Ars Poetica – A Licence to Versify

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Pen & Wash – ‘Herrick’ … WHB   (1956)

Archibald MacLeish  ends his poem ‘Ars Poetica’ with the words

“A poem should not mean
But be”

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Licence to Versify

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My poem exists
Not because
But in spite of me
A virgin birth
Wrenched from an empty womb
An absent father
Mother-smothered

A moment’s thought
spilt words
simultaneously apt
yet contradictory 
In black
On shaded parchment
Devoid of sense
Yet full of purpose
Intent on birth
But clutched by death

Flying free yet
tightly bound
A stillbirth
Suspiciously silent
A jewel in jet
Contradicting sense
By being senseless

Licensed to thrill
For good or ill

 

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A New Day

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Morning Sun’ Pen and Wash … WHB – 2016   ©

As the morning warms its shoes,
As the dark gives way to dawn,
So new day begins its tale,
Yet another story born.

Every moment, every day,
Bring new memories again;
Similar but none the same,
Some of joy, others of pain.

Life is made of memories.
When each life has been and gone
Let us all remember this –
Memories are what live on.

 

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Birth Of A Poem

Herrick-1957

Pen & Wash  … WHB 2019

Birth Of A Poem

This poem
and its ill-connected words
do not
yet exist

These lines
part-formed and immature
struggle for release
from their birth pangs
strain to express themselves
in meaning
to say what they want to say

Seeking existence
from the seed of an idea
knowing what is needed
but fighting for form and feature
longing to tell its tale and sing
to live
to feel
to be vibrant
cool and yet tense

Always promising more than it can give
allowing its feelings to weep
its thoughts to shudder and provoke
to breathe a bitter breath
to both calm and to excite

Above all
striving to be worthy
in love with what it hears
bringing meaning to an idea
and from its birth
to bring into the world
an infant ode
wanting
hoping
demanding to grow into
a thing of understanding and beauty

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Reverie #5: On Birth

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

I remember Birth . . .

Warm womb,
emerging
into cold January,
suckled and succoured
into the life
and death 
of a warring world.

Heedless 
of pain 
of worry,
my unconsciousness
nestled in love,
cocooned in blessings,
future undetermined
but on course for
the perdition of
being ordinary.

One more mouth
to be fed,
one more life to be led;
another census tick.
Reconstituted dust
become bone,
flesh and vital blood,
to be both burden
and blessing. 

Only now,
a life lived,
aware that it is
irrecoverable
here to be forgotten.

Until resurrected
in whatever next there may be.

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My Dancing Heart

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My heart has danced
has trembled to the music of time
has rejoiced in the moment
throbbed in both joy and pain

I’ve moved to the music
done all that
travelled where no one has been before
listened to the wind
whispered to the trees
sighed with the sea
in its motion-hungry fervour
and trembled with the waves
as they shuddered towards the shore

I have given my time to the poetry of life
sung its stanzas
rhymed with its lusting lilt
in tune with its echoing cadences

Now in the fullness of my seasons
I recline and muse
over time passed by

Is it to be experienced again
does renewal with the Spring follow
perhaps
in another life
whilst this one fades

The gaps which are left
the shreds in the curtain of my hopes
tear through the seams of my mind
crossing the border into
the parallel worlds in which
my existence lives on
matching my movements
mirroring the moments
since birth in the old
to death in the  now
thus bringing on the new

And my heart now murmurs
to itself
in mockery and mime
bridging the chasm
that separates this world from the next

 

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When I Am Gone

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‘Graveyard Moon’ … WHB -Pen  Wash 2017

WHEN I AM GONE

 

When I am gone
And you are left.
Be not afraid,
Be not bereft.

When you are old
And I am gone,
You’ll love the moon
That shines upon

My midnight grave,
Our place of tryst;
For though I’m gone
I still exist

In memory still;
The moon that shone
Upon our birth
Still shines for us

… when I am gone.

