IN THAT OTHER LIFE

Take me back to those distant days
When time stood boldly still;
The burbling beck flowed green and clean
Beside the bellowing forge;
When each day brought new hope
And the healing world invited me in.

With that street gang
I fearlessly fought,
Braved the imminent threats.
Regrets nor desire for retribution
Clouded no horizon
And danger held no thrall.


Little I knew or even thought
Of what new years might hold.
Each day brought its gratitude,
Each birthday took no toll…
No future promise was worth a penny
Beyond tomorrow’s stretch.


But now, even in my clouded vision,
I see with unblinkered sight,
The past held all my future
Up to its proffered light,
And could I but have known it then
I nothing would now overwrite.

Coffin of Iron

iron coffin1

Photo:  WHB – Somerset, 2019   ©

COFFIN  OF IRON

He had died of his wrinkles
Liver spots and age lines
Gnarled and creviced skin
Dusted and singed
By his Lifetime’s fevered furnace
His lungs smoke-charred
Legacy of a thousand undoused fires

As old as the hills he trod
As the bubbling beck he bled
I see six stalwart pall bearers
Hard as ancient twisted nails
Arise from their bed of iron
Raise the dead-weight anvil
His final ferrous coffin
To shoulder height
Begin a steady passage
Through the leaden winter streets
Beneath those snow-clad Northern Hills
Their shrouded clouded sky
Seemingly forever draped
Atop the silent iron tomb

Carried through the dark gate
To its final resting place
Fitting memorial to a smith’s life
Gifted again to the ironstone earth

bar-green

In memoriam: Harold Booth, Yorkshire blacksmith & farrier; 1909 – 1987

From a son to his father

bar-green

Reverie #9: Echoes of the Past

Roseberry

Pen & Ink – WHB … Northern Hills

I need to listen to that hidden sound of silence
the murmur that thrills lost souls
and as it swells
reverberates among those distant heathered hills

I crave to hear it burgeon on that lonely land
that misty moor of distant memory
where dwell lush images of the Green Hill
of the High Cliff
the Cass Rock
the Apple Garth
and the bubbling burbling beck
its red waters blooding its banks
with reminders of its ferrous track

A distant memory
rising from deep beneath those ancient northern hills
born of Nature’s cycle
birthed in ironstone
and nurtured in those recurring dreams of my youth
and the lasting images of my old age

Bar-Rose

A Walk Through The Woods To The Sea

cascade creek environment fern

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

A Walk Through The Woods To The Sea

As I breathe in the wild garlic woods
I resurrect a memory.
In bursts of fiery vision
Both eyes and nostrils
Recall the path
Descending without haste
From cornfield to woodland dell
To fern and rill
Beneath the high arches
Of the viaduct
Soft tread over the bracken-strewn turf
Beside the bubbling beck
To meet the waiting waves
On that bleached beach
Promising not only present joy
But with purpose
Though without foreknowledge
Building a cornerstone 
Of my being
Nature’s Marble Halls
Erected to sustain life
To ensure that richness of experience
This continuity of pleasure
Which brings meaning now
When I had thought
Only the memory remained

Wild-garlic

 

The Beck

beck01

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

bar152

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

bar152

THE BLACK HOUSE

The Black House By The Beck

‘The Black House’ … This house still stands in a North Yorkshire country town – tarred in black still, as it has been for at least the past 100 years. Photo – WHB 2016

THE BLACK HOUSE

The house stood alone
beside the beck
its walls pitched in black
ebony
against the skyline
tarred
against the weather
cold and dark
somehow so sinister
but housing
a family of seven

Fortunes told
fortunes lost
life’s foragers
five kids
one my age
runny nosed urchins
unwashed
unabashed
‘Throwers of words
As they did stones’

Banned from playing with
such snot- noses
yet,
from time to time
I did
their home a dark place
a cluttered life
midst the family debris
best left undisturbed

Mused
amused
and yet afraid
in such alien space
I shrivelled
and fretted

Only outdoors
in the wood-burn
tarred
air of their yard
there was a happiness
I could recognise
participate in
hiding in the woodpile
humping logs
to build a den
sticks
goading the dog
encouraging
the excitement of his barks
teasing the tangled
knotted
sheepdog blackness
of  his coat
loving the illicit thrills
on offer at
The Black House

Before running
the beck-side wall
to return to
my own good fortune
warm and bright
fire
forge
and furnace –
Red
Not Black.

Beck-side

The Beck