General Waste Comes To Town

‘General Waste’ … Photos – WHB – Surrey, UK, 2017

.

GENERAL WASTE COMES TO TOW

When General Waste first came to town
He brought a squad of others;
They came to clean us up and were
His military brothers.

They stand on corners, pavements edge,
In regimental fashion;
They’re smart and very business-like
And do their job with passion.

Intent on clearing up the streets
Of this, our unkempt town,
These sentinels of conscience stand
And scold us with their frown.

Receptacles of all our litter,
Thriving on our waste;
And if we dare to ignore them
They treat us with distaste.

They’ll tell the world of our disgrace
They’ll make sure we are booked,
And when the final reckoning comes
That won’t be overlooked.

‘General Waste’ … Photos – WHB – Surrey, UK, 2017

Do You Speak Seagull?

‘The Conversation’ … Photo – Tammy – Tenby, South Wales, 1993 by WHB.

SPEAKING SEAGULL

Hello bird

I haven’t seen you here before.

Talk to me

Tell me your story

I wish you could speak to me

Do you speak seagull?

Then you could tell me what you want

I’ve been fishing

You want food, don’t you

I spend my life fishing

I’m sorry, nothing you would like here

And diving of course

Bet you like fish

Can you dive?

And worms?

I was the best diver in my class

Do seagulls eat worms?

And I’m still a beginner

I have got some breadcrumbs

‘Cos I’ve just left school

I’m here on holiday

I’m only two

I’m only seven

I’ve just got all my grown-up feathers

I’m starting big school after the holidays

Better go now

Better go now

See you next year.

See you next year.

I wonder if she really understood me

I wonder if he really understood me

Goodbye … Must fly …

Cheerio … Must go …

NORTH CAPE … A Cinquain

The steep cliff of  NORTH  CAPE  (or Nord Kapp), in Norway, is often referred to as the northernmost point of Europe. There is some contention about this, according to how this is defined.  However, the North Cape is the point where the Norwegian Sea, part of the Atlantic Ocean, meets the Barents Sea, part of the Arctic Ocean.  The midnight sun can be seen here from 14 May to the 31st of July. The sun reaches its lowest point here from 12:14 – 12:24 a.m. during those days.

North Cape is inside the Arctic Circle.  On a visit there in 2002, I took the photograph below of a Mother and Child statue, where the child is pointing Northwards towards the Pole, still over 1000 miles away.

Based on this scene, I wrote the following verse, in the poetic format of a cinquain.

REACH OUT
AT THE NORTH CAPE.
POINTING THE WAY HOMEWARD?
NO; HE’S POINTING TO THE NORTH POLE;
WORLD’S END.

Cinquain: a short, usually unrhymed, poem consisting of twenty-two syllables distributed as 2, 4, 6, 8, 2, in five lines. It was developed by the Imagist poet, Adelaide Crapsey, who was born in 1878, the third child of an Episcopal clergyman. She graduated from Vassar College, returning to her high school boarding school, Kemper Hall, to teach literature and history. A few years later, while teaching a course entitled, “Poetics: A Critical Study of Verse Forms” at Smith College, she began a study of metrics which led to her invention of the cinquain as we know it.

In its simplest dictionary definition, a cinquain is a poem of five lines. Crapsey’s cinquain was more specific, a poem of five lines with a specific syllable count of 2-4-6-8-2, usually iambic. The ideal cinquain for Crapsey was one that worked up to a turn or climax, and then fell back. Similar to the “twist” that often occurs in the final couplet of a sonnet, a cinquain’s “turn” usually occurs during the final, shorter fifth line or immediately before it. Thus, the momentum of a cinquain grows with each subsequent line as another two syllables, usually an iambic foot, is added bringing the poem to a climax at the fourth line, falling back to a two syllable “punch line”.

