A December Tanka

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Winter’ … WHB – Pen & Ink 2017 

 

Bright the winter sun

Burns in the short day’s heaven

As each day goes by

I think of Bethlehem’s star

Wishing the year ‘Au Revoir’.

 

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Tanka is a genre of classical Japanese poetry meaning a short poem, and one of the major genres of Japanese literature.

A Tanka consist of five units (often treated as separate lines when romanized or translated) usually with the pattern of 5-7-5-7-7 syllables per unit or line). Wikipedia.

I have again ended my Tanka with a rhyming couplet.

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Reverie#8: A Song Before Leaving

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Oh my love
paint me into the shadows of your dreams
I want to be there among the drifting moonbeams of your waning passion
and as their dim light fades in the morning dew
to watch as our hopes sink slowly
through pools of deepest blue.

Let their adagio
their mellow harmonies
accompany the murmurings of my fading breath
and as its remnants settle on the bed of those fathomless depths
let them guide my blissful path to Heaven

 

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The Doorkeeper – Let Me In

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Ancient Buddha, set in stone,
Guardian of the door,
Tell me will you let me in,
What else is Heaven for?
Oh, I am weak but well-meaning,
Given to wishful thinking.
Perhaps you’ll promise me the earth
If I give up my drinking.

But I’d have thought that one like you
Would be among the godly.
Not lumbered with a job like this
And behaving very oddly.
For when you came into my view
I saw you in a trance,
Looking as though you’d rather be
On holiday in France.

If you will stretch a minor point
And let a sinner in,
I’m sure you’ll feel a moment’s thought
Will save you from considering
Why it is that I, poor wretch,
with no more to my blame
Than one unproven parking fine,
Should play a waiting game.

I’m pretty sure you could forgive
A few mistaken words,
Those acts of careless rectitude,
Those songs in minor thirds.
Perhaps just now you are best placed
To do a pal a favour.
I am your friend, one of your best,
So please do be my saviour.

 

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Before I Go

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Before  I  Go

 

Hit me, hurt me, kiss me quick, 
Time is rushing by;
I want to feel both joy and pain, 
To lust, to pant, to sigh. 

To run barefoot in morning dew
To roll in new mown grass
To drench my dreams in churning rain
Let all these come to pass

For when I sigh my final sigh
I want the world to know
I loved the life God gave to me
And await its afterglow. 

 



 

 

 

. . . and Love Will Not Cease

 

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‘The Good Shepherd’ – Burne-Jones – Stained G;ass – Frome 

When life ends in tears
Memory holds Heaven’s key
And Love will not cease.

 

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I plan to re-commence my regular weekday posts from Wednesday 2nd May.

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A GLIMPSE OF PARADISE

 

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A GLIMPSE OF PARADISE

 

The back of midnight’s moon

Is gifted me

Bringing a still

And total beauty

In its light across the calm waters

The path to it calls me

And I know

With an unfamiliar certainty

My faith can bear me to it

To that paradise in the sky

Heaven’s haven

Realised in this

So delicate a moment

My life transmuted

Into one of peace and serenity

The death of life

Discovers

Meaningful rebirth

But even as I watch

The golden glow diminishes

   The pull of the pellucid path

Slowly fades behind the clouds

The chance is gone

For now

But I feel an assurance

That another day

It will be offered me again

And

with open arms

I will grasp it

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Photographs:  WHB   ©

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Collaborative poem – written by WHB, based on a prose description by Canadian artist, Alma Kerr, of an experience when looking, at evening time, across the waters of the Pacific, off the western coast of British Columbia . . .

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Having a Whale of a Time

There are many idioms in our language designed to express the joys of a Happy Life.  I have attempted to use a number of these phrases in rhyming couplets, hopefully to emphasise the light-hearted joy of each idiomatic phrase.

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HAPPINESS in IDIOMS

I’m having a whale of a time,
Playing with poems, with rhythm and rhyme.

Yes, I’m as happy as that proverbial Larry
To be extending my vocabulary.

So now I’m living on cloud nine,
My life is full of women and wine.

And here I am in seventh heaven,
On holiday in Glorious Devon.

I’m really feeling tickled pink,
No need to take me to the shrink.

I’m absolutely on top of the world,
My finest nature’s now unfurled.

I feel like a dog with two tails,
Would you like the details?

Yes, I am feeling over the moon,
My life is now with pleasure strewn.