 

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The Birth Of A Poem

[ Prompted by Davy D’s recent question on the GoDogGo Cafe website, entitled . . .    ‘Are You A Poet?’  ]

 

Poetry Breathe Life

THE BIRTH OF A POEM

 

Generated from the furnace
Of a fervent mind
A poem defines itself
As a jewel
Precisely cut
Precious and lustrous
Poised above a ring of gold
Encircling thoughts
And reflecting
In its faceted faces
Feelings and emotions
Otherwise ill-expressed

The poet
The visionary
Frames the template
Bringing life to contemplation
Substance to inspiration
A peasant in the fields of the imagination
Cultivating conceits
Ideas and concepts
Labouring at the word-face
Crafting thoughts into expressed truths
Weaving feelings into reasoned words
Bringing all to fruition in
The gemstone of creativity

 

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No Blue Plaque

NO BLUE PLAQUE

No blue plaque here
but
in that house
in that room
I was conceived.
In the same house
in the same room
then I was born.

First child
Only child
Undistinguished house

undistinguished room
undistinguished birth.
But blessed with
the Conquering
Blood and Fire
General’s name.

It had to be that way.
Aren’t all births
distinguished only by their
unglamorous spectacle?
Not something I asked for
nor desired.

No regrets,
but there were
Consequences.
Oh, yes.
Eighty years
of consequences.
My history
My responsibility
My river’s ride
through childhood rapids
to maturity’s turmoil
and turbulence.
Becalmed now
in dispiriting dotage
its stillnesses
its infirmity and nostalgia.

What follows
eventually
as I merge
with the looming ocean

waiting
to receive me?
Memories fade for me
yet I know
some continuity remains
where these same images
 have been handed on

to those loved ones
who will remember.

But now
in moments of tranquility
my responsibility
for my past
presses hard,
until those times when
 my love surges
to outweigh my guilt,
and again
for good or ill
my scarred soul

returns to its past
and wonders.

… and time treads on
as I stare at the window,
blinds shielding its secrets
Now
just as they did then
So long ago.

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All 3 photographs … WHB – Yorkshire (2016) and Sussex (2009), UK

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VERITY

‘VERITY’ is the name given to a stainless steel and bronze statue created by Damien Hirst, the English artist, entrepreneur, and art collector. He is the most prominent member of the group known as the Young British Artists, who dominated the art scene in the UK during the 1990s.

The 20.25-metre tall sculpture stands on the pier at the entrance to the harbour in Ilfracombe, Devon, looking out over the Bristol Channel towards South Wales.  Hirst lives close to the town. He describes his work as a “modern allegory of truth and justice”.  The statue depicts a pregnant woman holding aloft a sword while carrying the scales of justice and standing on a pile of law books.  Half of the sculpture shows the internal anatomy of the pregnant woman, with the foetus clearly visible. (adapted from Wikipedia)

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‘Verity’ by Damien Hirst, Ilfracombe, Devon … Photograph … WHB – 2015

VERITY

Pregnant,
Opened up, exposed,
Exhibit Number One

I am birth corroborated,
Prying eyes sated,
Privacy crushed

Paraded for the populace
To ponder,
To pity

They ogle,
Excoriate,
Turn witty

Solicitudes are rare;
Their taunts I bear;
Reproofs I must abide

And yet, I am the truth
About how it is
To be free

My brandished threat
Repays the debt
My innocence holds

My stance, defiance,
Thwarts compliance,
Demands a voice

But to keep hope alive,
Live long, survive,
I must be exposed

Must confront
The brutal sea,
The relentless incoming tide

No chance repose;
What end my woes;
Torment inside

My frightened stare
Torches the tides,
Seeking solace

Whilst emblazoned in light
Against the torrid sky
The world gawps

I must bear
The stares
And cry

I am torn apart;
My pain is there
For all to see.

In a world that demands
To know,
To know everything

The truth is there
For all to see,
To verify that I
Am VERITY

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‘Verity’ by Damien Hirst, Ilfracombe, Devon … Photo WHB – 2015

 

In order to give a clearer picture of the statue and it’s position on the seafront at Ilfracombe, I have placed a few of my own photographs of ‘Verity’ in the gallery below … Click on any tile to start a slide show . . .