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) .

The Grey Lady of Hampton Court

At Hampton Court Palace
One grey Autumn day,
Whilst strolling alone
I wandered astray,
Discovered this phantom,
Too shy to display.

Shroud for a lady, 
Hide her away. 
No one must see her
Lest somebody say,
She’s only a failure, 
She’s long had her day.

But now she is hidden 
And no one can see,
Then no one will question 
Just who she might be. 
They’ll just go on thinking
Perhaps she’s a he.

The fact she is ghostly, 
Clothed in a Shroud, 
Might give them a hint
That she’s not been allowed 
To be seen out in public, 
Detached from the crowd.

For in summer when tickets 
Are hard to come by,
That’s when they’ll release her 
Sustaining the lie.
Produce her in costume 
When darkness is nigh.

The Lady in Grey
As a spirit will glide,
 Patrol the Long Gallery,
Make-up applied,
Intent upon haunting –
A Queen mortified.

So that’s it for the winter, 
Don’t leave her on show.
Come wind and come tempest, 
Come rain or come snow, 
This tourist attraction’s 
The best that I know.

That rival in Scotland,
The fishy old coward,
In a straight contest, 
Its legacy soured,
It cannot compare 
With our Catherine Howard.

ARGUMENTS YARD

Some viewers  may remember that I published some verses a few days ag0 in a blog entitled  ‘Mona Lisa Revisited’ .  The photograph I used, taken by me some time ago (as are the other photographs om this page) in Church Street, Whitby, on the North Yorkshire coast, showed prominently the entrance to one of the town’s well-known ginnels, or Yards, called ‘ARGUMENTS YARD’.

This led me to ponder over the possible derivation of this ancient name for the short dark passageway leading directly down to the north bank of the harbour and the mouth of the River Esk.  The following verses are the result of my deliberations . . .

All this is conjecture;
You don’t need a lecture

But, in doggerel verse,
Which could hardly be worse,

I’ll tell you a tale
Which will make you turn pale.

#   #   #

I tried very hard
To find ‘Arguments Yard’.

At last, when I’d found it,
Suspicion compounded,

I knew it was true;
It was no Avenue.

But a hotbed of squabble,
Of trouble and babble.

#   #   #

For once it befell
In this yard there did dwell

Large families three,
Who could never agree.

The ginnel they lived in,
Dwelt side-by-side in,

Was almost a tunnel
A regular funnel.

Lived so close together
They’d bicker and blether.

Their life was uphill
Without any goodwill.

#   #   #

So as this story goes
These neighbours were foes.

And they started to fight
Over which one was right.

They argued from dawn
From the day they were born,

And when evening had come
They continued the scrum.

All mired with scandals,
Both hoodlums and vandals.

Figures of shame
Who denied any blame.

They argued the toss
And got very cross;

Yelled over the fence;
The noise was intense.

They disturbed passers by
With the oaths they let fly.

Disagreed with each other,
With sister and brother.

Shouted and cursed –
The children were worst.

Each day they’d bicker,
Whilst knocking back liquor.

Complained, moaned and grumbled,
Botched, fudged and bungled.

Bemoaned their existence,
Claimed their subsistence.

Refused to comply,
Or for jobs to apply.

In short it was hell
In that yard to dwell.

And everyone near
Existed in fear.

#   #   #

Move on to the present;
Now, not so unpleasant.

It appears that now
All has sobered somehow.

Yes, there’s nothing more strange
Than how times do change.

I’m assured that now
Things are much more highbrow.

Yes, they’re now avant-garde
Down in Arguments Yard.

In fact, the real derivation of the Yard’s name is much more prosaic.  It is now known to have been named after the Argument, or Argment, family, a well-established Whitby family who lived in this  yard for many years.  The family has been traced back hundreds of years, when they fled to Whitby to escape religious persecution.  Argument is actually an Anglicisation of the Flemish name Argomont.  They were Huguenots, sixteenth century Protestants, who fled Catholic France to avoid persecution and settled in Whitby.

At one time there were two yards of the same name, from this family name Argument.  The yard pictured – off Church Street – is one of the best known, loved and photographed in the town.  These days, more than 80 such named yards still exist in Whitby.  Their origins lie in the town’s mediaeval past.

Arguments Yard seems to have remained  much as it always has been, still intriguing, full of old-world charm, and much more tranquil than is suggested by its name.

MONA LISA REVISITED

MONA  LISA  RECRUDESCENT

When I met her pleading stare
I nearly had a seizure.
A revenant confronted me,
Labelled ‘Mona Lisa’;

I saw her on a street in town,
That enigmatic beauty.
Reduced to begging for a crumb,
That captivating cutie.

A painting from another time
With pallid face and frown;
A legend from another age,
On a street in Whitby Town.

So sad to see her brought to this,
Esteem and beauty stolen,
Bereft of stature, fame, renown.
How are the mighty fallen!

