'Packhorse Bridge - Stokesley,Yorkshire - Bas Relief wood carving

Aiding Access
Tying Terrains
Serving States
Linking Lovers 

Binding Borders
Attaching Allies  

Heralding Heroes
Binding Believers
Enabling Escapees
Nurturing Nations
Trading Trackways
Creating Comrades
Mending Marriages
Merging Merchants
Following Frontiers
Uniting Unbelievers
Creating Conquerors
Delivering Destinies
Allowing Assemblies 

Nourishing Networks
Connecting Countries
Exacerbating Enemies
Empowering Explorers
Engineering Encounters 

Inculcating Interrelations 
Combining Confederations
Constructing Concordances
Regenerating Relationships
Perpetuating Possessiveness

Perpetuating Possessiveness



The two pictures are of ‘the ancient Packhorse Bridge, in Stokesley, N’Yorkshire, England – the first a bas relief wood carving, the second a recent photograph.

Why Do Humans Have To Die?

Photo by Buu011fra Dou011fan on

there is a far distant world
where the re-engineering

of each decaying life
is possible and exists
a parallel but altogether dissimilar world
one of unpressured existence
alien to our own experience of life
where the need to procreate
does not exist

at the point of that world
being brought into existence
an alternate logic simply decreed that
it was designed in a different way

for what is the logic
of there being a need to procreate
of the need for mortals to be mortal
why can’t the spirit of each dying body
within its given species
by migration into another form
just itself vacated by some restless consciousness
and then

by a designed re-birth as a reconstituted being
produce a revitalised life-form

thus the world’s population would remain stable
but then, at the point of creation
there would have been the necessity
to create a given number of entities
which could never change

no need to provide an urge to reproduce
coupled with
the necessary elimination
of death by chance
by accident
by disease
or by design
no impetus to passion or to lust
and so – no need to die
to waste away
only a moving on
a transmigration into another form

would that this cannot be so


underwater photography of ocean

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on

For each separate creation –
Insect, fish, animal, bird, tree, flower and human, 
Flea, flounder, fox, fulmar, fir, fuschia,  and Fijian, 
Hornet, hake, hound, hen, holly, honeysuckle and Hindu, 
Existence is all

Each is I,
All are me
Each existing at the very centre 
Of Creation’s Great Scheme
However minute
However massive
Existing at that centre
All significant
And with relevance
To me and only me

Even meaning exists only for me
I am the great centre
The one and only focal point of existence
Uniquely grounded
Connected to all else only by that uniqueness

Connected yet disconnected
Both selfish and selfless
Both dead and alive


The Creative Spark

red lighted candle

Photo by Nubia Navarro (nubikini) on

The Creative Spark


A single spark began my tale
From an instant of repose. 
The throb of creation stirred within
And burgeoning life arose. 

The candle spluttered into life
As the flame that lit it died. 
It gathered strength and grew apace, 
Its feathered flame untied. 

Flickering gently in still air
Until it caught the breeze, 
Its flame intensified and grew, 
Spreading itself with ease. 

Dispelling gloom, its wholesome light, 
The dark intent to smother. 
The reflected child of one bright spark
And parent of another. 

I thought how works the simile 
To pass its blood line on?
One flame still burning strong and bright,
The other dead and gone. 

Never quite to be extinguished
Parent and child enriched.
The spark that gave my poem life
Gone now but still exists.





Summer Sand



( multum in parvo )


My hand thrust deep into the sand
held there to enjoy the warmth
then slowly
cupped fingers
rose to the surface

Captured universes
Stellar galaxies
emerging into the salty air
The slightest shift
in Creation’s framework
to my design


And as I straightened
to a flat palm
And then gently spread
those same fingers
The sand
to return to its kind
Just a residue
of grains
still adhering
to my warmth


however small
I had disturbed the Earth
Re-designed The natural world
Left my mark on creation
Forever in its debt



[  © WHB . . . With my grateful thanks to Canadian artist, Alma Kerr,
for the inspiration and the original photographs ]

