

 

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Oscar Wilde – ‘Tread lightly, she is near’

 (Poem No.45 of my favourite short poems)

WoT Churchyard

REQUIESCAT

Tread lightly, she is near
Under the snow,
Speak gently, she can hear
The daisies grow.

All her bright golden hair
Tarnished with rust,
She that was young and fair
Fallen to dust.

Lily-like, white as snow,
She hardly knew
She was a woman, so
Sweetly she grew.

Coffin-board, heavy stone,
Lie on her breast,
I vex my heart alone,
She is at rest.

Peace, peace, she cannot hear
Lyre or sonnet,
All my life’s buried here,
Heap earth upon it.

 

by: Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde

 

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ON PARTING . . . Three Rondelets

rondelet

   

The RONDELET   is a poetic form originating in France.  It consists of a single septet (7 lines) with just two rhymes and one repeating refrain, in the fom of: AbAabbA.  (The capital letters represent the repeats. The 3 refrains (A) are written in tetra-syllabic (dimeter) and the other lines are twice as long, these being octasyllabic (tetrameter).

Below I print three of my attempts at constructing a RONDELET – all on the subject of ‘PARTING’ . . .

Parting

Scanned image by Philip V.Allingham of a wood engraving by Dalziel at: http://www.thevictorianweb.org

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ON PARTING … 1 

Tell me to go
I know at last that we are through
Tell me to go
 The damage is to all on show
 And time is up for me and you
Better move on to pastures new
Tell me to go

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ON PARTING … 2

But now we part
I know I’ll miss your every kiss
But now we part
The hurt has caused my broken heart
I am not given to reminisce
But your embrace I know I’ll miss
But now we part

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ON PARTING … 3

(A similar form, but not strictly a Rondelet, the lines of the refrain being in trimeter ! )

Love me or let me go
The hurt is more than I can bear
Love me or let me go
Stop dealing me that parting blow
You tease and tempt my heart to ensnare
Without a thought to commit or share
Love me or let me go

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The description, with examples, of this poetic form can be found on the :
  ‘Shadow Poetry’  website

 

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