A Death I Die

Loch Earn, Scotland

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow.

T.S. Eliot (The Journey of the Magi)

I wrote this poem, as I did several of my recently blogged poems, many years ago.
In ‘A Death I Die’ below the sober thoughts reflect a dark  mood,  the reason for which I now have no recollection.   For me, at the time of writing, they obviously represented the Shadow, that halfway house between knowing and not-knowing,
between what is and what might be,
between Eliot’s ‘the motion and the act’.

A DEATH I DIE

I have no heart for selfish love
that starts and ends with flesh.
It leads along an endless path,
it binds, compels afresh.

There is a sort of death I die;
Am killed and kill myself.
I am alone in this. I am a willing suicide.
I go on a journey bearing my own end.

This death is a habit, a nasty selfish habit
I know and hate it.
I both give and receive.
The giving is good
– but also a habit.

Receiving – an infinite regression.
We plan the means and the end is all.
Purgatory is the cemetery, time the resurrection.
And All is planned that This should be so.

The Grass Above His Grave

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 The end of World War I took effect on the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918.  The inscription on this war grave in the churchyard of St.Mary’s, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, commemorates the short life of Private F.J . Harvey of the Middlesex Regiment, who sadly died just 12 days before this.
He was 18 years of age.

The Grass Above His Grave

And the grasses sway above his grave,
Reminding me of what he gave,
Of hopes as his new life began,
No more a boy, nor yet a man.

*     *     *

The promises of a war, just ended,
Lay before him, starkly spread.
Tempting him to rejoice
In the swollen face of victory.

A life to live, a promise to keep,
Beckoned his youth to greater glory,
But time and life were not for him,
Nor was death a friend.

They conspired to rob him of
The future he had bought,
And, in victory, the fate of so many
Became his own fate too.

*     *     *

And the grasses sway above his grave
Reminding me of what he gave
Of hopes as his new life began
No more a boy, nor yet a man. 

 

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Photos: WHB-2020  …  ©

What is Happening?

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

What is Happening?

The ordinariness of life
As day succeeds on day,
Now grips more than it ever did
And fear is just a sneeze away.

What is it that tomorrow brings,
How trenchant is life’s grip,
Will time refuse to stumble on,
Is now just a minor blip?

Or is this really Armageddon,
Is it what was foretold,
Has fate at last revealed itself,
The future to unfold?

 

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Murder In The Cathedral – Two-Word Tale #14

The Cathedral

‘The Cathedral’ (detail): WHB – Pen & Wash

Murder In The Cathedral

Agog
With awe
And gripped
With fright
How can
I last
For one
More night

My awe
My fear
Hold me
In thrall
A lasting
Longing
Curtain call

I sleep
I dream
I know
My place
‘Tis full
Of pain
With-out
God’s grace

For all
My sins
I can’t
A-tone
I’m lost
I’m gone
I am
Mere bone

Des-pair
And dread
Are my
Mill-stone
Worn as
Penance
On my
Head-stone

——–

To you
Who now
Will hear
My story
I pray
You will
My fate
Be-moan 

——–


 

History generally lays the blame for the murder of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, on his former close friend, King Henry II, who, in 1174, did penance at Becket’s tomb in Canterbury Cathedral. 


 

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A WINTER’S TALE

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A WINTER’S TALE

Let me steal the midnight’s silence,
The stillness of the dawn,
The dampness of the morning grass,
As one more day is born.

Let me tread the crisp new snow
And breathe the icy blast;
Match my step to winter’s wind,
Relive those pleasures past.

For I must reach another goal
Fate’s purpose to pursue.
Life has been short and gone too soon
My devils to subdue.

And when my grave has opened up
My body to receive
Already mildew on my heart
And few there’ll be to grieve.

 

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Two Word Tales #7- The Past Will Teach

Chambord-Loire-France

‘Chambord’ … WHB – Pen & Wash

The Past Will Teach

Two words
“I do”
Gave me
Some hope

Two words
“Of Course”
Helped me
To trust

But then
Two words
Led me
To doubt

Those words
“Not now”
Made me
Despair

Two words
“No Luck”
Made clear
My fate

Two words
“Look back”
The past
Will teach

 

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My ‘Two Word’ Verses

Number six  in my series of short verses 

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Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

FIRKYTOODLING

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FIRKYTOODLING

When I was young and foolish, she was winsome, sweet and cute,
I was given to firkytoodling, a pleasurable pursuit,
Practised by young lovers with a semblance of finesse,
Yet fraught with muffed advances and frustration I confess.

The way matters proceeded was with hesitations fed,
With never a suggestion of retiring to a bed.
No, circumspection ruled and held us all within its thrall,
For fear of finding that we didn’t have the wherewithal.

Not quite understanding as to where it all might lead,
And a minimal perception of what it meant to breed.
Plus a fear of breaking all those long instilled taboos,
Which governed all the protocol on cuddling, smooch and schmooze.

I tried to reason with myself, to tell myself to try,
Just let my wandering hands explore and not to be so shy
For she had let me get this far, an arm around her neck,
So surely now she’d let me have more than just a peck.

So I attempted in the dark, a first-time “Do I dare? “
A fumble here, a fiddle there, the lightest touch in hope elsewhere,
Investigating bra straps and those buttons on her blouse,
Fumbling fingers trying hard her passion to arouse.

Then fatally, I hesitated, faltered, flinched and dithered,
I’d lost my will, my heart stood still, all resolution withered.
I’d been turned on, fluffed chance now gone, and fate got in the way;
The moment passed, and soon I knew, today was not my day.

 

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Photo by Gratisography on Pexels.com

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[  Firkytoodling: a Victorian term for canoodling, or being amorous.  ]

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SPRING

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SPRING

As earth sleeps
And winter thrives
My heart with the season rests
I await in peace,
I live in hope
Of new growth life attests

As winter ends
Ceases its hold
As daffodils emerge
So life releases
Love again
Its impulse and its urge.

The primrose wakes
Me to the spring
Its milky yellow songs
Sing to me
In gentle tones
Of where my heart belongs

Which is where life
And lust exist
Side by side in joy
So has it ever
always been
Since I was just a boy

And now that I
Am old and wise
Content to face my fate
I look on spring
And with it sing
New life to celebrate.

 

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Photographs: WHB . . . Surrey – March 10th 2018   ©

 

Death Is An Unmapped Sea

IntoTheUnknown

Photo:  ‘On Chesil Beach’ by WHB – 2007   ©

 

Death is an Unmapped Sea

Day dawns and life now reasserts its sway;
Sleep ends and dreams now slowly fade away,
Leaving behind the gains which I thought real.
Reality and the sun the truth reveal,
That time has shattered youth and brought old age.
Shall I depart midst over-arching rage,
Those aspirations which I held most dear,
Abandoned now as hope gives way to fear?
Now that I’m hurt, unheard and unfulfilled,
Can I refute those truths my life distilled,
And face what unmapped seas fate holds in store,
Without a faith to bear me to the shore?

 

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