Ancient ice

‘The Ice Fiord’ – Greenland Photo: WHB …2008

ancient ice
increasingly
encircles
as we move
silently
with stealth
into the ice fiord
hesitantly making a
zig-zag passage
towards the unstable
terminus
of the glacier
as it erodes
into the ocean’s edge

increasingly
smotheringly
enclosed by
walls of white and blue
immense
ridge-flanked
jagged-backed
menacingly still
a maze through which
the miniscule craft
threads a passage
towards the minotaur
the glacier’s lowering face
as it crumbles
tumbles
its fronting phalanx
fragmenting
with the occasional
sudden grinding cracking
turmoil
of yet another frozen offshoot
adding to the welter
the crowded pack of
new-born creatures
as the ice mass breaks and
calves
to join the myriad
of off-spring
in the ice ocean

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

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

ART by the SEA

I include below images of just a few of my pen and watercolour sketches of a variety of waterfront scenes in different parts of Europe to which I have travelled.  Click on any one to view a slide show of all the images and locations in larger format . . .

VENICE


Venetian Sunset – from Piazza San Marco … Pen & Wash – WHB … 2013

City of Islands
City of dream
Inscribed with colour
 Every line.

City of History
City of deeds
Imbued with story
Every step

City of Passion
City of pride
Engorged with fashion
Every stride

City of Clamour
City of bells
Ringing with meaning
Every knell

City of Turmoil
City of strife
Threaded with suffering
Every hurt

City of Mansions
City of graves
Instilled with ardour
Every shrine

City of Titian
City of art
Awash with beauty
Every part

City of Merchants
City of trade
Echoed by Shakespeare
Every shade

City of Conflict
City of strife
Turbulent city
Every vice

City of Water
City of flood
Sea taking over
Every surge

City of Magic
City of spells
Present in each pile
Every shell

City of Revels
City of fun
Carnivals rule life
Every fete

City of Intrigue
City of masks
Sophistry renews
Every day

City of Drama
City of sin
Would I were there now
Let new life begin.

Venice . . . Pen & Wash – WHB: 2013

SCOTLAND – Pen & Wash

A Gallery of my pen and wash sketches of notable scenes visited in various parts of Scotland – Highlands and Islands

Click on a drawing to enlarge it and view the titles

  1. Ailsa Craig – Firth of Forth
  2. Castle Tioram – Loch Moidart
  3. Castle Dtalker – Argyll
  4. Castle Tioram – 2
  5. Glen Lochranza – Isle of Arran
  6. Lamlash – Isle of Arran
  7. Newton Stewart – Galloway
  8. Rannock Moor Sunset
  9. The Road To The Isles

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.