MONEY – Thoughts for a Chancellor

The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer has just pronounced on the future of the country in times when the majority of the population find themselves in considerably strained financial circumstances . Perhaps a few thoughts occasioned by a reading which I quote from from: ‘The Funny Side – 101 Humorous Poems’ – edited with an introduction by Wendy Cope, will strike a chord with many of us . . .

It is from the American poet, Richard Willard Armour (July 15, 1906 – February 28, 1989)

That money talks

I won’t deny.

I heard it once,

It said, “Goodbye”.

Richard Armour also once wrote: . . . “Politics, it seems to me, for years, or all too long, has been concerned with right or left instead of right or wrong.

Love Autumn – Hate Novenmer

I Love the Autumn but hate November

I Love the Autumn but hate November.

Remember, remember the 11th November –

Gunfire. no reason, no Plot.

The waste of young lives sent forward and shot.

The fireworks and bonfires just serve to remind me

Of bombs and incendiaries, of the carnage to see,

Of the fear and the doubts, but the knowledge of duty

To do what they must to perpetuate beauty.

The beauty of freedom, of lives without limits,

Not theirs for the taking, nor lasting but minutes,

But those back at home who are counting on honour

To see the boys through, until they’re a goner.

Some came home broken, wounded and battered,

Wondering if everything was worth it or mattered.

Too quickly their country forgot what they did,

No support for de-briefing, no reward, God forbid!

They did it for duty, for love of their country,

For the King (or the Queen) to put it quite bluntly,

For a future of peace, tranquillity and love,

But the future of them was in heaven above.

Their light was snuffed out on the earth down below

But their  life we shall honour as the stars above glow

They shall live in our hearts and our minds here on earth

As November comes round to provide a new birth.

I don’t hate November; I hate that it hurts me.

They gave up their lives for our freedom you see,

But my hurt is as nothing compared to their war.

My heart’s full of love, for the young men, who gave all.

This poem was composed by, and published with the permission of, Caroline Miller-Tate, whilst contemplating the significance of our memories engendered during this year’s Remembrance weekend period . . . “At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them”

Bombs Away

Retro Advert seen in a charity shop in Devon, UK … Photo – WHB 2016

Bombs Away . . . Keeping our boys Regular

A provocative
narrative
Re a sanative
laxative.

As an ex-airman I can say

Advertising ‘Bombs Away’

Should not be a cause of laughter

I have heard of nothing dafter.

I consider it a waste,

Certainly leaves a nasty taste.

This advert I would call a fail,

In fact it is beyond the pale.

So airmen of the world unite,

Stop them talking utter tripe.

Dropping Bombs is not a joke,

Save it for that Hitler bloke.

He’s the one deserves derision,

Not our brave boys on a mission.

Nothing regular about a war,

Always ends with blood and gore.

So don’t make fun of our boys in blue,

Or the next one missing could be you.

ZEUGMAS

Burnt out Car, Burnt out Life’  A303 – 2016 … Photo-WHB

ZEUGMAS

(And even ‘Zeugmata’!)

Zeugmas are fun, so don’t be averse,
Use them to colour your prose and your verse.

#   #   #

Burnt out your car and your life,
Leave a fierce scar and your beautiful wife.

Start a new page and a movement;
Room for one more and for improvement.

Hold your breath and the front door;
Cry for lost love and for more.

Lend me a fiver and your ears;
Dry your washing and your tears.

Break your wrist watch and your heart;
Blow a kiss and blow apart.

Take your time and my advice,
Think positive, but do it twice.

Cover with dirt as well as glory;
Read a mind and a bedtime story.

His licence expired, then he did;
Give him a kiss and fifty quid.

Make breakfast and the bed,
And leave a tip or the room instead.

Sold a basket and a pup;
Grow angry then and do grow up.

Catch a cold and a thief,
Hold a baby and a belief.

Fish for compliments and for shark;
Play in the band and in the park.

Take your leave and take your hat;
Kick the bucket and the cat.

#  #  #

How rewarding that such malfunctions
Create in language such fun conjunctions.

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

A Swarm of Bees Worth Hiving

I have a book, passed down to my wife from her father and his father before him, with the title of ‘ILLUSTRATED ANECDOTES and PITHY PIECES’.  It was published in 1874 and which, of course, contains just what the title describes – well, the Victorian idea of such things!

I am reproducing a scanned image of one of the entries which plays with words in rhyming couplets, as I often like to do in my own verses.  (Not sure about the attempt to rhyme ‘faith’ with ‘death’ though!). Amusing and educational aphorisms, life-enhancing even, and very PITHY !!!

