WANTED – A Good Woman

I photographed this poster prominently displayed in the forrard window of a motor cruiser moored at the mouth of a river on the east coast of Kent, England, in 2009.   For those who are unable to decipher the wording on the poster, I quote it here . . .

WANTED
GOOD
WOMAN
Must Be Able to Clean

Cook, Sew, Dig Worms
and Clean Fish
Must Have Boat 
and Motor
ALSO SEND PICTURE OF

BOAT AND MOTOR

The, presumably tongue-in-cheek, audacity prompted me to write the verses below ...

Wanted!  A Good Woman

Wanted! A pliant good woman
A sturdy strapping lass;
Content to be a willing wife –
One of the servile class.

Someone to meet my every need,
Allow me my own space;
Clean my house, cook. sew and dig
And do it with good grace.

My priorities must be upheld;
I need no self-willed martyr
Who’ll bicker and demand a fee
Each time I tweak her garter.

A bit of brass, willing to share,
That would not go amiss;
I’d give you pocket money too
And from time to time a kiss
.

A woman’s lot is never done
I know that’s what they say,
But after all is said and done
It’ll be worth it for the pay.

You’ll get a home with bed and board,
With a kind, considerate master.
What else in life could a lady ask
When all else now has passed her?

And so to sum up my request,
I need a loving spouse
,
A soul-mate made to serve my needs,
And good about the house.

Someone to moderate my charms,
To make me less unfeeling …

… I don’t know why but no one yet
Has found my job appealing.

Love Is . . .

Photograph . . . Surrey 2016 . . .  WHB.

MY INITIAL DIAGNOSIS

WAS CIRRHOSIS OR FIBROSIS,

BUT MY GNOSIS BEING HYPNOSIS,

THEN TO REACH APOTHEOSIS

WE NEED MUTUAL SYMBIOSIS.

You may recognise that the opening line of my verse above was also a line in a popular song of 1960,  ‘Goodness Gracious Me’, sung as a duet by Sophia Lauren and Peter Sellers.

VENICE


Venetian Sunset – from Piazza San Marco … Pen & Wash – WHB … 2013

City of Islands
City of dream
Inscribed with colour
 Every line.

City of History
City of deeds
Imbued with story
Every step

City of Passion
City of pride
Engorged with fashion
Every stride

City of Clamour
City of bells
Ringing with meaning
Every knell

City of Turmoil
City of strife
Threaded with suffering
Every hurt

City of Mansions
City of graves
Instilled with ardour
Every shrine

City of Titian
City of art
Awash with beauty
Every part

City of Merchants
City of trade
Echoed by Shakespeare
Every shade

City of Conflict
City of strife
Turbulent city
Every vice

City of Water
City of flood
Sea taking over
Every surge

City of Magic
City of spells
Present in each pile
Every shell

City of Revels
City of fun
Carnivals rule life
Every fete

City of Intrigue
City of masks
Sophistry renews
Every day

City of Drama
City of sin
Would I were there now
Let new life begin.

Venice . . . Pen & Wash – WHB: 2013

The Rejected Lady

Darden Centre – Surrey, England: Photo: WHB – 2001

The way to treat a lady when you’re tired
Is not to dump her in a bin and run.
Why not admit that she you once admired
Has lost your love and now your chapter’s done.

To tip her in a bin head first was cruel,
Forgetting all the love she gave to you.
For once she was your all transcendent jewel;
A wretched end was not the thing to do.

She was owed far better from her erstwhile lover,
A fitting end would be a parting prayer,
To let goodbyes be said, the party’s over,
And move on to the next furtive affair.

We hope your new amour will treat you better
Than you deserve, you two-faced cheating brute.
Perhaps she’ll send that candid scarlet letter,
The one which spills the beans on your repute.

Just remember this my callous Casanova.
That when you end your defunct escapades.
When all that great ferment at last is over,
Then, what you sow you’ll truly reap in spades.

With Tongue In Cheek

Oh yes, I’m now old and decrepit,
But neither past it nor fetid.

In no way I’m over and finished;
My ardour still has not diminished.

… ‘COS …

Age has not wearied me yet;
Desire is still with me,
Lust still stirs within me,
I’m a game old codger, you bet!

…  SO …

IF YOU WERE MINE

You look divine.
If you were mine
I’d drool and dote,
You’d have my vote.

I’d fire Love’s dart
To win your heart.
That’s not a sin,
I know I’d win.

I’d face the press,
Ignore the mess.
I’d  tie you to me
And Lose the key.

With every wish
I’d  be selfish.
You’d have to be
Welded to me.

And each new day
Would show the way
To hold love fast,
To make it last.

And every kiss
Would speak of bliss,
Would prove at last
Life had not past.

They say I’m old
And won’t be told;
That love has past,
Dried up at last.

But yet I know
I’d love you so.
Despite my age
I’d take the stage.

You’d be my queen
And reign supreme
Over our peers.
For which three cheers.

So here’s the rub,
The heart, the nub.
What we’d have then
Is our Amen.

‘Twould gave us hope,
Help us to cope
With life, with pain,
To live again.

And when at last
Our time was past,
Our journey done,
We’d be as one.

. . .   so . . .

Take a note!
I’m not dead yet,
And, get this quote,
“I’d like to bet
You’ll be like me,

You’ll have a ball
When you can see
Work is not all.”

What Might Have Been . . . THEN

Did I ever kiss you
in those halcyon days of old?
did I ever hold you
in my arms
whisper
to your ear?
or say
I want you so?

