Three Condensed Fairy Tales

Little Red Riding Hood

LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD

Never visit your dear old nan
Without a brave wood-cutting man,
For when she smiles and shows her teeth
You’ll find that sly old wolf beneath;
But your woodcutter he’ll protect you,
He’ll tear that mask off and will axe him,
He will not pause to even ask ‘im
What he’s doing in your nan’s nightie;
Transvestite wolves are most unsightly.

 

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 goldilocks

GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

 Goldie trespassed in the Three Bear’s house,
Thinking “I’ll be quiet as a meadow mouse.”
She sampled all the porridge she found,
Then had a quiet snoop around.
Three chairs, three beds, she sampled all;
Soon fell asleep, curled up so small.
The bears returned, the baby bawled,
At all the damage they were appalled.
Goldie awoke, she screamed in pain,
And never saw those bears again.

 

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 Rumplestiltskin

RUMPELSTILTSKIN

Her father boasted to the king,
His daughter was so gifted
That she could spin the meanest straw
To make gold unassisted.

But this she clearly could not do,
Until a dwarf agreed
To help her if she’d give her word
Her baby to him to concede.

This she woefully had to do
To keep her father’s word.
So sad she was and out of sorts,
As the love within her stirred.

The only way to recover her child,
The dwarf then to her said,
Was to find out what his true name was,
Thus stem the tears she shed.

She travelled far, she travelled wide,
Seeking his name to find,
But every name she tried was wrong,
No one could ease her mind.

Until she heard a voice one night
Within a woodland glade.
“Rumplestiltskin, that I am”,
It sang while music played.

Indeed it was her little man,
Rejoicing in his glory,
To think that he had won his prize
And thus would end this story.

But he’d been rumbled in his pride;
Of justice – no miscarriage,
For she had got her baby back,
And the King’s rich hand in marriage.

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Illustrations: By WHB . . . Pen & Ink – January 2018   ©

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West Cornwall #3

[  Photo Blog # 74  ]

Below is a further selection of the many photographs I took on my visits to South-West Cornwall and the Lizard Peninsular between 2006 and 2008.

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Beach at St.Ives

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A good day for yachting at St.Ives

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Will You Marry Me’  (No question mark!).  I trust Julie was pleased.

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Porthgwidden Beach, St.Ives

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The view from Tate St. Ives Art Gallery

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View from the Church of St Just in Roseland

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View from Trebah Gardens over to the Helford River

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View from Trebah Gardens out to the English Channel

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Another View from Trebah Gardens

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A Tree (species unknown to me) in Trelissick Gardens

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View from Trelissick Gardens towards the River Fal

The Red Chesters

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THE  RED  CHESTERS

“Shall I collect the red chesters?”,
The caretaker said to me.
He’d said it so often I didn’t demur;
I grimaced and just let it be.

For him to take care of a school,
That was a daily trial.
He’d disappear for hours on end;
Complaints just met with denial.

‘Thruppence short of half a crown’,
Was how we described him then;
But that was being so unkind
To a minnow amongst men.

He shuffled around from place to place
Carrying brush and pan,
Picking up what others dropped,
Doing it because he can.

When needed to open a stockroom door
He went to find the key.
Two hours later he appeared
To set the prisoner free.

He stoked the boiler from time to time
To keep the heating on,
But never remembered to turn it off
When wintertime had gone.

He swept the playground with a broom
The way he’d always done.
You couldn’t see the difference
From when he had begun.

Cleaning out the long jump pit
Was just a task too far.
He couldn’t tell a pile of sand
From half a ton of tar.

And as for adding up I found,
He wasn’t the wisest of men.
When asked to count milk bottles up
He could never get past ten.

I asked him once how many chairs
He’d set out in the hall.
He told me, about ten rows, plus two,
He’d put against the wall.

And as for cleaning out latrines,
He didn’t find that easy.
He couldn’t wash a basin out
Without him feeling queasy.

So why, you ask, did I appoint him,
Choose him before another?
Sorry, but I do admit,
He was my dearest brother.

 

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N.B.  ‘Red Chesters’ is the way some people mispronounce the word ‘Registers’, which are the daily attendance records maintained in each class of UK schools.

