Fire, Forge and Furnace

blacksmith1

‘The Smith’: Illus.from’The Book Of English Trades’, Museum of English Ryral Life, Reading University.

FIRE, FORGE & FURNACE

It began with the furnace
When limping Hephaestus
tamed his volcanic forge,
before Prometheus
poached fire,
and brought to mankind,
his creation,
those skills of
 inspired artistry
 in metal and the arts,
for which he suffered
until, released, liver-less,
 from his eagle-torn fate

So, his legacy,
passed on to the smith,
farrier, blacksmith, metalworker,
a noble calling
worthy trade
artist in iron
his skill
portrayed in metal
wrought within the fire
of Vulcan’s heart

Bent over the anvil
he finds his future
his art is in iron
his heart lies there too
the kiln his spirit
the anvil his easel
tongs his palette knife
his hammer his brush

Rendering and wrenching
forging
forcing his will
on that malleable metal
moulding with skill
stroking the steel
forming shape
to match imagination
to meet a need
create a masterwork
from his mind’s ferment

The furnace,
bellowed into life,
bright burning coals
in heat and fusion
throw shadows all around
as if their flickering flames
are desperate to escape
and return
to the place of their birth –
the fiery inferno
in Vulcan’s heart.

Hephaestus

Hephaestus

 

bar-yellow

 

 

Advertisements

Northumberland – Bamburgh

[ Photo Blog #56 ]

The coast of Northumbria on the North-East of England bordering with Scotland is atmospheric and highly impressive.  It was described by Janet Street Porter on ITV’s ‘Britain’s Best View’ as having ‘a coastline ravaged by nature and steeped in history.  There’s a story round every single corner … you’re not just looking at a view, you’re standing in the footsteps of kings, and all on one of the most dramatic coastlines nature has to offer.’ 

Bamburgh Map

I have visited many times, usually on the way to or from my tours of Scotland.  For me, one of the highlights of a visit to this part of the country is the small town of BAMBURGH. The following photographs I took there in 2003 on one of these visits when I stayed in this historic town for several days.

Bamburgh is a stunningly attractive small town within the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.   In fact it is even perhaps just a village, with a population of only about  450.  It is dominated by its magnificently imposing Castle, once the seat of the former Kings of Northumbria, that can be seen for miles around.  It would be hard not to be impressed by the sheer size of the Castle and there is so much to tell about its long and amazing history.  On the seaward side of the castle and town there are impressive stretches of pure golden sandy beaches with rolling sand dunes and views across the sea to both the Holy Island of Lindisfarne and to the Farne Islands.   The town also houses a museum dedicated to its great heroine, Grace Darling.

To read the story of Grace Darling and of how her heroism caught the attention of the Victorian public, click on this link . . .   The Story Of Grace Darling

Bamburgh00

Bamburgh Castle from the North Sea shore

Bamburgh01

Looking eastwards towards the castle from the town

Bamburgh02

The defensive landward side walls of Bamburgh Castle in the evening sun

Bamburgh03

The seaward walls of Bamburgh Castle from the seashore

Bamburgh04

Looking north to the castle across the coastline dunes

Bamburgh05

The beach of the North Sea at Bamburgh

Bamburgh06

Looking eastwards across the North Sea from the sand dunes

Bamburgh07

Driftwood marker on Bamburgh beach

Bamburgh08

The Bamburgh Sandman (See my earlier blog of October 29th 2016 at: The SANDMAN   )

Bamburgh09

This elaborate cenotaph commemorates the life of the early 19th Century lifeboat heroine, Grace Darling, who is buried nearby.

Bamburgh10

Bamburgh rooftops and castle battlements outlined against the rising sun

Bamburgh11

The Castle at Sunrise 

Bamburgh12

Sunrise over the North Sea from Bamburgh

bar-green

 

BamburghCastle

Bamburgh Castle . . . Pen and Wash – WHB:  2014   ©

 

banner3b

Popular Opinion

 

ItWasMe

From Reddit (detail) – Sep., 2017

“Popular opinion is the greatest lie in the world. ”  ― Thomas Carlyle   Thomas Carlyle

bar-yellow

WAS IT ME?