There are several different forms of the Cinquain.    For more information on this, see the ‘Shadow Poetry’ website at:  Cinquain

DEMOLITION – Man & Boy

Photographs; WHB 2015

DEMOLITION – Man & Boy

What is my joy in destruction?
Why does it give me a kick?
It grants me a sense of elation;
I once thought I was just downright sick.

As a toddler I remember I wanted,
As soon as a tower I’d built,
Just to knock it all over and giggle
Without any feeling of guilt.

Then when I’d taken up Lego,
I’d just love, after building my farm,
To smash it to bits with my mallet;
Didn’t think I was doing it harm.

And when in a History lesson
I said I’d like to have been
One of those men who wrecked churches and abbeys.
 The teacher near ruptured his spleen.

He sent me to see the headmaster,
Saying I must be beyond the pale;
For taking part in such Dissolution
He considered me right off the scale.

They decided I must be a vandal,
And said I would pay for my sins.
Abbeys and shrines were verboten,
I mustn’t wantonly damage such things.

Well, now I’ve left school and I’m happy,
My job suits me down to the ground.
I work hard with great satisfaction,
And no one will push me around.

For now I’m a demolition expert,
I can continue my hobby with pride;
Destruction now is my trade
As on top of a huge truck I ride.

Mechanical shovels and drills,
Excavators and large JCBs,
Bulldozers, cranes and dump trucks,
All these I can manage with ease.

And now that I’m married with children
I watch Joe build towers with his bricks,
Then demolish them with glee and I know
He’s a chip off the old block of tricks.

Thoughts on a Dead Leaf

It fell
Green life
Extinguished
Time passed
Slowly
It diminished
To its scaffolding
Intact beauty still
New life
Surviving
In the skeleton
Beneath the skin
Revealing the grace
Which had upheld
Its existence
Its structure
Naked now
Spine-bold
Ram-rod straight
Not dead now
Nor even dying
Instead
Skin shed
A statement
Of creation’s power
Holding its tendrils
Steady
In firm formation
Awaiting its
Next chapter

Not yet shredded
Not yet dust
This tomography
Call it a CAT scan
Delving into
Nature’s
secret world
Revealing
The truth
Of whence
Its green strength
Derived

Thus
As our own surface
Erodes
Do we achieve
The same beauty?
Do we secrete
Analogous
New life
Beneath the old?
We leaves
Fallen from life’s tree
Shrivelled
Our essence revealed
In our skeletal remains
Proud-structured
Until
The next stage
And eventual
Severance
From what we have been
Transmogrified
To further service
In replenishing
New life forms
Our fruition in
The new spring’s bloom
Blossom and leaves

There has to be beauty
In death
As in life
Decay
Does not doom us to death
Rather
There is a beauty in death
The leaf ceased to be
A leaf
But became
Something else
And its beauty remained
It merely
Continued
Into a transmuted life
Its fate
As our own
To be
Continued existence

For death is but a metaphor
For new life

All photographs . . .  by WHB – 2016

CUPID’S Post Office

At the Rye Automaton Museum, E.Sussex … Photo: WHB-  2005

CUPID’S POST OFFICE

Cupid’s Post Office,
Just one in the land.
Love letters to order
Don’t write it by hand.

From my bottom drawer
You can read it and smile,
Knowing full well she’ll love it,
Her heart you’ll beguile.

Try out my wisdom.
My best epithets
Can be had for one penny.
You’ll have no regrets.

When she gets this missive,
I do guarantee,
You’ll have no complaints,
She’ll be ecstatic, you’ll see.

Your own billet doux
Wouldn’t be half as good.
Try mine for a change Sir,
And show your manhood.

Just imagine the pleasure
Your beloved will take,
And so, just for a penny,
You can end your heart ache.

Thy mirror shews thee
Not more true
Than my fond heart
Reflecteth you.

