Sea Fever – by John Masefield

(No.56 of my favourite short poems)

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‘Sea Fever’ . . . WHB: Pen & Wash – Sep., 2017

Sea Fever

 

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

 

By John Masefield


 

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‘Sea Fever’ is perhaps the best known of all the poetic works of John Masefield.  Born in Herefordshire, England, in 1878, he was the British poet laureate for 37 years in the middle of the 20th Century until his death in 1967.   As a young man he trained as a merchant seaman, but, in 1895, he deserted his ship when in New York City.  There he worked in a carpet factory before returning to London to write poems, in many of which he wrote about his experiences at sea.

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Ireland – The Dingle Peninsula

 [ Photo Blog #57 ] 

Following on from the photographs of my visit to Killarney and the Mulcross Estate, today’s tour is of the Dingle Peninsular, one of the 3 promontories which jut out into the Atlantic Ocean from the south-west coast of Ireland.
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Map of South West Ireland showing the Dingle Peninsula

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Beach along the southern coast of the Peninsula

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Further along the southern coast with a view to the outlying islands

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Looking eastwards back towards Dingle

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One of the Dingle Peninsula’s many small secluded beaches

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The Dingle Peninsula has many dozens of standing stones such as this menhir beside the coast road.

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. . .  and this menhir further along the coast

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The roadside remains of a one-time occupied croft

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Dingle Slea Head Crucifix – one of many such roadside shrines

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Seagull on the seawall with the Blasket Islands behind

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Sea thrift beside the coast road

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Roadside wild foxgloves at the south-western end of the peninsula

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Let Sleeping Ducks Lie

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Morning on the River Lowman, Devon … Photo: WHB – 2017  ©

 

LET SLEEPING DUCKS LIE

Pillowed heads
nestled
self-cushioned
oblivious
to my interference
in their down time

Dead to the busy world
and to my stare
my attempt
to disturb their lives
with my own

Our only mutual assurance
the comfort
of another sunrise
another day
to forage
to survive
to face
new concerns
different uncertainties

 The inbuilt plight
of all creation
fortified only
by a will
to endure
to survive
and thrive

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VAN GOGH by Mervyn Peake

(No.55 of my favourite short poems)
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Mervyn Peake (1911 – 1968) … Self-Portrait

VAN GOGH   . . .  by Mervyn Peake

Dead, the Dutch Icarus who plundered France
And left her fields the richer for our eyes.
Where writhes the cypress under burning skies,
Or where proud cornfields broke at his advance,
Now burns a beauty fiercer than the dance
Of primal blood that stamps at throat and thighs.
Pirate of sunlight! and the laden prize
Of coloured earth and fruit in summer trance
Where is your fever now? and your desire?
Withered beneath a sunflower’s mockery,
A suicide you sleep with all forgotten.
And yet your voice has more than words for me
And shall cry on when I am dead and rotten
From quenchless canvases of twisted fire

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Wheat Field With Cypresses, 1889 by Vincent Van Gogh

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Northumberland – Bamburgh

[ Photo Blog #56 ]

The coast of Northumbria on the North-East of England bordering with Scotland is atmospheric and highly impressive.  It was described by Janet Street Porter on ITV’s ‘Britain’s Best View’ as having ‘a coastline ravaged by nature and steeped in history.  There’s a story round every single corner … you’re not just looking at a view, you’re standing in the footsteps of kings, and all on one of the most dramatic coastlines nature has to offer.’ 

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I have visited many times, usually on the way to or from my tours of Scotland.  For me, one of the highlights of a visit to this part of the country is the small town of BAMBURGH. The following photographs I took there in 2003 on one of these visits when I stayed in this historic town for several days.

Bamburgh is a stunningly attractive small town within the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.   In fact it is even perhaps just a village, with a population of only about  450.  It is dominated by its magnificently imposing Castle, once the seat of the former Kings of Northumbria, that can be seen for miles around.  It would be hard not to be impressed by the sheer size of the Castle and there is so much to tell about its long and amazing history.  On the seaward side of the castle and town there are impressive stretches of pure golden sandy beaches with rolling sand dunes and views across the sea to both the Holy Island of Lindisfarne and to the Farne Islands.   The town also houses a museum dedicated to its great heroine, Grace Darling.

To read the story of Grace Darling and of how her heroism caught the attention of the Victorian public, click on this link . . .   The Story Of Grace Darling

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Bamburgh Castle from the North Sea shore

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Looking eastwards towards the castle from the town

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The defensive landward side walls of Bamburgh Castle in the evening sun

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The seaward walls of Bamburgh Castle from the seashore

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Looking north to the castle across the coastline dunes

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The beach of the North Sea at Bamburgh

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Looking eastwards across the North Sea from the sand dunes

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Driftwood marker on Bamburgh beach

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The Bamburgh Sandman (See my earlier blog of October 29th 2016 at: The SANDMAN   )

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This elaborate cenotaph commemorates the life of the early 19th Century lifeboat heroine, Grace Darling, who is buried nearby.

