THE TORCH I CARRY

‘The Depths Of The Sea’ (The Lure Of The Sirens) … Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones (1881

THE TORCH I CARRY

I carry a torch for the ocean
In her relentless swell I am held
My light will see me to the foreshore
Where vast wave and mild ripple meld.

For though my love’s unrequited
As I walk on the shore by the sea
The sight and the sound of her motion
Bring solace and hope back to me.

For when I watch her crescendo
Its beauty and force I admire
The sigh and the roar of her surges
Are those of a celestial choir.

My heart is in thrall to her passion
Her awesome breakers I ride
White horses call me ever forward
To meet the turn of the tide.

And when she is still as a millpond
My senses respond in repose
My life consummates in devotion
All yearning brought to a close.

Yes, the lure of the Siren defeats me
I am snared by her destructive song

I have given my all to her beauty
Now only to her I belong.

Am Not Your Toy Boy  

‘Toy Boy’ – Pen & Wash WHB . . . 2017

I AM NOT YOUR TOY BOY

Had enough of being your toy boy

I am not a toy

I am marked

‘Not to be toyed with’

It’s happened to me before

I’m much wiser now

Won’t let it happen again

To have my affections trifled with

Is no trifle

Hurts and damages any toy.

So think again dear lady

Find some other mug

One with a wealthier handle

Or one with a see-through wallet

Besides I don’t do the clubs

Not cougar-fodder

I don’t need to re-live my youth

In someone else’s image

We’re not on Route 66

And, for me, selfies are verboten

You catching me in a spin

Texting those wild come-on

WhatsApps

For your later production in court.

Ought to be ashamed – and at your age!

Me – pushing eighty

And you …

I don’t care how you get your kicks

You must be all of ninety six.

LIFE’S JOURNEY

TODAY I AM TACKLING A POEM USING THE ‘OTTAVA RIMA’ POETIC FORM.

Originally an Italian stanza of eight 11-syllable lines, with a rhyme scheme of ABABABCC.  Sir Thomas Wyatt first introduced the form in English, and Lord Byron adapted it to a 10-syllable line for his mock-epic ‘Don Juan’.  W.B.Yeatsnotably used it for his poems “Among Scool Children’ and Sailing to Byzantium.’

[ Adapted from http://www.poetryfoundation.org ]

Sir John Everett Millais … ‘The Boyhood of Raleigh’ (1870)

OTTAVA RIMA

LIFE’S JOURNEY

I long to travel through my life again,

To have the same beginning but to change

The choices that have given me such pain

And turn them into something rich and strange;

Transform those scenes to sunshine from the rain,

The order of their happening rearrange.

My hope would be to bring new meaning to

My life-long search for love and joy with you.

W.H.Booth (aka Roland Keld)… 21/5/17

ETHEREE

Today I am ‘having a go’ at the Etheree poetic form.  It is somewhat similar to the Cinquain and the Rictameter, both of which I have tackled previously.   The Etheree is a ten line form ascending in syllable count for ten unrhymed lines, and it should focus on a single idea or subject.    Thus the syllable count is in the form:  1.2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 
This can be altered to give a Reverse Etheree:  10.9.8.7.6.5.4.3.2.1.

The form is attributed to an American poet, Etheree Taylor Armstrong of Arkansas (1918 – 1994).  Little seems to be known of her life except the poetic form she devised.

Notes adapted from ‘The Poets’ Garret’ et al.  

I have attempted both forms below – on the subjects of ‘Idleness’  and  ‘Life’ …

‘Love In Idleness’ . . . Pen & Wash – WHB

IDLENESS – A REVERSE ETHEREE

Today I vow to spend in idleness,
to do no more than listen keenly,
allow the world to speak to me,
while I, in turn, consider
which way my life now  leads,
trying to find peace
within my mind
that will see
my life
through.

LIFE – A REGULAR ETHEREE

Life,
in truth,
defeats me.
Midst storm and stress
I struggle to keep
that equilibrium
which holds me in its stillness,
waiting with some trepidation
for that final push to reach the stars
where my disquietude will cease to be.

No Blue Plaque

NO BLUE PLAQUE

No blue plaque here
but
in that house
in that room
I was conceived.
In the same house
in the same room
then I was born.

First child
Only child
Undistinguished house
undistinguished room
undistinguished birth.

But blessed with
the Conquering
Blood and Fire
General’s name.

It had to be that way.

Aren’t all births
distinguished only by their
unglamorous spectacle?

Not something I asked for
nor desired.
No regrets
but there were
Consequences.
Oh, yes.
Eighty years
of consequences.
My history
My responsibility
My river’s ride
through childhood rapids
to maturity’s turmoil
and turbulence.
Becalmed now
in dispiriting dotage
its stillnesses
its infirmity and nostalgia.

What follows
eventually
as I merge
with the looming ocean
waiting
to receive me?


Memories fade for me

Yet I know
some continuity remains
where these same images
 have been handed on
to those loved ones
who will remember.

But now
in moments of tranquility
my responsibility
for my past
presses hard
until those times when
 my love surges
to outweigh my guilt
and again
for good or ill
my scarred soul
returns to its past
and wonders.


… and time treads on
as I stare at the window
the nets shielding its secrets.
Now
just as they did then
So long ago.

Photographs … WHB – Yorkshire (2016) and Sussex (2009), UK

Love Autumn – Hate Novenmer

I Love the Autumn but hate November

I Love the Autumn but hate November.

