My Problem Age  

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WHB – 2017

The PROBLEM of AGE

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Am I at a problem age?

. . . OR

Do I have an old age problem?

. . . OR

Am I just part of an age-old problem? 

 

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Age is a problem, I’ve no doubt,
And one that can’t be solved.
Since time began
We know that Man
Has gradually evolved.

So, given that the speed of change
Is constantly advancing,
Why cannot we
Forever be
Subject to life enhancing?

It’s certainly an age-old problem,
Not just one of old age.
An anagram,
A new life plan,
Waiting to be assuaged.

I’m at a problem age right now
At the age of eighty two.
I’m obdurate,
I agitate,
And no one tells me what to do.

And when I get to One-O-Two
Who knows what I’ll be like?
I might begin
To live in sin,
Or start a hunger strike.

Time will tell, the saying goes,
But I may prove that wrong,
For when, at last,
My die is cast,
I still might jog along.

I might look weird, I will be odd,
I no doubt will be bald.
My old age pension
Won’t get a mention,
My workings might have stalled.

But I could prove you all quite wrong,
While still an ageing codger.
Surprise you all,
A new wife install,
Or introduce a lodger.

If I continue the way I’m going
The problem will be, you see,
Those other folk
Who I’ll provoke
To become old like me.

 

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The SELFIE

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THE SELFIE

 

Self-conscious
images
abound.

We meet them
everywhere
around.

They’re soon
discarded
and replaced

by the next
one from
the database.

Narcissus
being ever
eager,

keen for
yet another
teaser.

Crying for
your strict
attention,

I’m all yours,
full of
invention.

An endless stream
of captured
moments

containing
crazed and daft
components.

Followed up
in quick
succession

by yet
another
indiscretion.

Let’s celebrate,
our life
is dull.

We need to
record it all
– in full

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What The Sea Discards

Detectorist2bWhat The Sea Discards:   Life with a Beach Metal Detector

The sea still surged,
The storm still raged,
The wind incessant,
A beast uncaged.

Amidst the tempest,
Calm, intent,
Body taut
And forward bent,

Moves this figure
With steady tread,
Seeking gold,
His daily bread.

Sift the shingle
Trawl the shore,
Seashore scavenger
Beach troubadour.

Autolycus, his
Ancient counterpart,
Plying his trade
With bleeding heart,

To find amongst
The sea’s debris
His longed for love,
Life’s golden key.

Something to clutch
Dredged from life’s tide;
A token wish,
Beatified.

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Photographs by WHB:  On a West Sussex beach – October 2017   ©

 

 

Spuggy Hood

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‘Spuggy’ … WHB – pen & ink – 2017  ©

 

SPUGGY HOOD

 

Spuggy Hood is in my class,
A stocky, spotty, snotty lass.
We all take care with her about,
A dangerous friend to have. No doubt.

Her hair is tangled, mousy brown,
Her face it wears a constant frown.
As for her dress, well it is awesome,
Brighter than the leaves in autumn,

But this is just because of jam,
Of bits of grease and chunks of ham.
Everything that she has eaten
Seems her cardigan to sweeten.

At lunchtime in the school canteen,
Regardless of the day’s cuisine,
Don’t wish to be dog in a manger,
But, sit near Spuggy, you’re in danger.

Whilst we try to eat our lunches,
She grinds her teeth, she chomps and munches;
Dribbles, snivels, slobbers and slurps,
With many gulps, and grunts, and burps.

She doesn’t seem to care at all,
Big and fat, built like a wall,
Barging her way around the room
Whilst roaring with a sonic boom.

She takes no prisoners, has no friends,
Kindness pays no dividends;
Of her classmates she’s oblivious
Her behaviour really is perfidious

Chews her pencil, sucks her thumb,
Picks her nits, scratches her bum.
Never ever is she good,
She’d show her knickers if she could.

She likes to sit and pick her spots,
Her fingers covered in ink blots.
Blows her nose on toilet paper . . .
 
. . .  I hate, I hate, I hate, I hate ‘er.

 

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Death Is An Unmapped Sea

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Photo:  ‘On Chesil Beach’ by WHB – 2007   ©

 

Death is an Unmapped Sea

Day dawns and life now reasserts its sway;
Sleep ends and dreams now slowly fade away,
Leaving behind the gains which I thought real.
Reality and the sun the truth reveal,
That time has shattered youth and brought old age.
Shall I depart midst over-arching rage,
Those aspirations which I held most dear,
Abandoned now as hope gives way to fear?
Now that I’m hurt, unheard and unfulfilled,
Can I refute those truths my life distilled,
And face what unmapped seas fate holds in store,
Without a faith to bear me to the shore?

