The SPIRE

Salisbury Cathedral, Wiltshire, England . . . Pen & Wash : WHB – 2015

THE SPIRE

This work of man
Exultant spire
Sings to the world’s
Celestial choir.

Man’s needle point
It pricks the clouds
Defies the lightning
Lures the crowds.

Commands the heavens
Upholds the sky
Tells the world
Don’t fear to die.

This vibrant sky
These bright moonbeams
Define our souls
Colour our dreams.

This work of man
Exultant spire
Sings to the world’s
Celestial choir.

Salisbury Cathedral, is an Anglican cathedral in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England, and one of the leading examples of Early English architecture.  The main body of the cathedral was completed in 1258.  Two men filmed themselves climbing 404ft (123m) to the capstone of the Cathedral’s spire to replace a faulty weather meter.    I add below a link to this video giving the spectacular view captured by these conservators working at the top of this, Britain’s tallest spire  . . .

CLIMB to the top of the SPIRE

The footage shows the breathtaking views only usually experienced by the Cathedral’s peregrine falcons.

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) .

Before The Sun Sets

Pen & Wash Sketch – based on ‘Ancient Trees’ – to mark National Trust Week 1999 . . .  WHB

The crisp crunch of my footsteps as I crossed that frosty field
Confirmed to me the joy that winter brings;
The frail but wondrous sunlight burning through the morning mist
Affirmed a world of wonder in all things.

It brought to me a memory of those long days of my youth,
When all was young and all life was tomorrow,
When time and love and right and wrong were not things I considered,
Just the lasting joy which Nature can bestow.

Tomorrow was a world away from the life that I live now;
No anguish that my world might cease to be
Before I’d felt and savoured all that life can have to offer,
Before the sun sets on that ancient tree.

Despite my knowledge of the pain that’s in the world around me,
Bleak Nature seeks to calm its shifting shadows,
The seasons, sun, the starlight, still remain to bring us hope,
That vital spark from which renewed life flows.

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.

AS THE YEAR ENDS

 

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Pexels.com

Dark the swollen river runs
Under the bridge’s shades of grey.
Slate sky condemns the passive scene
Draining colour from the day.

Tree silhouettes outline my view
Their winter ribs bared to the frost
December bids the old year gone
With no regrets for what is lost. 

The year expires; bid it goodbye, 
It brought distress, re-kindled fears,
It promised much it failed to give,
Left little hope and many tears.

So now, in hope of better times,
Tomorrow holds the future’s key.
New perspectives flood my view
Blue skies as far as I can see.

LIFE FORCE – ONE

LIFE  FORCE – ONE

When shadow turns to substance 
In the still of morning’s birth, 
Then once again I wonder 
How much my life is worth.

 Have I in the scheme of things 
At last outlived my time?
I want to last a fair span yet,
To hope is not a crime.

 I long to do a thousand things 
I’ve not had time to do, 
But is that just a selfish wish 
I’m not entitled to?

 So many of my friends have gone,
Lives past while mine’s still here. 
Do I deserve more time on earth, 
Or is my ending near?

 Such morbid thoughts occur to me 
More frequently each day. 
I rush to pack more living in, 
No halt, pause or delay.

 Despite the limits on my life 
My time is filled with actions. 
Yet still my mind frets at the thought 
Of those un-lived attractions.

 Why am I selfishly intent 
On hurtling to nirvana, 
Grasping at each passing chance 
More enhanced life to garner?

 I could so quietly subside 
Into a life of ease; 
No rush, no great exigency 
My daemons to appease.

 Yet I am not content like that, 
I must remain on course, 
To stay with, in the time I’m left,
This imperative life force.


The two photographs were taken by me in London’s Roman Amphitheatre, which can be found in its restored state in the basement of the City of London Guildhall.

These Roman remains, thought to date to the 1st Century AD,  were discovered when the Guildhall Art Gallery was being re-developed in 1985.  The original structure could house over 7,000 spectators seated on tiered wooden benches in what would then have been the open air, where they watched the execution of criminals as well as fights, usually to the death, between wild animals and gladiators.

More can be discovered about these little-known remains of the Roman Londinium on the City of London website at:

London’s Roman Amphitheatre


 

MY CHRISTMAS GHOSTS

MY CHRISTMAS GHOSTS

… Three Christmas Senryu …

They live on in dreams
Friends who once enriched my life 
Ghosts of Christmas Past

Ghosts of Christmas Now
Fill my days and haunt my nights
Bring both joy and fear

Loves I’ll leave behind
Ghosts of Christmas Yet To Come
They are my future

Senryū

Form of poetry

Description

Senryū is a Japanese form of short poetry similar to haiku in construction: three lines with 17 morae. Senryū tend to be about human foibles while haiku tend to be about nature, and senryū are often cynical or darkly humorous while haiku are more serious. Wikipedia

BUILDING BRIDGES

'Packhorse Bridge - Stokesley,Yorkshire - Bas Relief wood carving

Aiding Access
Tying Terrains
Serving States
Linking Lovers 

Binding Borders
Attaching Allies  

Heralding Heroes
Binding Believers
Enabling Escapees
Nurturing Nations
Trading Trackways
Creating Comrades
Mending Marriages
Merging Merchants
Following Frontiers
Uniting Unbelievers
Creating Conquerors
Delivering Destinies
Allowing Assemblies 

Nourishing Networks
Connecting Countries
Exacerbating Enemies
Empowering Explorers
Engineering Encounters 

Inculcating Interrelations 
Combining Confederations
Constructing Concordances
Regenerating Relationships
Perpetuating Possessiveness

Perpetuating Possessiveness

 

. . .   &, OF COURSE, … REKINDLING  RELATIONSHIPS !!!

The two pictures are of ‘the ancient Packhorse Bridge, in Stokesley, N’Yorkshire, England – the first a bas relief wood carving, the second a recent photograph.