‘CAGED’ – William Blake … 1757-1827

‘Caged Beauty’ … Pen&Ink – WHB – 1981

FROM: ‘ Auguries of Innocence’

BY . . . William Blake

“ . . . A Robin Redbreast in a Cage
Puts all Heaven in a Rage.
A dove house fill’d with doves and pigeons
Shudders Hell thro’ all its regions.
A Dog starv’d at his Master’s Gate
Predicts the ruin of the State.
A Horse misus’d upon the Road
Calls to Heaven for Human blood.
Each outcry of the hunted Hare
A fiber from the Brain does tear . . . ”

William Blake … Poet & Artist  … 1757-1827

Father William

A Japanese ‘Father William’ …  Pen & Ink – WHB – 2014

Are Old, Father William” is a poem by Lewis Carroll that appears in his book  ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ (1865).

You are Old, Father William

“You are old, Father William,” the young man said,
“And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head –
Do you think, at your age, it is right?

“In my youth,” Father William replied to his son,
“I feared it might injure the brain;
But, now that I’m perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again.”

“You are old,” said the youth, “as I mentioned before,
And have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door —
Pray, what is the reason for that?”

“In my youth,” said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
“I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment — one shilling a box —
Allow me to sell you a couple?”

“You are old,” said the youth, “and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak —
Pray, how did you manage to do it?”

“In my youth,” said his father, “I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life.”

“You are old,” said the youth, “one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose —
What made you so awfully clever?”

“I have answered three questions, and that is enough,”
Said his father. “Don’t give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I’ll kick you down stairs.”

By Lewis Carroll

Life Force – 2

Mantegna – ‘Samson & Delilah’

LIFE  FORCE – TWO

“These fragments I must shore against my ruin.”

I wish to put a hold on life,
freeze it at this instant;
stop my headlong race to reach
some intangible resolution
before life, and with it death,
overtake me.

Yet, a wanton fervour
forces me to write;
a defining greed pushes me on;
a need to achieve,
to find the telling phrase
to verify my competence.

There is a frenzy on me,
a new lust for life
alien to my past;
but still I draw on that very past
to colour the present
and steer me into my aspired future.

My imperative is to leave an imprint
on the foreshore of my life
before its tide recedes.
Regardless of renown,
I wish to leave a noble fragment of myself
with a proven hint of worth
to carry me beyond my grave.

Such fragments,
the flotsam of my endeavours,
washed up  and left
for those seashore scavengers,
those ardent beachcombers
of other people’s detritus;
my scraps left for Autolycus to pick over.
I need the harvest of my life to be
another’s prized perception,
their acquired inspiration.

And yet I know I must desist,
I must allow those morsels,
slivers of myself already extant,
to speak for themselves,
to represent me to the future.

I must accept
that already
I have utilised my credit with the past
and created my memorial for the future.

“These fragments I must shore against my ruin.”

The quotation appearing at the beginning and end of my poem is, slightly adapted, taken from T.S.Eliot’s poem  “The Wasteland”.

Delilah, of course, took away Samson’s Life Force, his strength, by cutting off his hair whilst asleep.

Will you marry me?


My photograph was taken from a beach in Cornwall, U.K.,  in 2006.  I do trust things turned out better in reality than in my  rather jaundiced, wholly imagined, speculations on the subject of marriage and the impulsive gestures which do often bring it about  –  as demonstrated in some of the ostentatious proposals which took place at the Rio Olympics. (WHB)

‘MARRY ME’ it said in the sky,
The brazenly shouted plea;
Showcasing a lover’s great passion?
A proposal she had to agree.

Was love in there somewhere I wondered?
Was that what the question implied?
A lifelong commitment on offer –
Based on whim, or desire for a bride?

“I’d love to” she whispered so gently,
Accepting his plea without question.
Her doubts were dispelled by his bluster
How could she deny his suggestion?

They married in bliss shortly after,
A lifetime of rapture to come.
With hope for a lifetime of passion?
Well, that’s how it’s meant to be done

The first happy years ran so smoothly;
The path of love seemed to be fine,
But the storm clouds were looming above them
Creating a warning fault line.

It was life intervened in their story,
A lassitude lay on their marriage,
Their ardour and pleasures defeated.
Love stalled, reduced to the humdrum,


Both felt as though they’d been cheated.

Habit had killed off their lustre;
Routine  had entered their souls;
Self-regard took over from closeness;
Possessions their only goals.

So was it for this they were married,
Just to reach an acceptance of sorts?
All passion long lost from their dowry
Now littered with bile and retorts.

The end of this story I’m told?
They parted with barely a whisper;
What began with a flamboyant gesture,
Ended, ‘Not with a bang but a whimper’.

This last line echoing T.S.Eliot’s oft-quoted lines from ‘The Hollow Men’  . . .

‘This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.’

A Death I Die

Loch Earn, Scotland

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow.