 

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Roger McGough – ‘Poem for a dead poet’

(No.63 of my favourite short poems)

I have published one of Roger McGough’s poem previously in this series.  You will find it by clicking on this link:   ‘Vinegar’ . . .   Below is another of his poems which I very much enjoy, this time a short elegy for an unnamed poet.  Written in a simplistic style, the poem nevertheless, with both wit and precision, goes straight to the heart of what a poet does and what s/he seeks to be.

Poets Corner

‘Poem for a dead poet’

He was a poet he was.

A proper poet.

He said things

that made you think

and said them nicely.

He saw things

that you or I

could never see

and saw them clearly.

He had a way

with language.

Images flocked around

him like birds.

St. Francis, he was,

of the words. Words?

Why he could almost make ‘em talk.

 

Roger McGough

 

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Mock Battle

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MOCK  BATTLE

When Normans fought
As Normans did
Upon their mighty battlefields
When once upon a medieval time
Warriors vied in combat
Life was hard
Was short
Was brutal
Living was for the nearly dead
And death was bones amongst the grass

Now we are pleased to read our books
Our Idylls
To watch staged tourneys
Of legend
chivalry
of honour
and Medieval Romance
With little sense of cut and thrust
of jab and slash
of block and parry
a jousting game
bereft of passion
foam-tipped swords
and rubber blades
plywood shields
and plastic helms

men of steel
of acrid smoke
and blood-red trenches
barbed wire and bursting shells
we might know how you felt
on the fields of Passchendaele
the trenches of Mons

Verdun and Arras
The beaches of Dunkirk and Guam

If only we
And these toy soldiers
Shared the hurt
And owned the blame
Of those who gave
Their all for victory

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09.Arundel (48)

The photographs were taken by me during a mock medieval battle display by modern-day enthusiasts of the period.  This was presented on the top of the giant keep of Arundel Castle, West Sussex, on my recent visit there in October.

 

 

Arundel Castle, West Sussex, U.K.

Arundel is an ancient town situated on the River Arun in West Sussex, England.  Its castle, massive and dominant in the landscape, dates from the 11th Century, although considerably altered and added to since that time.

Arundel Castle has undergone many restorations and extensions since it was first built in the year following the Norman Invasion of England in 1066.  It was officially  established by Roger de Montgomery on Christmas Day 1067.   By the grace of William the Conqueror, he was the first to hold the earldom of Arundel.   The castle has remained in the possession of his descendants ever since and is now the home of the Duke of Norfolk, who is the Earl Marshal and Hereditary Marshal of England.  The current duke is Edward Fitzalan-Howard, 18th Duke of Norfolk.

My photographs, featured below, are amongst those I took on a recent visit there in October 2017.

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Arundel, showing its position just a few miles inland from the English Channel and about 65 miles from London.

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Showing how the castle position dominates the town and the surrounding area

 

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Looking up to the massive southern wall of the castle

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The Castle’s Western Gateway

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Part of the extensive castle gardens, looking towards Arundel’s Roman Catholic Cathedral

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The more private part of the castle where the present Duke of Norfolk lives

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Further view of the gardens

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The Root Garden, planted with the upturned roots of trees lost in the great 1987 Storm

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It was pumpkin time in the castle vegetable gardens, and Halloween was approaching

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A medieval montage within the castle keep

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An important 12th Century visitor to the Castle

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A re-enactment of 12th Century knights in battle

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More Norman knights

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A view of the River Arun and its bridge at Arundel after several days of rain

 

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Rainer Maria Rilke -‘The Panther’

 

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‘The Panther’ … Pen & Wash – WHB: 2017

The Panther 

His vision, from the constantly passing bars,
has grown so weary that it cannot hold
anything else. It seems to him there are
a thousand bars; and behind the bars, no world.

As he paces in cramped circles, over and over,
the movement of his powerful soft strides
is like a ritual dance around a center
in which a mighty will stands paralyzed.

Only at times, the curtain of the pupils
lifts, quietly … An image enters in,
rushes down through the tensed, arrested muscles,
plunges into the heart and is gone.

Rainer Maria Rilke

TIME – A Sonnet

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‘Head of Adam’ Copy in Pencil of Michelangelo’s painting in the Sistine Chapel. Vatican City, Rome … by WHB -1981

The dust of borrowed time 

Has settled on my soul 

Clogging my receptors, 

Taking further toll

On my retreating days 

Aware as I am now 

How limited my gaze

Which cannot tell me how

Much latitude I have

How bad will be the weather

My seasons tell my stories 

Now all have come together 

Time reaches out to garner me

I’m handing in my history’s key. 

 

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