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Bamburgh rooftops and castle battlements outlined against the rising sun

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The Castle at Sunrise 

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Sunrise over the North Sea from Bamburgh

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Bamburgh Castle . . . Pen and Wash – WHB:  2014   ©

 

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The Isle Of Wight

[ Photo Blog #54 ]

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A photographic trip today to England’s delightful off-shore Isle of Wight, set, at its shortest distance, just 3 miles off the southern coast in the English Channel.    In size, the island is approximately 25 by 13 miles, and had a population in 2010 of 140,500.   The photographs below were taken by me some while ago – during the lovely summer of 2003.
The island is known particularly for its beaches and seafront promenades such as those at Ryde, Shanklin, Sandown and south-facing Ventnor.  Dinosaur remains and fossils have been found in several areas.  At the island’s westernmost point, The Needles are 3 huge, white chalk rocks, with a nearby 19th-century lighthouse positioned to warn approaching shipping.

 

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Alum Bay … The cliff chair lift sets off for the beach

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. . . approaching the cliff top

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. . . descending to the beach

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. . . where it ends on a jetty extending into the sea.

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The Needles from the cliffs above Alum Bay

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A closer view of The Needles and the Lighthouse

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The Beach and Battery Inn at Seaview on the island’s East Coast

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Outside the Battery Inn

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Seafront chalets at Puckpool near Ryde 

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The axeman earns his keep at the Waxworks at Brading – now, I believe, closed.

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Queen Victoria’s holiday escape – Osborne House on the island’s east coast.

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View from Osborne House eastwards to the Solent

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On the south-facing beach at Ventnor

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Blackgang Chine – an area subject to frequent coastal erosion.

 

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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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Killarney

[ Photo Blog #54 ]

One of the highlights of my visit to the South West of Ireland in 2003 was a tour by horse-drawn Jaunting (or jaunty) Car of Killarney’s Muckross House and gardens and of the world famous Killarney National Park and its lakes and mountains.

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A still extant relic of the reign of Queen Victoria

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This nineteenth century Victorian mansion is set against the stunning beauty of Killarney National Park.

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The jaunty car taxi rank

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By Killarney’s Lakes and Fells

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A pause to take in the view

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The Ruins of Killegy Chapel

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In the graveyard of Killegy Chapel

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Wild flowers in the Graveyard overlooking the lake

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Tree growing inside the roofless nave of the chapel

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The roofless chapel

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Close-up view of a memorial – now open to the sky.

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Return to Mucross House

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Ode To Mount Felix

(No.52 of my favourite short poems) 

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A community stitch project has recently been completed and put on display to commemorate the centenary of the Mount Felix Hospital which, throughout World War 1 and afterwards for several years served, as a military hospital in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, for soldiers from New Zealand wounded at Gallipoli and in later battles.    The project is in the form of a tapestry of 44 panels stitched by community groups ranging from primary schools to experienced embroiderers.   By the end of WW1 the hospital, in conjunction with another nearby hospital, had nearly 1,900 beds and some 27,000 patients had been treated during the operational lives of these two hospitals.

One of the panels, pictured below, features a lovely poem composed during his time in this hospital by one of the patients, name unknown,  who was stunned by the beauty and tranquility of his surroundings after experiencing the horrors of war.  I give photographs above and below of the tapestry on which this verse has been embroidered.

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North Cape – Nordkapp

[ Photo Blog #52 ]

Nordkapp (English: North Cape) is in Finnmark County of Norway.  It was long claimed as the northernmost point of the continent of Europe. In fact it is the furthest north that one can drive in Europe but, by less than a mile, it is not quite the most northerly point.  The administrative centre of the area is in the town of Honningsvag, where the local population is approximately 3,500.   Nordkapp is a splendid spot, weather permitting, from which to see the midnight sun.  It is normal for about 200,000 tourists to  visit there annually during the two to three months of summer,  the main tourist attraction being the splendid views from the North Cape itself.  The North Cape first became famous when the English explorer Richard Chancellor sailed round it in 1553 while attempting to find a sea route through the North-east Passage. Except for the first photograph, the photographs are from my own visit there in 2002. 

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North Cape itself

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Approaching Honningsvag from the sea

 

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Honningsvag – town and harbour

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Traditional reindeer hide tent – set up for the tourists 

 

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Reindeer and boy in traditional costume

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Reindeer

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View of the summit of Nordkapp

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The summit of the cape has a number of sculptures and statues.

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Pointing towards the North Pole

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Signpost giving the Cape’s coordinates

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View from the Cape to the west

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View north towards Svalbard and the North Pole