 

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Sea  Light

Katie Sarra-Seascape (1)

 

SEA  LIGHT

 

As the swell of the sea reaches the shore
Waves wilfully break on the beckoning beach;
Light catches the colours riding the crests,
Blushing in red, in pink and in peach.

While above as we watch in reverence and awe,
The marmalade sky sugars the view,
Embracing the split twixt heaven and earth,
Splitting the vibrant view into two.

In such scenes as this all life gains a meaning,
For life and desire reside in the sea;
The beauty of nature is here embodied,
Bringing contentment and stillness to me.

Katie Sarra-Seascape (2)

 

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My poem originates from a consideration of the oil paintings of Devon artist, Katie Sarra.  Many of Katie’s paintings present visions of the sea in its many different moods, still, turbulent, calm , moody.   Many of these seascapes are displayed in her gallery facing the River Daw as it runs through the Devonshire seaside town of Dawlish.  Her gallery is named ‘SEA LIGHT’.   It is a great joy to spend time in this beautiful gallery which doubles as a thriving cafe and tea rooms.  Two photographs of the gallery front below . . .

 

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Sara Teasdale – ‘A Winter Night’

 [  No.70 of my favourite short poems  ]

Acquainted With The Night

Winter Night … Pen & Wash – WHB

A Winter Night

My windowpane is starred with frost,
The world is bitter cold tonight,
The moon is cruel, and the wind
Is like a two-edged sword to smite.

God pity all the homeless ones,
The beggars pacing to and fro.
God pity all the poor tonight
Who walk the lamp lit streets of snow.

My room is like a bit of June,
Warm and close-curtained fold on fold,
But somewhere, like a homeless child,
My heart is crying in the cold.

 

by Sara Teasdale

 


NOTES:  (adapted from Wikipedia) . . . 

Sara Teasdale (1884 – 1933) was an American lyric poet.  She was born Sarah Trevor Teasdale in St. Louis, Missouti, and used the name Sara Teasdale Filsinger after her marriage in 1914.  . . .  From 1911 to 1914  Teasdale was courted by several men, including the poet Vachel Lindsay, who was truly in love with her but did not feel that he could provide enough money or stability to keep her satisfied.  (In 1914) she chose to marry Ernst Filsinger, a long-time admirer of her poetry  . . .  In 1918 she won a Pulitzer Prize for her 1917 poetry collection ‘Love Songs’  . . .  In 1933, she died by suicide, overdosing on sleeping pills.  Lindsay had died by suicide two years earlier.


 

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Your Country Needs You

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Doug, a dear friend of mine, died recently at the age of 95.  In 1943, at the age of eighteen, he was drafted into the Royal Air Force and trained as a pilot. In the latter stages of World War Two he was posted to the Cocos Islands in the East Indian Ocean from where he carried out several missions.  At the end of the Far East War in September, 1945, he took part in the relief of Changi prison, the notorious Prisoner of War camp in Singapore where the Japanese interred many of their prisoners.

I have written this poem in an attempt to understand something of the situation which he and many other young men faced in those precarious times.   

TO  DOUG

Given a bomber at twenty one
A young man’s coming of age
Told to use it wisely
On the far east’s war-torn stage

A Lancaster
A lethal gift
To war’s sad sorry tale
An airborne killer
Sky high thriller
Death following in its trail

You grow up quickly in a war
No marking time
No second thoughts
Prevarication precluded
No time for rage
Get on with it
With reality engage

This his introduction
No subterfuge
With minimal instruction
No simulation
Taught to deliver destruction
Reality games now

Yes, young man,
Your country needs you
To fill the gaps left by those
Who bought it
– For their country –
Before you do the same

But, chin up
Soldier on
stiff lip and all that
Who knows
You may be home by Christmas

 

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Ground crews of No.356 Squadron RAF based at the Brown’s West Island, Cocos Islands, celebrate on hearing the news of the surrender of Japan.  (Published under the terms and conditions of the Imperial War Museum Non Commercial Licence, including use of the attribution statement specified by IWM. For this item, that is: © IWM (CI 1557)

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West Cornwall # 2

[  Photo Blog # 73  ]

Below is a further selection of the many photographs I took on my visits to South-West Cornwall and the Lizard Peninsular between 2006 and 2008.