The THREE HARES

The’ Three Hares’ Motif … Marker Pen – WHB – 2017

The THREE HARES

Three hares, three ears, How can that be?
Look at the picture you will see.

And yet I know that they have two,
So look again … and so they do.

Chasing each other in a circle,
A never ending race eternal.

This ancient image can be seen
In many places you’ll have been.

In Devon churches they are found,        
You only have to look around.

Germany too has these three hares,  
You may come across them unawares.    

Window at Paderborn Cathedral, Germany

All over Europe and in France
You’ll see them do their threesome dance.

They’re found in China and Japan,
And even in Turkmenistan.

In synagogues and Buddhist caves,
New Age revels and Gothic raves.

In Devon where the tin miner inhabits
They  oft are called the Tinner’s Rabbits.

From east to west and west to east,
Along the Silk Road as trade increased.

Iran – On The Silk Road

They travelled wide in many guises,
Large and small, in varied sizes.

Yet no one seems precisely sure;
Why they are there is still obscure.

What does it mean to have three hares
Cavorting with six ears in pairs?

Yet only three that we can see,
It seems an oddity to me.

They can be seen as an illusion,
Which often leads to much confusion.

Or is it just they are a puzzle,
Certain to test your thinking muscle?

Some say they have a great affinity
With the Christian symbol of the Trinity.

Or they the three realms do unite
Earth, Sea and Sky together aright.

Others say they pledge fertility,
And that does have some credibility.

Certainly they are mysterious rarities,
Perhaps these hares were ancient deities.

I don’t suppose we’ll ever know,
It’s a mystery of long ago.

A puzzle with no attribution,
No context and no resolution.

But most of us will think, “Who cares?
Let’s not end up splitting hares!”

Devon – South Tawton Church roof boss – medieval wood carving

A  SIGN TOO FAR

Street in a Surrey, England .  . .  Photo – WHB 2017

A  SIGN  TOO  FAR

 I was walking down the road the other day
When they met me coming up the other way

I knew not what to do
Not an inkling, not a clue

Should I walk on and ignore them
Should I beg them and implore them

Not to shriek at me so loudly
Not to chastise me so soundly

Just to get out of my way
Let me get on with my day

I really do not wish to buy
I was only passing by

#     #     #

Nor do I feel the urge to hire
A sander or electric fire

Nor will I get an instant thrill
If I just hire a power drill

I surely do not need a sign
To advertise what’s still is mine

I’ve already got more than a few
So they will really have to do

Nor do I need to learn to drive
I’d rather walk and stay alive

I’ll not describe the fine details
But I don’t need polish for my nails

I reckon I’m a beauty too
Stick your cosmetics down the loo

My laundry is for private use
I don’t subject it to abuse

And as for washing all my smalls
I’d rather use Niagara Falls

My house is not for sale just yet
Say any more – I’ll get upset

And as for gas, my need’s not great
My house is all electric, mate

#     #     #

To be attacked by signs is bad
It leaves me feeling very sad
That my main street has reached the stage
When just to earn a living wage
These shops must now our street deface
By planting signs in every place
Leaving me so little space
I think I’m in an obstacle race

SUICIDE ON A WHIM

‘River Liffey Inciden’t . . . Pen & Wash . . . WHB – 1994

SUICIDE ON A WHIM

Suicide on a whim
is not unheard of
but few such perpetrators
live to tell the tale

one such
rescued from his indecision
by the Gardai
lived through his trauma

sweet Liffey run softly
while I tell the story

distraught by his
gambling debts
and the drinking
his only way to a conclusion
seemed to him to be
voluntary
self-inflicted
euthanasia
yes
he thought
that he wanted to die
half-determined
part irresolute

in a single moment of wavering
he had jumped
just fell perhaps
but the fear
and the cold water
soon hit him
hit harder
than the twenty foot drop

an instinctive cry
escaped him
you could call it
a change of mind
his cry for help
was a second thought
an unintended consequence
of his half-hearted conviction

and now he was held
grasped in a rescue bid

but did he wish to be salvaged
to be pleaded with
would that bring him
the closure he craved
attention unwanted

but secured
attention secured
but unwanted

and still
he could not let go
the ladder
his passport to life
a life he did not desire
could he bear to go there
yet again
to continue
victim to more pain
to yet more anguish

but temporary chagrin
is no killer
his cri de coeur
answered
his indecision
thwarted

is it heads or tails
is it stay or go
is life’s hurt
greater than death’s pain
is future shame
worse than eternity’s
opprobrium

we will never know
the prognosis
I suspect
he is still amongst us
ever indecisive
a suitor for attention
defaulting on his debts
not stopping at three pints
one of life’s
protean chancers

‘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