The 2 images above are of From Victorian Valentine Cards – Photographs: WHB – 1999

THE CANAL HORSE

On the Great Western Canal at Tiverton, Devon . . .  Photo – WHB – 2013
 

THE CANAL HORSE

Sedate
And ponderous
He carries his weight lightly
But without pace
It is summer work
Plying the bank
Subject to the weather
And his master
Apparently contented
But perhaps sad
Would he rather be elsewhere
But what would he know
Of elsewhere
This has been his life
His only life
Since brought into this world
Delivered as a foal by a mother
Who knew only this very same life
Tutored on this very canal bank
Learning the towpath’s bends
Its tricky turns
The track ruts to avoid
The necessary manoeuvres
When hitching up
H is purpose in life
Why else was he brought into this world
He knows his master
Trusts and
Respects him
Always by his side
His every command
Gentle but firm
A tug on the lead
A wary grunt
They tread the canal bank
The towpath to pleasure
Other’s pleasure
His Pilgrim’s Way
The daily round
His common task

On the Great Western Canal at Tiverton, Devon . . . Photo – WHB – 2015

Broken only at the terminus
A half-way respite
By the bridge
A brief uncoupling
A hay bag
A nuzzle
A few photographs
Then the return
The narrow boat his carriage
Its passengers his charges
He carries on
Always carries on
Trundling his life
In peace
In tranquillity
His boat
His harnessed heritage
Disturbing the reeds
And the ducks only
Creating a minor slipstream
Before the end
Disembarkation
Then a brief hiatus
Before the ever echoing pattern
Repeats itself
As do the days
And the months
Until
Darkness descends
And time
Ceases to exist

On the Great Western Canal, Tiverton, Devon . . .  Pen & Wash by WHB – 2013

This canal ride is offered during the Summer months on one of the last Horse-Drawn Barges in Great Britain.  Scheduled rides on the canal boat start and end from the point where the Great Western Canal commences, in Tiverton, East Devon.  Details of what is on offer  at this delightful site and timetable of the canal trips can be found on the website below  . . .

http://www.tivertoncanal.co.uk/floating-cafe-bar

A BBC TV Video of this canal barge experience is also made available via this website

The Applegarth

Guisborough Priory, N.Yorkshire

The APPLEGARTH

When morning
meets my melancholy
I must refocus
dispel my clouds
and reconnect to nature
through her glory

The garth gate invites
pledges enchantment
such memories harboured here
once the cloister garden
of my medieval monastery
now still the repository
of the priory’s peace
ancient orchard
now transformed
but still a place
to rejuvenate the soul
to touch
feel and taste
nature’s serenity

   The morning mist
lingered low
over the once fallow fields
then no longer virgin earth
but become thick with apple trees
and those
long gone
and autumn dormant now
awaiting its wheat-carpeted
summer season

The morning advances
only half-appreciated
until the
the priory arch
proud against the sky
bursts through the mist
into the weak sun’s gaze
the veiled sky
allowing
the gathering sunlight
slowly
to prove its strength
and bring clarity
to a waiting world

And The pathway
its ancient course
 piercing its length
into the shrouded distance
remembrancer now
of those Augustinian brothers
traversing
this ancient orchard

who with such care
tended nature’s gifts
now bare of fruit
but never fruitless
no longer cosseted
by priestly presence
and full of nuanced context still

For me …

The Applegarth
my own memory
of this sanctified place
sings of golden corn
bordering that arrowed path
where also was
the winning post
the last gasp
of those long-past
teenage
distance running races
marking my triumphs
measuring my success
against the countless strides
I had wrenched
from my straining body
to accomplish
to lead the race
the end of endeavours
signifying my own
my personal
accomplishment.

The Applegarth,
a trope
my metaphor
for my life.

Photographs by WHB . . . 2016



 

The ROCK

Triassic Red Rock at Exmouth, Devon … Photograph WHB – 2010

Offcut of the Jurassic coast
Orphan of the distant cliffs
Detached from its mother lode
Now an imposing sentinel
A majestic rock
A Triassic red rock.

