The Applegarth

Guisborough Priory, N.Yorkshire

The APPLEGARTH

When morning
meets my melancholy
I must refocus
dispel my clouds
and reconnect to nature
through her glory

The garth gate invites
pledges enchantment
such memories harboured here
once the cloister garden
of my medieval monastery
now still the repository
of the priory’s peace
ancient orchard
now transformed
but still a place
to rejuvenate the soul
to touch
feel and taste
nature’s serenity

   The morning mist
lingered low
over the once fallow fields
then no longer virgin earth
but become thick with apple trees
and those
long gone
and autumn dormant now
awaiting its wheat-carpeted
summer season

The morning advances
only half-appreciated
until the
the priory arch
proud against the sky
bursts through the mist
into the weak sun’s gaze
the veiled sky
allowing
the gathering sunlight
slowly
to prove its strength
and bring clarity
to a waiting world

And The pathway
its ancient course
 piercing its length
into the shrouded distance
remembrancer now
of those Augustinian brothers
traversing
this ancient orchard

who with such care
tended nature’s gifts
now bare of fruit
but never fruitless
no longer cosseted
by priestly presence
and full of nuanced context still

For me …

The Applegarth
my own memory
of this sanctified place
sings of golden corn
bordering that arrowed path
where also was
the winning post
the last gasp
of those long-past
teenage
distance running races
marking my triumphs
measuring my success
against the countless strides
I had wrenched
from my straining body
to accomplish
to lead the race
the end of endeavours
signifying my own
my personal
accomplishment.

The Applegarth,
a trope
my metaphor
for my life.

Photographs by WHB . . . 2016



 

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.

The NORTH YORKSHIRE MOORS National Park

A Gallery of my sketches of notable scenes related to one of the two National Parks in Great Britain’s largest county of Yorkshire. It is where I grew up and where I first experienced the riches of Britain’s glorious countryside.

Pen & Wash . . . WHB
Map of The North Yorkshire Moors

Click on a drawing to enlarge it and view the titles

Runswick Bay

‘Runswick Bay’ … WHB – Pen & Wash 2012

Atop the sea cliffs
I tread the uneven
foot beaten
 wind worn path
I turn and look back
look down
along the line of this eastern shore
across the arc of the bay towards
the cliff-clinging terracotta cottages
carved from the rock of the wave beaten coast
I watch the writhing waves
pound the seawall rocks
insistently biting into the land’s defences
high casting their salty spume
into the sky’s blue blanket

and all the time beside me
at the path’s edge
the rustle of waving barley
their sighing hush
competing with the sea swell
to bring the landscape into one waving vision
the smooth surface tension of the early summer scene
contesting the still silence
of the placid inland rolling moors
delighting both eye and mind
and bringing contentment
to a world of both beauty and sorrow

Runswick Bay is a small coastal village, set in a sweeping, sheltered bay on the North Sea Coast of Yorkshire. It borders on the North Yorkshire Moors National Park and the Cleveland Way National Trail runs on the coastline above the village.

Late Love

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LATE  LOVE

Eagerly he jumped into bed
His vows to now fulfil
His lady fair sat on the bed, 
Took a little pill. 

Seductively she stripped and then
Slipped on her pink silk gown;
Opened the drawers beside the bed
She twirled and then sat down. 

Slowly she took her dentures out, 
Popped them into a box. 
Beside this she placed her spectacles, 
Her things, her rings, her rocks. 

Off came her hair, a huge blonde wig, 
Into the drawer it followed. 
A few more pills went in her mouth, 
Then these she swiftly swallowed.

Next a glass eye was taken out, 
Put in a velvet box, 
Then placed sedately in the drawer
Beside those golden locks.

She then unscrewed a wooden leg, 
Wrapped it in a napkin. 
That also went into the drawer
“What else to come?” I’m asking.

Until, she said, “At last my dear, 
Now I am all yours.”
But I was undecided, p’raps
I’d be better in those drawers.

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The Flat Cap

Headline in ‘The Times’ Newspaper – 1st June, 2018

‘Supermarket refuses to serve customer for wearing flat cap.’ 

 

The ensuing article went on to tell of the ejection from a West Midlands Tesco Supermarket of a 64 year old male customer by a security guard for entering their store wearing a flat cap.    The man refused to do so, and then complained to the management  . . . The article concluded with . . . 

”Tesco said its policy on hoodies or crash helmets had been implemented incorrectly.’

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My verses below attempt to imagine this same scene being re-enacted in Yorkshire . . .

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flat cap

THE  FLAT  CAP

He wore a flat cap walking into the store;
Well, being Yorkshire, you wouldn’t expect more,
So it was such a surprise when security stopped him
Told him to doff it or they’d have to accost him.

“What the bloody ‘ell for?” was his caustic reply,
“What’s so nasty or hurtful? No, I will not comply”
“And why may I ask you, can’t an old codger like me
Wear just what he wants, isn’t our country free?”

“Well, sir, you see, we’ve instructions to stop
 All those wearing headgear who come into our shop.
Such things as those hoodies and crash helmets too
Are definitely verboten and that applies also to you.”

“Well, you can stuff your instructions, I’ve ‘eard nowt so daft
Since our Auntie Ethel got caught in a draught,
Displaying her knickers to all that dare look.
Your bloody instructions sound like pure gobbledygook.

So I’m not doffing my cap and not leaving your store
Until I have got just what I came in for.
You can take your instructions and stuff them just where
The sun never shines, so do that if you dare.”

 

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North Yorkshire Moors National Park

[ Photo Gallery # 92 ]

It is the area where I spent my youth and which will for ever be close to my (now southern) heart.  I have shown my photographs, taken over the many times I have revisited, in previous blogs.  The ones below were taken on a motoring tour of this delightful high moorland area in 2005.