Chocolate Words

chocolate words2


I love words
in the way
I love chocolate.
Their lingering taste
Their whispering style
They way they trip off
Slip off
the tongue
Words to bear in mind
Leaving such pleasures behind

And always
That thrill
That musical trill
That sensuous sound
Discarding meaning
But leaving
The desire for more
The poet’s drug-store
Treasure Island

I’d like a word with you
A word in your ear
So I’ll be wordy-wise too
take  some words
and run with them

I heard a word
One day in May
I heard it say
Come here and play
So undeterred
A word occurred
Third word
The word purred
Absurd word
‘Twas mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird
Mimus polyglottos
glottal stop
or “glo’al stop”

You see where it can take me
Tangential thought
Verbiage onslaught
Here, here!

Words abound
Words of wisdom
Words of truth
Their singing sound
stirred, blurred, slurred,
So play on words
Herds of words
Let their joy sing
and let them bring
Creation’s wellspring
and thus … let the welkin ring




I will sleep all night in your arms
Then whilst the day is dawning
We will wake and gaze out to sea
And together
Welcome back the morning

We’ll watch as the seagulls broil and fuss
As they dart over the incoming tide
Hear the call of the geese
Soaring over the breaking waves
Their stately beating wings
Presaging their arrival
Their fervour undiminished
As they return to the seagrass
The meadows of their dreams
To feed and live on

Such images reveal to me
Confirm my heart’s content
That life and nature exist
Perhaps their sole purpose
To ratify love
For each other
For humanity
Love for nature
And for all of creation


Ted Hughes – ‘Hawk Roosting’

(No.63 of my favourite short poems)

Ted Hughes, born in Yorkshire in 1930, was Poet Laureate in the last years of the 20th Century, from 1984 until he died in 1998 at the age of 68.   His tempestuous marriage to the American poet, Sylvia Plath, lasted only six years.   Hughes explored this difficult relationship in his last major published work, ‘Birthday Letters’.

As much of his work demonstrates, Hughes was intensely interested in and affected by the natural world.  In ‘Hawk Roosting’, one of his early published poems, he conveys the commanding presence of the hawk looking down on the world, his world, from a place of eminence.  He considers himself as monarch of all he surveys, conveyed so powerfully by Hughes in this poem.

The Hawk

‘The Hawk’ … WHB – Pen & Wash,  2017

Hawk Roosting

I sit in the top of the wood, my eyes closed.
Inaction, no falsifying dream
Between my hooked head and hooked feet:
Or in sleep rehearse perfect kills and eat.

The convenience of the high trees!
The air’s buoyancy and the sun’s ray
Are of advantage to me;
And the earth’s face upward for my inspection.

My feet are locked upon the rough bark.
It took the whole of Creation
To produce my foot, my each feather:
Now I hold Creation in my foot

Or fly up, and revolve it all slowly –
I kill where I please because it is all mine.
There is no sophistry in my body:
My manners are tearing off heads –
The allotment of death.
For the one path of my flight is direct
Through the bones of the living.
No arguments assert my right:

The sun is behind me.
Nothing has changed since I began.
My eye has permitted no change.
I am going to keep things like this.



Creative Sparks

Pattern, Shape, Texture and Inspiration


Tell-a-tale Patterns on a wall
Shape and Texture all enthral

tell it all

I speak to myself
of myself

as I write
the blueprints of rules
should guide
not govern
flair and skill
for good or ill
let inspiration be found
in the scope
of my vision
natural occurrences
of the imagination
mind’s saturation
sculpted by sea feather
by time

Orkneys (22)

worn and
bruised and folded
by the breeze
speak to me in telling verse
ideas diverse
my thoughts
broaching themes
word streams
new memes


this tree
of patterned roots
suits my style
nature’s offshoots

elmgrovewall (6)

And then
the shortfall
inspiration stalls
until that wall
my pitfalls
then my palette
thrives again
and in its archives
My muse is revived


this new view
a breakthrough
the connective tissue
come to rescue
my mind-block’s
black box
and to resuscitate
my failing powers
of inventiveness


yet meaningful
but tension taut
and overwrought
linked by thought chains
succoured by mind games
built into high rise blocks
of language fodder
ever odder

