The Wheel Bed

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Tyring Platform or Wheel Bed

The Wheel Bed

The wood-burn tang remains,
purpose chosen
elm, oak and ash,
a pungent memory
burnt into my history;
childhood re-visited.

Metal rim fired,
it’s molten circle
beaten into flaky orange ring,
before,
from the flaming furnace, 
tongs at arms’ length, 
cast iron wrought and shaped, 
the new cart wheel
boldly borne
to the fitting-bed, 
its iron collar
to be burnt into place.

 
Then, 
ice cold water on fiery iron
sizzles, 
splash and spurt, 
heat relayed and remembered, 
felt and smelt, 
rooted in my molten memories.

Cold contracted, 
cooled into the tightest of fits, 
road ready, 
task worthy, 
winter prepared
and good to go. 

Another hole in the farmer’s pocket;
Another meal for the smith’s family;
Another tick of my life’s clock.

The vital wheels of forever – 
wood, iron, fire, water,
turning, as cogs
dependent each on each,
as carter, wheelwright, smith, farmer, 
primitive, elemental, 
part of my story
… and of me.

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Those who are familiar with my previous writing may recall my upbringing as the son of the village blacksmith. As such, I often watched my father, with hammer on anvil, create both large and small tyres of heated iron. I would look on in awe as, on a huge shaped ring of thick iron, the wheel-bed or platform, the iron tyre would be burned on to the wooden rim of a cartwheel, allowing the contraction of the iron on cooling to bind the wheel to the wood of the wheelwright’s frame.  Few such iron-wheeled carts remain in use.

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Ralph Roister Doister

 

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Ralph Roister Doister was a bit of a wenching lad
Lived in Tudor London with his dear old dad
Braggart soldier, doomed to fail, upstart braggart and a cad.

His story, our first comedy,
Nick Udall gave it birth;
Joyfully pleasing London folk
With merry quips and mirth.

Mumblecrust and Talkapace
Featured in this play
Raucous, Fun and fluffy –
‘Twas the sixteenth century way.

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See the Wikipedia entry for more on  Ralph Roister Doister 

Ralph Roister Doister is a sixteenth-century play by Nicholas Udall, which was once regarded as the first comedy to be written in the English language.

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‘Death’ . . . W.B.Yeats

[  # 98 of My Favourite Short Poems  ]

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This poem, ‘Death’, by W.B.Yeats (1865 – 1939} is one of his shortest.   It attempts to contrast the death of of animals, who do not possess such a concept, with the centrality, the significance and the certitude of what death means in the experience of all human beings.   Yeats wrote this poem in 1929 and published it in his 1933 collection, ‘The Winding Stair and Other Poems’. 

Death

Nor dread nor hope attend
A dying animal;
A man awaits his end
Dreading and hoping all;
Many times he died,
Many times rose again.
A great man in his pride
Confronting murderous men
Casts derision upon
Supersession of breath;
He knows death to the bone –
Man has created death.

 

Author: William Butler Yeats

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‘Trees’ . . . Joyce Kilmer

[  # 99 of My Favourite Short Poems  ]

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Tree Roots at Claremont Gardens, Surrey – WHB   ©

 

Trees

By: Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

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Joyce Kilmer (born as Alfred Joyce Kilmer; December 6, 1886 – July 30, 1918) was an American writer and poet mainly remembered for a short poem titled “Trees” (1913), which was published in the collection Trees and Other Poems in 1914. Though a prolific poet whose works celebrated the common beauty of the natural world as well as his Roman Catholic religious faith, Kilmer was also a journalist, literary critic, lecturer, and editor. While most of his works are largely unknown, a select few of his poems remain popular and are published frequently in anthologies. Several critics—including both Kilmer’s contemporaries and modern scholars—have disparaged Kilmer’s work as being too simple and overly sentimental, and suggested that his style was far too traditional, even archaic. Many writers, including notably Ogden Nash, have parodied Kilmer’s work and style—as attested by the many parodies of “Trees”.