T.S. Eliot (The Journey of the Magi)

I wrote this poem, as I did several of my recently blogged poems, many years ago.
In ‘A Death I Die’ below the sober thoughts reflect a dark  mood,  the reason for which I now have no recollection.   For me, at the time of writing, they obviously represented the Shadow, that halfway house between knowing and not-knowing,
between what is and what might be,
between Eliot’s ‘the motion and the act’.

A DEATH I DIE

I have no heart for selfish love
that starts and ends with flesh.
It leads along an endless path,
it binds, compels afresh.

There is a sort of death I die;
Am killed and kill myself.
I am alone in this. I am a willing suicide.
I go on a journey bearing my own end.

This death is a habit, a nasty selfish habit
I know and hate it.
I both give and receive.
The giving is good
– but also a habit.

Receiving – an infinite regression.
We plan the means and the end is all.
Purgatory is the cemetery, time the resurrection.
And All is planned that This should be so.

Without a Bang

Hullabaloo
That joyous word
Gone away
Now little heard

Oft I dwell
On my failed successes
Gone to ground now
With all those other
Of life’s excesses

Clamour ended
Without a racket
Ballyhoo
No more a habit

No more thunder
Don’t misbehave
Cause no stir
A quiet grave


No Commotion
Palaver none
No consternation
And mayhem gone

Brouhaha
was once in fashion
Hubbub
rumpus
Were then a passion

Kerfuffle
bedlam
Have had their day
Pandemonium
no more holds sway

Ballyhoo
And Imbroglio
Tumultuous
turmoil
All had to go


Consternation
Furore
And Ruckus
All dead and gone
without much fuss

Donner und blitzen
Sturm und drang
Together ended
without a bang

Thus the world ends
While I whisper
Not with a bang
But with a whimper


With my grateful thanks to T. S. Eliot who assisted me with the last verse.



Hope for 2021

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

When the world feels dark bring a Torch
Let the Torch be brightly lit
Let it illuminate the darkest corners of Earth
May Earth play its part and forever spin
For a spinning Wheel gathers no more Covid
And Covid will be killed by the Needle
And through the eye of that very Needle
Will Nature work her magic
And bring us all a Spring to recall
Life renewed in Hope
For ‘Hope is the thing with Feathers
… Which never stops at all.

VERSE – WHB: Dec.2018 . . . [ With acknowledgement to Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) ]

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


A Coward’s Charter

Swing the lead
Play it for dead;
Keep a lowly profile
Life is no featherbed,.

Don’t stick your head,
As Joe Soap said,
Above the parapet,
Lest you have it shot at.

Lie very low
Avoid life’s blows
And play the game ‘Dead Donkey’.

Avoid the Pricks,
The pointed arrows
Of outrageous fortune.
And be afraid,
For life is out to get you.
Let that Sea of Fortune
Be forever calm.

No good at last,
With chances past,
To count the cost
When all is lost.

Best play your cards
Close to your chest;
Hide those better feelings.
Be self-indulgent,
Go with your better judgement.
Leave other hearts to their bleeding.

Predictive text 2

close up view of an old typewriter

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

Predictive text 2 (Left-side Word)

Following on from my previous blog on the subject – 2 days ago – I re-print below the results of continuously pressing the LEFT-SIDE Predicted Text suggestions from my SwiftKey keyboard  (the line-breaks are my own!) . . .

… is the kiss of the sea reaches the moon
in the sun won’t be the one to end
my life has come to the brink
and I have no idea how much of it will help me
In telling verse Ideas diverse
Intersperse
my thoughts Broaching
and the fact I have had to blink
to be with you for commenting
and I hope you like the rest of your email
with your comments and suggestions on how we can improve
the 3-level 4 of 3rd party
needs to get the best out of fashion shop
and the best way for us
in order for us
from discarded litter of our boys in the morning
and the Heather clad on Sunday morning
as they will not let me know when
3rd is best to be there for 2pm
or just the same for the rest…   et al

 

A somewhat different result was produced when I tried sequential predicting of text from the right-hand side of my Swiftkey keyboard.  ( the symbols, on my keyboard, but unfortunately not reproduced here in WordPress, were in fact all brightly coloured emoticons) . . .  SEE BELOW

 

Predictive text 3 (Right-side Word)

The war against us in a slice  the government in a net and made a pass through a few days later in a couple  of my youth to help the people with a weird and boring  and to gather all of their performances and the infinite variety and a better place for a meal  in their wistful with their parents a bit young � a bit more than they had been see in our hotel  we had one 1⃣ one 1⃣ the one 1⃣ had to stay at the very top � but they have no choice and it seems to me a while away and a lifetime to get a refund back � it was meant for a while in France �� and a lifetime ago made the first hurdle on my soul mate lol …


. . .   Why Not . . . Give Predictive Text a try on your mobile/tablet/computer? You might produce a fictional masterpiece!


motivational quote

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