Three faces of the truth
Did, Didn’t, Might-Have-Done
Owned up only to being honest

DID . . .

Ok
Hands up
I admit it
You aren’t wrong
It was me
I am guilty
You’ve got me bang to rights

DIDN’T

It wasn’t me
You are mistaken
Not guilty
I deny it all
I was never there
I couldn’t have done it
I have a watertight alibi

MIGHT-HAVE-DONE

I don’t know
It might have been me
It could have been me
But – what does it matter
I don’t care
You don’t care
No-one cares

JUDGEMENT

Being economical with the truth
Right or wrong
True or false
Truth will out
Justice will triumph
 
Or so says popular opinion 
The greatest lie in the world

bar-yellow

 

Nearly A Limerick

(No.54 of my short poems)
bar-yellow
A bit of fun to start the week – a Near-Limerick by Gray Joliffe … reproduced from a recent issue of the Daily Mail.   Graham Jolliffe is an illustrator and cartoonist. His work includes ‘Chloe & Co’, and the Wicked Willie character that first appeared in the book, ‘Man’s Best Friend’ in 1984.
chloe&co-limerick
bar-yellow

 

A Broken Heart

handsonmyheart3

‘Hands On Heart’ Photoshopped  Photo: WHB – Sep., 2017

PALPITATIONS

When palpitations
of the heart
start
that sudden
gulp
that gasp for air

is it love
or lust
or life itself
forcing me to face
my future

that unwonted throb
unwanted gasp
those ensuing reverberations
erupted flutterings
flip-floppings

before I am returned
to that steady beat
that controlled thump
which promises
certitude

My heart
that part
of me
held dear
so near
yet no longer
steady
nor ready
to yearn
to long for
and to desire
to allow free reign
to emotion

now caution
rules
demands attention
ectopic beating
atrial contraction
call it whatever
heart-hiccups
love-stutters
heebie-jeebies
screaming habdabs
all one

palpitations
once a passion
now a symptom

a broken heart
is not
just love forgone
it is
a life in peril

 

chinesebanner

 

The Isle Of Wight

[ Photo Blog #54 ]

IoW-Map

A photographic trip today to England’s delightful off-shore Isle of Wight, set, at its shortest distance, just 3 miles off the southern coast in the English Channel.    In size, the island is approximately 25 by 13 miles, and had a population in 2010 of 140,500.   The photographs below were taken by me some while ago – during the lovely summer of 2003.
The island is known particularly for its beaches and seafront promenades such as those at Ryde, Shanklin, Sandown and south-facing Ventnor.  Dinosaur remains and fossils have been found in several areas.  At the island’s westernmost point, The Needles are 3 huge, white chalk rocks, with a nearby 19th-century lighthouse positioned to warn approaching shipping.

 

Alum01

Alum Bay … The cliff chair lift sets off for the beach

Alum02

. . . approaching the cliff top

Alum03

. . . descending to the beach

Alum04

. . . where it ends on a jetty extending into the sea.

Alum05

The Needles from the cliffs above Alum Bay

Alum06

A closer view of The Needles and the Lighthouse

IoW08-Seaview

The Beach and Battery Inn at Seaview on the island’s East Coast

IoW09-Seaview

Outside the Battery Inn

IoW10Ryde-Puckpool

Seafront chalets at Puckpool near Ryde 

IoW11BradingWaxworks

The axeman earns his keep at the Waxworks at Brading – now, I believe, closed.

IoW12-OsborneHse

Queen Victoria’s holiday escape – Osborne House on the island’s east coast.

