Rainer Maria Rilke -‘The Panther’

 

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‘The Panther’ … Pen & Wash – WHB: 2017

The Panther 

His vision, from the constantly passing bars,
has grown so weary that it cannot hold
anything else. It seems to him there are
a thousand bars; and behind the bars, no world.

As he paces in cramped circles, over and over,
the movement of his powerful soft strides
is like a ritual dance around a center
in which a mighty will stands paralyzed.

Only at times, the curtain of the pupils
lifts, quietly … An image enters in,
rushes down through the tensed, arrested muscles,
plunges into the heart and is gone.

Rainer Maria Rilke

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A Trawler’s Resting Place

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Photograph at the Stade, Hastings, by WHB – October 2017   ©

 

THE STADE  (Hastings)

A Trawler’s Resting Place

 

desolate and deconstructed
now at rest
my remnant life
so inexorably sea-linked 
still confronted
and yet consoled
by those waves
forever beating
on the shingle
of my shore

here on the stade
in the first throes of death
it is my destined fate
to pass on my faith
to those who succeed me

for hope exists
rebirth is on offer
amidst the rigours
of a relentless sea
on my pebbled bed
above the tides
prow still proudly fronting
those endless tides
white waves
bursting at my bows

resting at last
only my memories
trawling my sea-going past
recapturing the rapture
of my vibrant youth
the courageous tenor
of my old life
now entombed
beside my brethren
brothers in desuetude
companions of my death in life
the mystery of my history
encapsulated in this
maritime minster
my tomb inscribed
with my exploits
embedded
within the planking of my hull
and the bulkheads of my carcass

but … no shipshape shrine
rather sea-scavengers paradise
Davy Jones the organ donor
salty entrails examined
my sea-going body parts
prized and picked over
human gulls
ancient sea-dog mariners
making claim again
to my once upon a time worth
my parts in death available
transplanting hope
bringing new life to old

what the sea has not already claimed
remains
to tempt a new generation
regeneration offered
my hull disembowelled
stripped to its frame
rust freed
reclaimed
renamed
fading sea-life re-empowered
man’s eternal battle with the sea
love-hate affirmed
continued and confirmed
empowering new sea ventures

harbingers of a new generation
to be subjected once more
to the ocean’s
recondite whim
and arcane  grace

 

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Hastings – The STADE – #2

[ Photo Blog #63 ]

Hastings – The STADE – #2

Last week, on Thursday, 16th October, I featured my visit to this unique beach in Hastings, East Sussex, UK, from which fishing boats are launched directly into the sea.  If you have not read my introduction and viewed the photographs on that particular blog, then I would advise you to visit it first in order to gain a clearer picture of this area’s history and current function.  Click on this link to do that . . .  Hastings – The Stade #1 .  My photographs below were taken as I wandered around the beached fishing fleet, showing the boats, some now hardly seaworthy, but the majority still working boats plying their trade in the waters of the English Channel from the Stade Beach in Hastings.

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Stillness

 

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‘Solitude’: Rydal Water, Cumbria, The Lake District, UK … Pen & Ink – WHB 1991  ©

 

STILLNESS

 

This stillness and the beauty all around me

Bring with them peace and grace for which I yearn;

For here among the lakes and mountains resting

I sense my hopes and dreams will now return.

 

For now I’ve reached a time when life has bitten,

Reminding me of pleasures once enjoyed;

Since lost in cares and daily obligations

How Nature can supplant and fill the void.

 

Its healing powers I know and cannot question;

They bring delights I cannot bear to miss.

They sing to me of other loves and places,

And speak to me of other times than this.

 

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TIME – A Sonnet

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‘Head of Adam’ Copy in Pencil of Michelangelo’s painting in the Sistine Chapel. Vatican City, Rome … by WHB -1981

The dust of borrowed time 

Has settled on my soul 

Clogging my receptors, 

Taking further toll

On my retreating days 

Aware as I am now 

How limited my gaze

Which cannot tell me how

Much latitude I have

How bad will be the weather

My seasons tell my stories 

Now all have come together 

Time reaches out to garner me

I’m handing in my history’s key. 

 

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W.B.Yeats – ‘The Salley Gardens’

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William Holman Hunt – The hireling Shepherd (detail) 1851 (Manchester Art Gallery, UK

The Salley Gardens

 

Down by the salley gardens my love and I did meet;
She passed the salley gardens with little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree;
But I, being young and foolish, with her would not agree.

In a field by the river my love and I did stand,
And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs;
But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears.