Cornwall Map

Map of South-West Cornwall

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Low Tide – The Harbour at Mousehole (pronounced “Mowzel”) 

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Low Tide – The Harbour at Mousehole – close-up view

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On the Lizard Peninsular – Mullion Cove – 1

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Mullion Cove – 2

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Mullion Cove – 3

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The Lizard Peninsular – Beach at Poldhu

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Beach at Poldhu – Shoe Rack

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Beach at Poldhu

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Early Evening  at Poldhu Beach

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Poldhu Beach

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Poldhu Beach

 

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The coast and the Marconi mPoldhu

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Poldhu – The site is famous as the location of Poldhu Wireless Station, Guglielmo Marconi’s transmitter for the first transatlantic radio message on 12 December 1901 to his temporary receiving station on Signal Hill, St.John’s, Newfoundland. 

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Poldhu – Marconi’s Commemoration Plaque

 

He is Gone

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A Quote from that great  English comedienne, actress, singer and songwriter, screenwriter, producer and director, Victoria Wood, who sadly passed away in 2016 at the age of 63 . . .

“In India, if a man dies, the widow flings herself onto the funeral pyre; if a man dies in this country, the woman just drags herself into the kitchen and says, ‘Seventy-two baps, Connie, you slice, I’ll spread’ “

From: ‘Great British Wit’ by Rosemary Jarski  (Ebury Press 2009)

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Pull the stops out
He is gone;
Start a new life,
Don’t dwell upon

What once was quick,
It now is dead,
Life starts afresh;
He always said,

“When I am gone
Do not be sad,
Start a new life
And be glad.

Get out the glad rags,
Have a party,
You’ll be fine now,
Hale and hearty.

Ready to start
A brand new life,
A brand new woman,
An experienced wife.

Time to sparkle,
Forget the past;
Your Prince awaits you,
Free at last.

For when I’m safely
In my box,
No need then
To stop all the clocks.”

 

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My Christmas Age

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I am one Christmas older than my age
And I thought this gave to me a great advantage;
But of course that is not true,
Because it’s just the same for you;
Think about it, then assess the damage.

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A.E. Housman – ‘Bredon Hill’

[  No.69 of my favourite short poems  ]

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‘On Bredon Hill’ . . .  Sketch – WHB: 1991

Bredon Hill is in Worcestershire, England, in the Vale of Evesham.  This poem of A.E. Housman’s, which he called ‘Bredon Hill’, is taken from his collection of poems, ‘A Shropshire Lad’ published in 1896.

Housman (1859-1936) was an English poet and scholar, whose verse exerted a strong influence on later poets.  The tone of this particular poem shows a preoccupation with loss and, as such, mirrors the tone of many of his poems.   It tells of lost love, contrasting powerfully the ‘happy noise’ of the church bells which brought joy and happy memories of youthful exuberence at the start of the poem, with the single tone of the funeral bell with which the poem ends.

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Bredon Hill    (From “A Shropshire Lad”)

by A.E. Housman

In summertime on Bredon 
The bells they sound so clear; 
Round both the shires they ring them 
In steeples far and near, 
A happy noise to hear. 

Here of a Sunday morning 
My love and I would lie, 
And see the coloured counties, 
And hear the larks so high 
About us in the sky.

The bells would ring to call her 
In valleys miles away; 
“Come all to church, good people; 
Good people come and pray.” 
But here my love would stay. 

And I would turn and answer 
Among the springing thyme, 
“Oh, peal upon our wedding, 
And we will hear the chime, 
And come to church in time.”

But when the snows at Christmas 
On Bredon top were strown, 
My love rose up so early 
And stole out unbeknown 
And went to church alone.

They tolled the one bell only, 
Groom there was none to see, 
The mourners followed after, 
And so to church went she, 
And would not wait for me. 

The bells they sound on Bredon, 
And still the steeples hum, 
“Come all to church, good people,” 
Oh, noisy bells, be dumb; 
I hear you, I will come.

 

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