IoW13OsborneHse

View from Osborne House eastwards to the Solent

IoW14-VentnorBeach

On the south-facing beach at Ventnor

IoW15-Blackgang Chine

Blackgang Chine – an area subject to frequent coastal erosion.

 

bar-green

MOONSTRUCK

moonstruck

MOONSTRUCK

In the middle
of the night
when the moon
is at its height

I’m given
to fanciful excesses
about pretty girls
with golden tresses

Capricious ladies
small and sweet
built-up hair
and dainty feet

Lock their looks
on my leering eyes
and I’m enthralled
anaesthetised

I fall so hard
I cannot rise
it’s my golden apple
the major prize

But always a mirage
a passing dream
just one more fancy
it would seem

My life’s story
told in wishes
always someone
else’s kisses.

 

chinesebanner

 

Sometimes

EnglishDawn1991

‘Dawn’ … Pen & Wash – WHB  ©

 

SOMETIMES

Sometimes
at first tread of dawn
I sense the dampness of the dew
as it cossets the grass to refresh my world

Sometimes
in the morning’s glow
I feel the sun’s insistence
on bringing me joy for another day

Sometimes
amidst the midday murmur
I hear the singing of my garden’s flowers
intent on making their presence known to me

Sometimes
in the heat of the afternoon
I feel the bee’s ardent resolve
its need to garner the fragrant lavender’s love

Sometimes
in the evening’s stillness
I am aware of the blackbird’s impulse
to trill its sugared song to thrill my enfeebled soul

Sometimes
in the dead of night
I am awoken by the moon’s resolve
to lighten my darkness with its lambent glow

And sometimes
When life’s burdens are upon me
I respond to Nature’s showcased beauty
With renewed resolve to remain a beneficiary of such grace

 

bar-curl4

Carpe Diem

(No.53 of my favourite short poems) 

carpe diem

Not in fact a poem this week, but an inspirational  monologue on the significance of writing poetry and of the importance of  ‘carpe diem’  (translated from the Latin as ‘seize the day’), or the importance of making the most of the present time before it is too late.  The thesis is presented in the film ‘Dead Poets’ Society’ in a speech to his pupils by the charismatic English teacher, Mr Keating, who taught his pupils about life, not just about poetry and the English language.   Mr Keating was played in the film by Robin Williams.

From ‘Dead Poets Society’ … screenplay written by Tom Schulman

Mr. Keating:

“In my class, you will learn to think for yourselves again. You will learn to savor words and languages. No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.  I see that look in Mr Pitts’ eyes like 19th century literature has nothing to do with going to business school or medical school, right?  Maybe.  You may agree and think yes, we should study our Mr. Pritcher and learn our rhyme and meter and go quietly about the business of achieving other ambitions.  Well, I have a secret for you.  Huddle Up…Huddle UP!  We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute.  We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race.  And the human race is filled with passion.  Medicine, law, business these are all noble pursuits necessary to sustain life.  But poetry, beauty, romance, and love; these are what we stay alive for.  To quote from Whitman “Oh me, Oh life! … of the question of these recurring;  of the endless trains of the faithless … of cities filled with the foolish;  what good amid these? Oh me, Oh life.”  “Answer…that you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. …  What will your verse be?” 

Robin Williams - Dead Poets Society

bar-yellow

Watch “Robin Williams – What will your verse be? – excerpt from Dead Poets Society” on YouTube  . . .

Mr Keating’s speech from ‘Dead Poets’ Society’

bar-yellow

Thomas H. Schulman ( 1950 – 2016) is an American screenwriter best known for his semi-autobiographical screenplay Dead Poets Society. The film won the Best Screenplay Academy Award in 1989, and was nominated for Best Picture and Best Director.  (From Wikipedia)

Robin McLaurin Williams (1951 – 2014) was an American stand-up comedian and actor. Starting as a stand-up comedian in San Francisco and Los Angeles in the mid-1970s, he is credited with leading San Francisco’s comedy renaissance.  (From Wikipedia)

bar-yellow