 

William Butler Yeats
1865-1939

 

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Yeats has said that his composition of this poem was “an attempt to reconstruct an old song from three lines imperfectly remembered by an old peasant woman in the village of Ballisdoare, Co.Sligo.  “Salley” or “sally” is a form of the Standard English word “sallow”, i.e., a tree of the genus  Salix. It is close in sound to the Irish word saileach, meaning willow.   Click on the link below to hear a sung version of Yeats’ poem by Maura O’Connell with Karen Matheson …

‘Down By The Sally Gardens’

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The PIER

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Eastbourne Pier, Sussex, England: Photo – WHB, October, 2017  ©

 

THE PIER

As bravely my finger points to the sea
my peninsular pretences extend
for a while
my efforts at ocean reclamation
enabling land and sea to merge
countryside and shore
to meet and mingle
in mutual admiration

Taking my insatiable
search for pleasure
beyond its brief

Public pleasuring
made manifest
another pleasure garden
to add to nature’s own
another wonderworld
to vie with nature’s gifts

My destiny
Buffeted by wind and wave
invaded by rust and rot
attacked by frost
at risk from fire

I exist
On time borrowed
from the eye of the storm
grateful
whilst it continues
for the ocean’s grace

and so
I continue to proffer my splendours
To the denizens of my retreats
sea anglers and photo booths
Shops and tearooms
wurlitzers and waltzers
penny arcades
mirror halls
ghost trains and dodgems
all beneficiaries
of my daring
my bravery in simply existing

 

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Hastings – The STADE – #1

[ Photo Blog #62 ]

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THE STADE

On the sea front on the eastern side of the East Sussex coastal town of Hastings, I recently discovered this fascinating area.  It is called the Stade, a name dating back to the first millennium and meaning simply a landing place or area from which sea-going boats can be launched. Here, on the shingle beach,  for over 1,000 years, boats have been used to fish the nearby waters of the English Channel.   The building, in the latter part of the 19th Century, of groins along the western shore of the town restricted the movement of shingle towards the east, resulting in the area known as the Stade, which grew out towards the sea as a high bank of shingle.  This eased the once difficult access of the fishing boats to the sea and created a large area from which boats could be beach-launched and later brought back to land with the use of winches and tractors.  The Stade now provides safe harbour for Britain’s largest of all beach-launched fishing fleets.

I am told that, nowadays, because of European impositions of fishing quotas, the boats are only allowed to be launched on two days a week.  As a consequence of such restrictions, many fishermen are finding it difficult to maintain a viable livelihood.  Consequently many of the boats to be found here are used infrequently and they and the accompanying tractors , winches and metal hauling ropes and chains are rusting and in a less than pretty  condition.

Although several attempts have been made to build harbours at Hastings for the boats, these have never been successful, so boats have always had to be pulled out of the sea up the sloped shingle bank.  Because of this, their length has to be restricted, so they are able to carry only a small  amount of tackle.  This means that their range is also restricted.  Every ship, therefore has its own dedicated engine, tractor or winch in order to get the boats into and out of the water, especially at low tide.

NET SHEDS

Another unique aspect of the Stade is the Net Sheds.  These are on the landward side of the shingle bank, above the high tide line.  They are very tall wooden weather-boarded structures, all of several storeys and tarred to their full height to protect them against the weather.  They are used to store the fishing gear, including the nets.

Today I am including my photographs of the Net Sheds and the area surrounding these.  Next Thursday I will showcase my photographs of the beach and the boats themselves.

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The Stade Trail

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The Net Shops – 1

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The Net Shops – 2

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The Net Shops – 3

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RX134 and Anchor

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RX134 & Net Huts

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Net Huts

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Fishermen’s Chapel, boats and Net Huts

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Half-Boat House

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Charity Ship

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Sea shore memorablia

Thoughts On A Morning Mist

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‘A Sussex Morning’ … Photo: WHB – October 2017   ©

 

The morning mist that masks my view
Slowly lifts its damask shroud
Then memory comes to lift my mood
Bringing to mind that distant scene
Reminding of what my life has been

For then, before I lost, I’d loved,
And she has meant the world to me
In spring and summer life was good
Till autumn brought its golden glow
Gnarled time revealing what I now know.

That when those masking clouds descend
Proffering winter’s icy blasts
Our world which once held such delights
Tells me that now the time is here
To set aside despair and fear

That what we had and valued most
Was all worthwhile and counted more
Than all the pains which followed on
For life renews itself in hope
And those who follow, they will cope.

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Nature’s  Beneficence

NATURE’S  BENEFICENCE

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Tall the grass grows in the thicket
Thriving without a thought of me
Each blade designed in Nature’s wisdom
Green and graceful, firm and free.

Strong the sapling stretches higher
Gathering strength to reach the sky
Intent on proving ever taller
Just as worthy as you or I.

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Soft the thistle drenched in down
Welcoming wind to spread its seed
Calling to the listening heavens
For its force to feed its need

High in the sky the blackbird singing
Passing judgement on the day
Once again the evening thrilling
Sweeping all my cares away

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Perfumed the scent of rambling rose
Drifts across my consciousness
The natural world brings me its joy
The surest cure for worldly stress

For as the day draws to its close
Such thoughts as these bring me content
As night-time comes and daylight goes
I count my blessings, heaven sent

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Poem and photographs by WHB … 2017 ©

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