Descendant of the Devon Cliffs
Ancestor of a million pebbles
Reliving its life in isolation
Facing the diurnal tides
Confronting Poseidon’s rage

Andromeda’s chains now long cast off
This pedestal of the shoreline
Now serving a valued purpose.

Harbouring shore life
A haven for gulls
Cosseting kelp
Succouring seabirds
Sheltering shellfish
Anchoring limpets
Its periwinkles

Feeding on its algae

Minimally diminishing with every tide
Yet serving its constituency
With resolution.
And promising
Its adherents
A fitting future.

KNOCKERS

In my naivety, I thought knockers were people who knocked at doors. ….

Doors, or so I thought, are knocked on ….

By Postmen
By The Police
By Postwomen

By Meter Readers
By Touters For Trade
By Charity Collectors
By Suspicious  Callers
By Christmas Carollers
By Political Canvassers

By Deliverers  Of Goods
By Beggars and Pleaders
By Children at Halloween
By Subscription Collectors
By Neighbourhood Watchers
By Collectors and  Borrowers
By Salesmen and Saleswomen
By Online Shopping Deliverers
By the Travelling Fish Van Man
By Vendors of Household  Goods
By Proselytisers of Religious Sects
By Kids Playing  Knock Down Ginger
By ‘Round Table’ Collectors at Christmas
By Persons leaving parcels for a Neighbour

BUT . . .

My illusions
were proved to be delusions
when, out browzing,
I came across the following …

My photograph was taken in Rye on the English Channel coast of East Sussex in 2005 . . .  WHB.

So to make the situation worse
I turned at last to verse . . . 

We do have the best knockers in town,
They patrol our street up and down.
If you’re not in good shape
Then you’d better escape,
Or they’ll certainly cause you to frown.

’Cos they ring and they knock twenty times,
Even when you’ve got ‘GO AWAY’ signs,
Saying “You must now leave
Or you’re going to receive
A summons for multiple crimes.”

But then someone pointed it out,
There certainly was cause for some doubt.
As I’m not very clever
I’d made a bad error
Over what this old sign was about.

They said I was most asinine;
I was dim and unable to shine.
To them it was clear
I had no idea
I’d mistaken a word in the sign.

Yes, to put it quite bluntly you see,
I’d boobed over what it could b.e
In my defence
I  thought something else.
I was really naive you’ll agree.

I had  taken the word at face value;
I believe every word these signs say.
I just wasn’t thinking;
Perhaps I’d been drinking;
Never dreamt that they meant it that way.

There was no way I could have guessed;
I  knew not these words were just jests.
If they’d meant to be clear
And were really sincere,
They should NOT have said ‘KNOCKERS’ but ‘CHESTS’.

We do have the best knockers in town,
They patrol our street up and down.
If you’re not in good shape
Then you’d better escape,
Or they’ll certainly cause you to frown.

’Cos they ring and they knock twenty times,
Even when you’ve got ‘GO AWAY’ signs,
Saying “You must now leave
Or you’re going to receive
A summons for multiple crimes.”

But then someone pointed it out,
There certainly was cause for some doubt.
As I’m not very clever
I’d made a bad error
Over what this old sign was about.

They said I was most asinine;
I was dim and unable to shine.
To them it was clear
I had no idea
I’d mistaken a word in the sign.

Yes, to put it quite bluntly you see,
I’d boobed over what it could b.e
In my defence
I  thought something else.
I was really naive you’ll agree.

I had  taken the word at face value;
I believe every word these signs say.
I just wasn’t thinking;
Perhaps I’d been drinking;
Never dreamt that they meant it that way.

There was no way I could have guessed;
I  knew not these words were just jests.
If they’d meant to be clear
And were really sincere,
They should NOT have said ‘KNOCKERS’ but ‘CHESTS’.

I’ll give the last words on this edifying subject to Paul McCartney and ‘WINGS’ . . .
“Someone’s Knockin’ At The Door”  (‘Let ‘Em in’ … 1976) .