And I’m grinning like a Cheshire cat,
‘Cos I’ve paid the piper tit-for-tat.

And now I want to jump for joy,
I fancy a piece of that Helen of Troy.

And yes … now I’m full of the joys of spring,
Since I gave my Helen an engagement ring.

 

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On Ageing Gloriously

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‘Old Age & Youth’ …  Pen and ink – WHB.  2017

ON AGEING GLORIOUSLY

Yes, I am getting older now; my prime has slipped away;
But I’m beating off the Harpies who want to bring doomsday.
But the benefits now brought about through all the new advances
Have brought about a change in me, at least they’ve upped my chances.

For, mine eyes have seen the glory never found since I was nine;
I ‘ve cast aside my spectacles reversing my decline.
I’ve got new eyes now, darling, and the cataracts have gone,
So despite my aged torso I will still keep staggering on.

And my new knees tell the story of my better prospects now;
I’m going to try the Great North Run if only they allow,
‘Cos I feel as though I’m twenty four and kicking down the door.
At least I’ll get a few years now before I need some more.

My metal hip has been replaced; I now have one in plastic;
It’s been a great success, although the experience was quite drastic.
I can hobble with the best of them and the stairs I cope with ease;
Yes, walking is a doddle now and life is just a breeze.

My hearing aid’s a bonus, I know what’s being said on telly.
My confidence I have regained, I’d rival Machiavelli;
The end still justifies the means; these life aids serve their purpose,
But instead of “Turn the volume up”, I’m wishing they were wordless.

My carpal tunnel surgery stopped my fingers feeling numb.
I’m twice the man I used to be, an artist I’ve become;
So now you see me in my prime reflecting on new marvels;
My hands are fully functional now; I have not lost my marbles.

My lumber corset gives me an efficient spinal brace.
My posture’s as it should be now, no longer a disgrace.
I stand upright and hold my place wherever I may be,
Just the occasional little blip, one you’ll hardly ever see.

The wig I found provided me with a new lease of life;
No longer bald and reticent – I’ve got a new-found wife.
I’m wond’ring how surprised she’ll be when we get into bed,
Perhaps she’ll want a payback when she finds she’s been misled?

They gave me my libido back with just a small blue pill;
Revived my passion and my lust – be that for good or ill.
I must say I’m enjoying those long lost thrills again,
No longer from the Tantric Arts, do I have to abstain.

They now give me a freebie both for Christmas and tv
Free bus and tube rides I can get, I’ve become a devotee
Of touring round my city all the splendid sites to see
Suits me to be busy now at the age of eighty three.

A pension I am grateful for, although it’s not enough,
I paid my dues for forty years, I did think that was tough;
Yes, the National Health helps me a lot, I get my medicine free,
And if I want a pick-me-up, my nurse is good to me.

My mouth has been replenished with a set of new white teeth;
I thought it best to have that done before they bought my wreath.
I look forward to my time in Heaven, but perhaps it’s just as well,
That I can still enjoy life now – in case I go to Hell.

 

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Caedmon’s Story: Parts I, II, III

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

CAEDMON’S STORY

I.

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
Unbecoming
Uncultured
But wedded to my lowly calling
A lay brother
Dutiful
Humble
But a needed
Part of the whole

And my Abbess
Hild
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.

II.

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
All
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
Content
To seek the ember’s warmth

The harp
Passed
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
Share.

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

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

III.

The weariness of work
Soon brought respite
To my tired limbs
And sleep came
Sound
Straw-cosseted sleep
Until
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
Tell
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

And

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.

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…  Continues tomorrow with Parts 4 and 5 …

William Blake … 1757-1827

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‘Caged Beauty’ … Pen&Ink – WHB – 1981

FROM: ‘ Auguries of Innocence’
BY . . . William Blake

 

“ . . . A Robin Redbreast in a Cage
Puts all Heaven in a Rage.
A dove house fill’d with doves and pigeons
Shudders Hell thro’ all its regions.
A Dog starv’d at his Master’s Gate
Predicts the ruin of the State.
A Horse misus’d upon the Road
Calls to Heaven for Human blood.
Each outcry of the hunted Hare
A fiber from the Brain does tear . . . ”

 

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FROM: ‘ Proverbs of Hell’
BY . . . William Blake

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… All wholesome food is caught without a net or a trap
Bring out number, weight & measure in a year of dearth.

No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings.
A dead body revenges not injuries …

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William Blake … Poet & Artist  … 1757-1827

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