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

The Sandman

THE  SANDMAN

The sandman looms

long and low in the westerly sun

on the evening shore

treading his beach

with dedicated feet

an image hunter

heir of Autolycus

searching

 for Nature’s hidden ornaments

probing with his stick

revealing the sand crabs

tempting the tide to turn

and wash away his presence

leaving no imprint

only a fleeting glance

a captured instant

of memory

of another world

arcane and mystical

beneath the sand

before the glimpse

releases him

and he moves on

into the dying day.

The Sandman was spotted on the beach beside Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland,UK, in 2003 …
Photo and sketch …  WHB

Love Is . . .

Photograph . . . Surrey 2016 . . .  WHB.

MY INITIAL DIAGNOSIS

WAS CIRRHOSIS OR FIBROSIS,

BUT MY GNOSIS BEING HYPNOSIS,

THEN TO REACH APOTHEOSIS

WE NEED MUTUAL SYMBIOSIS.

You may recognise that the opening line of my verse above was also a line in a popular song of 1960,  ‘Goodness Gracious Me’, sung as a duet by Sophia Lauren and Peter Sellers.

The Man In The Iron Mask

Photos . . . WHB – Canterbury

THE IRON MASK

by Sian Napier

snapier@thekmgroup.co.uk

The huge mask which stood outside Canterbury’s Marlowe Theatre from 2003 until it was demolished in 2009 has returned.

Bulkhead, to give it its real name, was moved back to the theatre in The Friars on Friday but now stands by the river in the newly-created outdoor seating area.

The mask is the work of sculptor Rick Kirby and arrived in the city as part of a sculpture festival called Blok.

It was so popular that Canterbury council bought it and had it installed by the old theatre’s forecourt where it stayed until the Marlowe was pulled down.

It was then removed to the council offices in Military Road where it remained outside until Friday.

Marlowe Theatre director Mark Everett said: “It’s wonderful that the Marlowe mask has returned to its rightful place and it was great to see it settling in to its new home by the riverside.

“The mask was always very popular with theatregoers and we know people will be delighted to see it return.”

THE IRON MASK . . . Poem by WHB

The authors in these lines of verse

Are from a distant time

From ages past into the mists

Of tragedy and rhyme.

Dumas was steeped in history

He set himself the task

Of counts and musketeers to write,

The Man in the Iron Mask

Kit Marlowe’s plays were tragedies

Of complex anguished beings

Of Tamburlaine and Faust he wrote

Portrayed their tortured feelings.

The Mask is that of Tragedy

The Greeks performed their dramas

It brings to mind Marlowe’s great themes

Which glimpse life’s endless traumas.

To me this linkage then arose

Between the two famed authors

Take or leave it for what it’s worth

It’s what this conceit proffers.

THE INTERIM FIRE ESCAPE


Found behind my hotel in Somerset, UK, in 2010 … Photograph – WHB

For want of a staircase a ladder will do,
Perhaps when the fire starts there won’t be a queue.
Such was the thinking by those in the know;
For a four star hotel this came as a blow.

To all we old codgers who can’t climb up stairs
This came as a setback, to add to our cares.
To find our retreat cut off in such fashion
Was a palpable blow that sent us all ashen.

So we went to reception describing our plight.
We were told not to worry, things would fast be put right.
A new lift had been ordered to be installed soon.
When I asked them just when they said ‘Maybe next June’.

But don’t worry sir, we’ve got adequate cover.
Our waiter’s a big lad and so is his brother.
Between them they’ll see that you come to no harm,
And besides we’ve just installed a new smoke alarm.

The Husband Creche

In 2010, whilst visiting Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, the largest town (about 8,000 people)  in the Outer Hebrides, I came across McNeill’s Bar, or, as it chose to describe itself at the time,  ‘McNeill’s Husband Creche’.

I composed the following verse in recognition of the establishment’s attempt to provide succour and support for its wedded male population in their hours of need.  

Just leave your husband here, my dear.

You know he’s feeling rather queer.

Yes, park him in a cosy pub

While you go off and buy the grub.

He’s a babe if truth be told,

He will be as good as gold.

So shoot off while the coast is clear,

You know he’d dearly love a beer.

As long as he has got his drinks

Let him have his 40 winks.

While you for those bargains search

He’ll be happy in his crèche.

And when you have no more to spend

He’ll let you take him home to tend

To his desires, his every need,

Wash his clothes, provide his feed,

Tend his pains, caress his ego.

Lassitude is now his credo,

For as he’s just retired you know

You now must reap what you did sow.

The Pebble Path to Peace

At evening with a heavy heart
I’d had enough of talk.
My mind’s reflections overwrought
I left the house to walk.

I came across it quite by chance
Whilst ambling by the sea.
I’d hoped to clear my head of doubt,
To find some certainty.

I dimly saw the trail ahead
Climbing to my right,
A Pilgrims’ Way to paradise;
It was not there last night.

Its pebbles seemed to call to me
To follow where they led;
To seek their end where ere that be,
Pursue them without dread.

Their blue and red encouraged me,
Spoke to me of hope,
Of everlasting certitude,
The means by which I’d cope.

They led me on beside the sea,
Meandered to and fro
Until abruptly then they ceased;
In front a golden glow.

The certainty I’d hoped to find
Was there in front of me;
A testament to Nature’s Grace –
The Glory of the Sea.

A feeling of contentment spread
Throughout my fatigued mind.
My body too relaxed in peace,
Resentment left behind.

I’d found what I was searching for,
Afforded by that path
Of coloured pebbles on the shore;
My soul’s search aftermath.

Both photographs were taken by me (WHB) one evening in 2009 
along the seashore of the English Channel at Swanage, Dorset, UK.