Remember, remember the 11th November –

Gunfire. no reason, no Plot.

The waste of young lives sent forward and shot.

The fireworks and bonfires just serve to remind me

Of bombs and incendiaries, of the carnage to see,

Of the fear and the doubts, but the knowledge of duty

To do what they must to perpetuate beauty.

The beauty of freedom, of lives without limits,

Not theirs for the taking, nor lasting but minutes,

But those back at home who are counting on honour

To see the boys through, until they’re a goner.

Some came home broken, wounded and battered,

Wondering if everything was worth it or mattered.

Too quickly their country forgot what they did,

No support for de-briefing, no reward, God forbid!

They did it for duty, for love of their country,

For the King (or the Queen) to put it quite bluntly,

For a future of peace, tranquillity and love,

But the future of them was in heaven above.

Their light was snuffed out on the earth down below

But their  life we shall honour as the stars above glow

They shall live in our hearts and our minds here on earth

As November comes round to provide a new birth.

I don’t hate November; I hate that it hurts me.

They gave up their lives for our freedom you see,

But my hurt is as nothing compared to their war.

My heart’s full of love, for the young men, who gave all.

This poem was composed by, and published with the permission of, Caroline Miller-Tate, whilst contemplating the significance of our memories engendered during this year’s Remembrance weekend period . . . “At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them”

PUSHING UP THE DAISIES

‘Pushing Up The Daisies’ … WHB – Pen & Wash. May 2017

Where are they now
Gerard and the Craig twins
Doggy Dan  and Luggy Cooper 
the Lawrences
Jocky Boyes and Spuggie Hood,
each with a memory attached
their image for me
still young
never ageing?

Could be still out there
my age
and I’m still here,
not waiting
but wanting
wishing
hoping
reliving memories
replaying youth,
recalling lads
lasses too
part of my past
history of my story,
liked,
loved,
and lusted after,
feared
and fretted over,
not given a thought
until now
but they could still be here,
there,
somewhere,
not pushing up the daisies.
Not yet.

Will some of them,
wherever,
still be sleeping
with my dreams?
Others,
as I,
lying sleepless,
thinking these same thoughts,
because
we do have the same history,
minds similarly imprinted,
memories matched
attuned
remembering.

Racing out in the morning
breathless with anticipation
rushing to share our days,
to build the same dams
catch the same minnows
in the same jam jars
leap the same becks
explore the same tunnels
climb the same trees
rocks
hills
fight the same mock battles.
All
forging our own
memories.

And Jim
Jim, the joker,
jumped off Highcliff Nab
while I took his photo,
fell
all of six feet
soft landed
on the turf ledge.
No dying fall,

not kicking up the daisies.

Not then,
no, he wasn’t then,
he is now.
Long lost
professor of religions
respected author
from beck side cottage,
but now
no thanks to weed and wine
buried deep
in my Memory Lane.
Now pushing up the daisies.

But those of us who remain
short time to run
just enough to practise
treading the ceremonial turf
from below
to push up the daisies.

While now,
above ground
we tread warily
lest their spades
are not ready
when our own time comes
to push up the daisies.

To Absent Friends

TO ABSENT FRIENDS

As the distended rollers break
Upon that ocean shore
I think of all the hearts that beat
But now will beat no more.

Friends who were once so close to me
Whose lives with me were one
Who now have lost their lust for life
Lost it, and have gone.

Sadness is no gift to sorrow
But memories linger on
It’s when I watch the ocean’s waves
It’s them I think upon.

Why this should be I do not know
For me there’s no release
It is the breathing of the waves
Confirms our own will cease.

Perhaps it is their constancy,
Their never ending thrust
Confirms our own ephemeral lives
Will end soon, as they must.

Then Will I Sing

Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones (1833-1898) … St.Cecilia – Stained Glass – 2nd Presbyterian Church, Chicago

When time at last has caught its fearful breath
And I have cause to think again of you,
I will return to our far distant past
And then relive those old desires anew.

For when in trepidation I now pray
For health and strength in my remaining years,
Memories flood back of youthful days
When you and I brushed eyes and shed some tears.

Now, when hearts may meet and lips may touch,
And old less supple bodies bond in bliss,
Now, when you give to me your self in love,
Then will I sing and long remember this.

That youth and age together make a life,
Related sides of but a single page.
This truth becomes at last to us apparent,
Allows our hearts in love to re-engage.

Lost Dreams

Burne-Jones … ‘Reclining Woman’

LOST DREAMS

There ought to be a better way of living
To find catharsis in these twilight years,
But I am no misanthrope,
My dreams can give me hope
And help to wipe away my tensions and my tears.

So let me lead you now into my dreamworld,
A land where vanished wishes can come true.
Where life and love and pleasure,
And all those things we treasure,
Will follow from our final rendezvous.

A land where angels sing glad songs of romance,
Where the bells remember chimes they’d long forgot;
Where they now forever ring,
And with those angels sing,
And we at last are happy with our lot.

For my frequent dream is one of youth recurring;
A new start in life to live it once again.
To eliminate the stress,
To start again afresh,
And live my life devoid of stifling pain.

But the place where dreams are stored is fast receding,
A library of books once felt and read.
Now they will never come to life
Before they meet the pruning knife,
And all those thoughts they bred remain unsaid.

Burne-Jones … The Briar Rose – detail