Each day The rising sun chases the moon away To hide its limpid light From the brightness of day. Cowed in its lair Within the darkness Of its sylvan hideaway, Preferring to lie With the leaves And squirrels And, as Clytie, Watch the skies, Following Helios’s chariot, Gazing as he Arcs the heavens, Jealous of his power, Fearful of his revenge Were she ever to show her face In his presence. Ever allowing her nemesis To hold sway Over the new day, Commanding the attention of the world And continuing his journey; The dominant presence In the cerulean sky.
When is the moon not a moon? … When it’s the sun in a circular mirror.
The three photographs are of a reflection in a window of daylight, itself reflected in a circular mirror and back onto the glass of the window. All photographs by me – March 2017 … Roland (WHB)
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
What better encapsulates Life’s end Dust to bone In resolution IlAnticipated Never remembered Indescribable experience Expressed in an image
In memoriam Deferring to Absent Guests I give you The Skull beneath the skin The Quick extolling The Dead A cadaverous resurrection Memento More Become Death’s Head Where Is Thy Sting? Heads You Lose Tails? – I win Bone Dry Let Us. Pray. All Bone – No Meat Jolly Roger – Old Codger Jammy Dodger Brolly Bodger Death’s Sting Is corpsing And, pared to the Bone, Becomes Life’s Detritus Leftover leftovers Smile Of The Devil Halloween’s halo All Done and Dusted Life’s slipstream Dracula The Goth Moonshine pale Reborn as Life’s Dust What Remains Only the Death Mask Wool Skull To numb skull Skullduggery again Rebirthing as Cranium geranium Bonehead!
This bridge, in a traditional Pack Horse shape, has remained intact straddling the River Esk near the moorland village of Glaisdale, in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, for 400 years. The village is about ten miles inland from Whitby, where the River Esk flows into the North Sea. It is known as Beggar’s Bridge, and was built in 1619, by Tom Ferris, a local man, son of a poor moorland sheep farmer. Having been turned down as a suitable suitor for his love, Agnes, by her wealthy land-owning father, Tom vowed to seek his fortune and to one day return to claim Agnes’ for his wife. After many adventures at sea, Tom returned, now a rich man, married Agnes, and prospered, to such an extent that he eventually became the Lord Mayor of Hull. The bridge, it is said, was erected by Tom as a memorial to his wife, and as a means for future lovers to cross the river without having to brave its often flooded waters. The story, as it has been passed down, is a mix of fact and fiction. The basic facts are essentially true, but the story, has become a local legend and has, no doubt been embellished over the course of time.
I have tried my hand at re-telling this story in a simple and traditional ballad style, the results of which efforts I give below . . .
THE BALLAD OF BEGGAR’S BRIDGE
He lived beside the river Esk In a fair delightful dale His story I must tell you now A truly stirring tale.
Tom loved a lass of high estate It was not meant to be For she was of the Manor born A lowly lad was he.
Her father disapproved the match Tom was of lowly birth No land, no money, no position, Of very little worth.
But their shared love was sound and solid So secretly they met. They shared their passions willingly But always under threat.
Poor Tom was restless and intent To run away to sea; He held fast to the thoughts that stirred Inside him to be free.
He knew one day he’d win his bride, He would not be gainsaid; Beyond this dale there was a world Where fortunes could be made.
So one dark night he set off late To wish Agnes farewell To promise to return for her To ever with her dwell.
She lived beside the river too But on the other side. He therefore had to swim across He would not be denied.
The Esk just then was in full spate It swirled along the dale. It almost took Tom’s life that night He knew he must prevail.
With strength of ten he forged a path Across the raging stream; He dragged his aching body out As if within a dream.
With his goodbyes Tom gave his word That some day he’d return; And Agnes gave her solemn oath She’d wait for him in turn.
Tom took himself to Whitby town And soon with Drake joined battle; Against that Spanish fleet he fought Saw off the invading rabble.
A rover in West Indies then And piracy his game. Plunder and pillage gave him wealth And brought a kind of fame.
He felt that now he could return To claim his promised bride; Confront her father without fear, With new found hope and pride.
And so to Glaisdale Tom returned His roving days now past. True to her word Agnes rejoiced, Her hopes fulfilled at last.
They married soon and lived in bliss, Or so the story goes. Tom grew in wealth, in fame, in power, Commanding all he chose.
Throughout the north he garnered fame His name grew ever bigger. Lord Mayor of Hull he then became, Now a respected figure.
And when his Agnes died at last Their story he declared, Would with a bridge over the Esk With all the world be shared.
A bridge to join the river’s banks To help new lovers’ trysts; A bridge secure from spate and flood Which to this day exists.
The reason it’s called Beggar’s Bridge No one is very sure. ‘Tis thought was done to prompt us all That Tom was once so poor.
She emanates wistfulness melancholy, sorrow bound to her rock out of sight of her sea. Andromeda’s prison awaiting her Perseus.
She thinks of the sea, beseeching the ocean, to roll in and take her to wash her away to be lost in the waves to swirl with the kelp in that pellucid world in those welcoming depths to join the white horses to laze in the rock pools bask on the corals where once were her friends
No coteries here no sisters, no mermen, no one to favour her – offspring or lovers. That whirlpool which bred her the spray which had bathed her sequestrated and gone now no longer her milieu.
Is this always and ever is this life’s stricture retribution for what? For loving her kingdom her aquatic birthright? Or for being in form not fish, fowl nor fiend?
For living a life half tide-borne, half earth-child, hermaphrodite, epicene, ambiguous, undefined, a shadowy being, crippled, malformed?
Her joy now – the sunlight, the breeze and the dew the song of the seagull the far sigh of the sea.
In the verses below, I attempt to express Clytie’s plight when she finds her love for the Son God, Helios, rejected, and she is committed to watch his daily flight across the heavens in his winged chariot . Eventually she is transformed into a sunflower or heliotrope , condemned for ever to follow the sun’s movements across the sky.
C L Y T I E
As dusk takes over from the day I stand on Helios’ shore and weep. Light for my soul, Lust for my life; These no more can I strive to keep.
Yet there is hope because the night Is followed by expectant day. The sun will rise With hope intact, And I’ll revive my destined way.
The languid sun will lift at dawn Over the shimmering tranquil sea. It is my dreams, My Holy Grail, And promises new hopes to me.
The sun renews its daily task. As Clytie, I still strive to meld Lovers’ aubade, Their serenade. With this till dusk my life is held.
Time’s chariot, its path I trace; Helios arcs across the sky. Till evening ends In blood red gore, And once again I die.
But then again the cycle breaks When dawn extends to dusk its kiss. It’s carmine clinch, Crimson caress, Herald again life’s feud with bliss.