At the time of his deployment to Europe during World War I, Kilmer was considered the leading American Roman Catholic poet and lecturer of his generation, whom critics often compared to British contemporaries  G.K.Chesterton (1874–1936) and Hilaire Belloc (1870–1953). He enlisted in the New York National Guard and was deployed to France with the  69th Infantry regiment (the famous “Fighting 69th”) in 1917. He was killed by a sniper’s bullet at the Second Battle of the Marne in 1918 at the age of 31. He was married to Aline Murray, also an accomplished poet and author, with whom he had five children.

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I Am Roland

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Statue of Roland at Metz railway station, France.

I AM ROLAND

I am Roland 
or I have become him
created the myth of Mr Keld
opportunity taken 
I have procured my host’s mind 
now an alien presence
absorbed into this foreign body
diverting thoughts 
rebuilding a past 
guessing at a further future 
a variant stated truth 
inhabiting a different reality
masking neutrality
approval seeking
in a subsumed persona
a manufactured myth
ambushed by his muse
Roland of Roncevaux
reconvened
brandishing Durendal
to fight new battles
forever a mask
behind which to hide 
a second rate hero
his fable exposed
another fiction
masquerading as truth

 

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What’s In A Name? . . . 3 Limericks

whats in a name

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THREE LIMERICKS

Aloysius Archibald Ash

Was considered exceedingly brash

When he said to his mater

You’re getting like pater

I especially like your moustache.

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Mister Horatio Hess

Lived his whole life under stress

When he tried to slow down

His continuous frown

Meant his face was a permanent mess

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Mister Hieronymus Bosch

Never thought he’d be posh

But his depiction of Hell

Went down very well

And it earned him a great deal of dosh

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‘Mirror, Mirror’ – by Spike Milligan

[ # 97 of My Favourite Short Poems ]

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Spike Milligan (1918 – 2002)

Yes, another poem by Spike Milligan, that arch-Goon. This one, however, shows another side to his poetry. Here, he shows that he is quite capable of being tender and is able to give us such a gentle and gracious poem. Recognising that the blind boy sees, not what is on the mirror’s surface, but what his own senses tell him is the true nature of the ‘spring-tender’ girl.

MIRROR, MIRROR – by Spike Milligan

A young spring-tender girl
combed her joyous hair
‘You are very ugly’ said the mirror.
But,
on her lips hung
a smile of dove-secret loveliness,
for only that morning had not
the blind boy said,
‘You are beautiful’?

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‘A Vow’. . . by Wendy Cope

[  # 96 of My Favourite Short Poems  ]

Vows

A poem by Wendy Cope, who, in her own down-to-earth and honest style presents a non-traditional version of the marriage vows, one with greater honesty than any more conventional approach to the promises and commitments of marriage.

It may be remembered that Wendy Cope once rebuked our poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, for agreeing to write a poem to celebrate Prince William’s marriage to Kate Middleton.  This poem confirms her views on such matters by taking a common-sense view of the marriage vows.

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I cannot promise never to be angry;
I cannot promise always to be kind.
You know what you are taking on, my darling –
It’s only at the start that love is blind.

And yet I’m still the one you want to be with
And you’re the one for me – of that I’m sure. 
You are my closest friend, my favourite person,
The lover and the home I’ve waited for.

I cannot promise that I will deserve you
From this day on. I hope to pass that test.
I love you and I want to make you happy.
I promise I will do my very best.

By Wendy Cope 

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As I Grow Old

Father William

AS  I  GROW  OLD

As I grow old
So I become bold

No more restrictions 
Disallowed contradictions

Youth brought its gaucheness 
Implacable faultless

Taking for granted 
Entitlement implanted

But age, ah the pleasure, 
Getting the measure 

Of life in its dotage
Foregoing all rampage 

Now felt understanding
All pressure withstanding

Now my time has turned
Rights I have earned

Taken life’s bites
Its end in my sights

I’ve come to a time
When the next world is mine

Forgetting, forgiving,
Poetically living

No longer the dread
Of just wishing I’d said

For in verse yet unsung
I know what I’ve done

Brought to fruition
A lifetime’s ambition

And for ever for me
Life’s summation, its key. 

 

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