Rye Apr05 009

colour coded

Scotland07 171 Seil--Innish-PetrolColours

and rainbow-coated
wordless surface
followed now with purpose
and augmented clues from


such as this
a certain
crack in the curtain
a remix, fix
new tricks
new script suggested

Devon-June2017 (44)

dream instances
silent witnesses
to my imagination’s
those dizzy heights
of know-my-rights
hinting at the next

fiords6 (85)

the creative process
to which I’ll succumb
and produce this
my next pennyless
poetic income

Rye Apr05 011

diamonds and pyramids
and shape
my poems
mechanical poetry
composed to formula
but adding
when it comes to the crunch
a knockout punch
not all about pattern
because convention
needs to be coloured
by considered thought
from life
from strife
by meaning
seen and felt
through my muse’s lens
into gems
of terse

elmgrovewall (2)

nothing worse
than the curse
of banality
controlled by reason
liberated by
Calliope’s lifeblood

Nature’s example
Of how Creation
Followed by Death
Followed by Re-birth
is accomplished



© Photographs copyright – all by WHB in various locations – Orkneys, Argyll (Scotland), Devon, Essex, Surrey, Sussex (England),  Stavanger (Norway). 


Caedmon’s Story: Parts I, II, III


Cowherd at Whitby Abbey … Photograph by Frank Meadows Sutcliffe – c.1880



While the wind whispers words to me
On the cold cliff-top meadow
I gaze out to the cold sea of the north
Its waves ceaselessly gnawing
Chewing on the feet
Of these towering cliffs
Atop which sits
Streonaeshalch monastery
My home
Raised skywards
Its beseeching arches
Piercing the clouds
Their pinnacles breaching
The gates of heaven
Forever seeking
Connection with
God’s presence

Amongst the buttercups
In the pasture
On my lips

The salt tang of the sea
With staff in hand
I pause
Musing on my masters
Cloistered inside the abbey precincts
Cultivating their chants
Tending their herbs
Brewing their healing potions
While I exist
To care for their cattle
But wedded to my lowly calling
A lay brother
But a needed
Part of the whole

And my Abbess
Of such gentle demeanour
Finding the time to speak to me
Her lowly cowherd
Intent only on doing her bidding
On following her lead
Attempting to mirror her devotion
Her calling understood
And honoured
Even echoed
By her lowly servant.


Evening came
And with it

Mists drifting from the sea
In the refectory

A feast of sorts was spread
As is usual
We were all there
From abbess to monk
Minstrels, mummers
Swineherds, sheep herds
Farm hands, helpmates
Expected to play a part

I edged myself closer
To the fire’s flames
As before
Wanting no part in their story-telling
Fearing their disdain
To seek the ember’s warmth

The harp
From one to another
Each offering their words
To its accompaniment
Soon it would be
Handed to me
But I had no words to offer
No desire to demonstrate
My unschooled presence
No thoughts that I could
Or dare

As always
I sidled to the doorway
Stepped out
Into the cold evening air
Against the biting wind
The sea mist

I hastened to my mattress
To the warmth
Of my animals
My uncritical companions.


The weariness of work
Soon brought respite
To my tired limbs
And sleep came
Straw-cosseted sleep
Without warning
A blaze of light and
Intrusive whispered words 

‘Caedmon …
Sing a Song’
‘Sing to me’
‘Sing now’

I felt myself shudder
A half-discerned image
A presence
Beyond my ken
On the edge of vision
I knew I could not do as asked

‘… But I cannot
I know of no songs’

 ‘… Yes, Caedmon
… You can.
Sing to me
Of the beginning of all things
Just open your mouth
And let out the sound’

Knowing how futile
Was what I was being asked
Fear made me open my mouth


Unbid by me
I uttered words,
Recognisable words
Not just words
But beautiful words
Even I knew that
Words I had not heard before
Words I had not thought before
Words of hope
Of strength
Of compassion
Words of Our Creation
In praise
And Blessing
Words of Heaven
And of the Creator Himself.


…  Continues tomorrow with Parts 4 and 5 …