It didn’t happen
then
did it?
It could have
but it didn’t
such a wasted moment
such a forfeited life

What I know now,
but didn’t

then
you were there
waiting for me
seeking a glimpse
of recognition
or even a nod
 to your very existence

What I feel now
was not an option
It was outside my ken
then
barely a glance away
no more than a word away
but a whole world away
from mine
or so I thought
thoughtlessly

I could have taken
that other path
the road not taken
into that parallel world
that alternative reality
the sliding door
into another future
but
I chose differently
unconsciously
I didn’t know
didn’t even consider

that there might be
that there was
an alternative

then

But In my ignorance
in my indifference
you left and
I demurred

For you
then

I know now
there was a pain
a hurt un-mended
unintended

So I departed
to a separate future
itself now discarded
this time
for you

So long ago
nothing
then
now
is everything

Oh if I had spoken
then
broken that ice
 to find that different future

 grasped at chance
and fused we two together
embarked
 on life’s unwavering path
with hope
that all that came to pass
would prove to be
life’s key
its answer to failure

But would that alternative
that re-positioned love
have lasted long
and still been fresh
and sunny
after a lifetime
together

Or would it
then
would it have palled
just been repeated
on another plane
and left us
where we are now
cold
dispassionate
and turning to another
for succour

Or
perhaps
are both lives
being lived right now
co-existing in their own space
along with all those other choices
 I did not make?

Uncertain
amidst uncertainty
there is a certainty

That
time pleases no one
history wins
and history is the truth
It has to be the truth
for us

when we ourselves
have lived it
however many histories there are

When we have loved
not loved
then
re-discovered love
we must
somewhere
have experienced

the truth
a life

which we can take
shared


Into the future

Perhaps this is it
now
so much better than

what happened

… Then

  #      #      #

But
I believe
at the time of their making
our choices
were the right ones
only later
in another life
did they become

 the wrong ones

Nothing is pre-ordained
that cannot be
circumvented
neither is anything
unequivocal
or absolute

So many possibilities
so many doors

to choose from
countless ‘what ifs’

perhaps the order
in which we choose
matters not

Only the life
that is being lived now

Or … THEN


NOTES:

The lead-in illustration is by George Boyce  (geebee2007 / flickr.com)  is for Philip Pullman’s book ‘The Golden Compass’, the first of the ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy, currently being prepared for filming by BBC TV.  The trilogy follows the story of two children, Lyra and Will, as they wander through a series of parallel universes.

Author’s note: I am aware that ‘Alternate Reality’ seems to be used more often than ‘Alternative Reality’, which I nevertheless think is logically the more correct way of describing this concept.


REGRET

And now the past pains the present again
Those vivid re-lived passages smart
So I try to disengage my memory
And the sorrowing sobs do not reach my heart.

But the regret will end, it always does.
Nothing retains its sting so long
That memory can’t in time evade.
And what is left … is bitter, bitter circumstance.

LOVE’S HURT

Oh why does loving hurt so much?
And bite so hard with such smooth teeth?
And clutch so tightly at my heart
As though to stifle every beat?

Just one dark look, one heavy word,
Is like the lash of some foul whip,
And lacerates my tender frame,
And brings a quiver to my lip.

In vain I try to stem the ache –
Othello’s antique pain.
The handkerchief is suspect still
My anguish will remain.





[ First published on rolandsragbag.wordpress.com blog on 5th October, 2016 ]

Will you marry me?


My photograph was taken from a beach in Cornwall, U.K.,  in 2006.  I do trust things turned out better in reality than in my  rather jaundiced, wholly imagined, speculations on the subject of marriage and the impulsive gestures which do often bring it about  –  as demonstrated in some of the ostentatious proposals which took place at the Rio Olympics. (WHB)

‘MARRY ME’ it said in the sky,
The brazenly shouted plea;
Showcasing a lover’s great passion?
A proposal she had to agree.

Was love in there somewhere I wondered?
Was that what the question implied?
A lifelong commitment on offer –
Based on whim, or desire for a bride?

“I’d love to” she whispered so gently,
Accepting his plea without question.
Her doubts were dispelled by his bluster
How could she deny his suggestion?

They married in bliss shortly after,
A lifetime of rapture to come.
With hope for a lifetime of passion?
Well, that’s how it’s meant to be done

The first happy years ran so smoothly;
The path of love seemed to be fine,
But the storm clouds were looming above them
Creating a warning fault line.

It was life intervened in their story,
A lassitude lay on their marriage,
Their ardour and pleasures defeated.
Love stalled, reduced to the humdrum,


Both felt as though they’d been cheated.

Habit had killed off their lustre;
Routine  had entered their souls;
Self-regard took over from closeness;
Possessions their only goals.

So was it for this they were married,
Just to reach an acceptance of sorts?
All passion long lost from their dowry
Now littered with bile and retorts.

The end of this story I’m told?
They parted with barely a whisper;
What began with a flamboyant gesture,
Ended, ‘Not with a bang but a whimper’.

This last line echoing T.S.Eliot’s oft-quoted lines from ‘The Hollow Men’  . . .

‘This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.’

Cries For Help – Like Mother, Like Son

Mother & Child . . . Linocut – WHB

The winning entry in the Daily Telegraph’s 1997 Mini-Saga Competition.
The task set being to compose a story of 50 words exactly – no more!  no less!

A scanned photocopy of the winning entry – as posted in the Daily Telegraph on May 3rd 1997