The North York Moors is a national park in North Yorkshire, England, containing one of the largest expanses of  heather moorland in the United Kingdom. It covers an area of 554 sq miles (1,430 km2).  The area became a national park in 1952.

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Ralph Cross on Westerdale Moor

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The Lion Inn on remote Blakey Ridge is a 16th Century establishment located at the highest point of the North York Moors National Park.  It stands at an elevation of 1,325 feet and offers breathtaking views over the valleys of Rosedale and Farndale.

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The Lion Inn, Blakey Ridge

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Long before ‘Heartbeat’ and TV fame, the tumbling waterfall of Mallyan Spout helped put Goathland on the map as a tourist village in the nineteenth century. 

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The waters of West Beck into which Mallyan Spout tumbles.

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Grosmont Station is home to the operating and engineering world of the NYM Railway. Here you will find the engine sheds where the steam and diesel locomotives are maintained and restored.

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Yes, steam trains – in all their glory!

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This bracing moorland village has attracted visitors since the 19th century, but numbers soared following its appearance (as ‘Aidensfield’) in the television series ‘Heartbeat’ and its role in the ‘Harry Potter’ films.

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Trains passing at Goathland (‘Aidensfield’) Station

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A view from the NYM Railway, of the pyramid shape of the Fylingdales Royal Air Force station on Snod Hill in the North York Moors. It is a radar base and is also part of the National  Ballistic Missile Early Warning System.

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The Rydale Open-air Folk museum can be found in the beautiful village of Hutton-le-Hole, in the heart of the North York Moors National Park.  The museum offers a unique glimpse of the past, with collections housed in 20 historic buildings depicting rural local life from Iron Age to 1950s.

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Some of the cottages at the Rydale Folk Open-air museum

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I Remember The Bellows

Following on from my blog two days ago, ( ‘Fire, Forge and Furnace’ ) in which I attempted to place the work of the blacksmith in an historical context, I thought it may be the time to re-blog one of my very first published poems ( ‘I Remember The Bellows’ ), which described my introduction to the smithy, the blacksmith’s forge and, for me at the time, all its excitement and wonder.

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I grew up a long time ago, on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors, in a staunch Methodist household, the son of the village blacksmith and farrier.  Two abiding memories of my early years were . . .

1. on weekdays, of pumping the bellows to maintain the heat of the fire in his forge, and . . .

 2. on Sundays, of being concealed behind the chapel organ, pumping the bellows to maintain the air to the organ  pipes during the hymn singing.

 For good or ill, BELLOWS thus became a significant part of my childhood, and I recently recalled these formative experiences in the following, light-hearted verses.

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I REMEMBER THE BELLOWS

 

Arms activate,  
Biceps bulge. 
I remember the bellows. 
Let my memory indulge. 

*

 The forge and the furnace  
The farrier’s tools.
His anvil, his hammers,
His tongs and ferrules.

 I build up the heat
Till the iron is blood-shot,
And molten and moulded –
Into what shape I know not. 

*

The pipes and the console
The organist’s tools
His feet and his fingers
Obey all the rules.

 I build up the wind
In the pipes till they sound
Out their diapason
To all those around.

 *

 So, it’s weekdays the smithy
And Sundays the Chapel.
A slave to them both,
And all that for an apple.

 Whilst I labour discretely,
And pump up and down,
They can’t do without me –
Best  aerator in town.

 

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The Beck

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THE BECK

the beck
my beck
North England
Old English bece
Dutch beek
German bach
my beck
my early life
my once-upon-a-time world

it was all things to me
my territory
my front line
against the outside world
fell in
fished out
fished in
fishes out
tiddlers
minnows
sticklebacks
 countless times
jumped it daily
dammed it
constructed waterfalls
floods flooded
floods receded
dredged
repaired
renewed

succoured my imagination
my Coliseum
 my Olympic stadium
succeeding
my umbilical chord
as my link to the world
it ran through my heart
and past my house
gave me a ballpark
my own adventure playground
complete with running water
subterranean tunnels
waterfalls
dams
stepping stones
overhanging trees
to climb
to suspend myself
dangling
over the running water
sandstone-walled bridges
for carving initials
routes to explore
in both directions
crossings to navigate
ledges to crawl along
overgrown banks
forbidden sections
Rubicon for gang warfare
Lethe at dusk

above all
suspending my belief
in dreams
for this was my reality

once upon a time

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NOTE:   North England.  BECK … A brook, especially a swiftly running stream with steep banks.

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Quinzaine

After my attempt at a cinquaine in yesterday’s blog, I turn to another verse form, sounding rather similar but conforming to a different set of rules.

A Quinzaine is an un-rhymed verse of fifteen syllables. The word comes from the French word quinze, meaning fifteen. The syllables are distributed over three lines so that there are seven syllables in the first line, five in the second line, and three in the third line (7/5/3). The first line makes a statement. The next two lines ask a question relating to that statement. (From: Wikipedia).

Below are 4 of my attempts at a quinzaine, each related to one of my own photographs 

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Cardiff Waterfront

Look! The sun is coming out.
Isn’t it home time?
Dog: Food time?

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Coleridge’s ‘The Ancient Mariner’, Watchet Harbourside, Somerset

I just shot an albatross
Does that mean bad luck?
Isn’t life short?

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Funeral Urn – Churchyard, Surrey

Resting place for my ashes.
Will I end up there?
Who can tell?

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Stone Owl – Yorkshire

The owl is a wise old bird.
Does a stone one count?
Can he hoot?

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