The two photographs were taken by Roland in Yorkshire in October 2016

Aberaeron & Wales – Pen & Wash

Pen and Wash watercolour from the harbour – Aberaeron … WHB – 2013
aberaeron-map

ABERAERON is a small harbour town in Ceredigion, Wales. It lies on the coastline of Cardigan Bay looking out towards the Irish Sea.  It has a small but vibrant harbour usually heavily stocked with pleasure boats of all sizes and shapes. There is much extremely impressive and beautiful Georgian architecture to be seen in the town.  Many of the houses have taken on a distinctive look by being decorated in bright colours as can be seen in my pen and wash painting above. The town has the reputation of being “one of the best examples of a planned township of small scale in Wales”.  Today the town, situated between Aberystwyth and Cardigan, serves as a touring centre for the Cardigan bay area of Wales. The town’s name is from the Welsh meaning “mouth of the River Aeron”. 

I include below images of just a few of my pen and wash sketches and two photographs of scenes in different parts of Wales (titles below).  Click on any one to view a slide show of all the images in larger format . . .

To HEAL the HURT

An Etheree is a 10-line poem in which each line follows a syllable count that matches the line number. For example, the first line has one syllable, the second has two, etc. The poem is unrhymed but has rhythm, meaning, imagery, and sometimes an underlying second meaning.23 May 2017.’

The etheree can take a variety of different forms, but for this,  my first attempt,  I have kept things simple (if that is the correct word for a tricky exercise) and hopefully straightforward.

The photograph was taken by me earlier on the North Sea coast of Yorkshire.

She

Was late

After  nine

Walking slowly

Along the seashore

With only one purpose

Looking for his sand imprints

The staunch assurance in his stride

Resolution  taut as pre-stressed steel

Hoping against hope she’d find him weeping

Manoeuvres In The Snow

Preternatural Manoeuvres In The Snow

Now what is this manoeuvre someone tried out in my drive?

Trying out a galliard, or perhaps more apt a jive?

They say to travel hopefully is better than to arrive;

They’ll be lucky though at this rate to emerge from it alive!

Skulls – A Halloween Meditation

A West Country Skull . . Photo: WHB2021

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!

WANTED – A Good Woman

I photographed this poster prominently displayed in the forrard window of a motor cruiser moored at the mouth of a river on the east coast of Kent, England, in 2009.   For those who are unable to decipher the wording on the poster, I quote it here . . .

WANTED
GOOD
WOMAN
Must Be Able to Clean

Cook, Sew, Dig Worms
and Clean Fish
Must Have Boat 
and Motor
ALSO SEND PICTURE OF

BOAT AND MOTOR

The, presumably tongue-in-cheek, audacity prompted me to write the verses below ...

Wanted!  A Good Woman

Wanted! A pliant good woman
A sturdy strapping lass;
Content to be a willing wife –
One of the servile class.

Someone to meet my every need,
Allow me my own space;
Clean my house, cook. sew and dig
And do it with good grace.

My priorities must be upheld;
I need no self-willed martyr
Who’ll bicker and demand a fee
Each time I tweak her garter.

A bit of brass, willing to share,
That would not go amiss;
I’d give you pocket money too
And from time to time a kiss
.

A woman’s lot is never done
I know that’s what they say,
But after all is said and done
It’ll be worth it for the pay.

You’ll get a home with bed and board,
With a kind, considerate master.
What else in life could a lady ask
When all else now has passed her?

And so to sum up my request,
I need a loving spouse
,
A soul-mate made to serve my needs,
And good about the house.

Someone to moderate my charms,
To make me less unfeeling …

… I don’t know why but no one yet
Has found my job appealing.

VERITY

Verity’ by Damien Hirst, Ilfracombe, Devon … Photograph … WHB – 2015

‘VERITY’ is the name given to a stainless steel and bronze statue created by Damien Hirst, the English artist, entrepreneur, and art collector. He is the most prominent member of the group known as the Young British Artists, who dominated the art scene in the UK during the 1990s.

The 20.25-metre tall sculpture stands on the pier at the entrance to the harbour in Ilfracombe, Devon, looking out over the Bristol Channel towards South Wales.  Hirst lives close to the town. He describes his work as a “modern allegory of truth and justice”.  The statue depicts a pregnant woman holding aloft a sword while carrying the scales of justice and standing on a pile of law books.  Half of the sculpture shows the internal anatomy of the pregnant woman, with the foetus clearly visible. (adapted from Wikipedia)

VERITY

Pregnant,
Opened up, exposed,
Exhibit Number One

I am birth corroborated,
Prying eyes sated,
Privacy crushed

Paraded for the populace
To ponder,
To pity

They ogle,
Excoriate,
Turn witty

Solicitudes are rare;
Their taunts I bear;
Reproofs I must abide

And yet, I am the truth
About how it is
To be free

My brandished threat
Repays the debt
My innocence holds

My stance, defiance,
Thwarts compliance,
Demands a voice

But to keep hope alive,
Live long, survive,
I must be exposed

Must confront
The brutal sea,
The relentless incoming tide

No chance repose;
What end my woes;
Torment inside

My frightened stare
Torches the tides,
Seeking solace

Whilst emblazoned in light
Against the torrid sky
The world gawps

I must bear
The stares
And cry

I am torn apart;
My pain is there
For all to see.

In a world that demands
To know,
To know everything

The truth is there
For all to see,
To verify that I
Am VERITY

Poem by WHB . . . 2015 Copyright

‘Verity’ by Damien Hirst, Ilfracombe, Devon … Photo WHB – 2015