Word Of The Year

Staycation – the word of 2020 –
Is here again, and life’s still empty.

A holiday at home? Exciting?
Two weeks in prison – more inviting.

Last year’s buzzword here again,
Bring along your ball and chain.

For that’s now this year’s buzzword too;
So much to dream, so little to do.

Shall I fly or book a cruise?
No longer is it mine to choose.

Stay at home or nearby?
Get me to the airport and let me fly.

A Covid passport will be needed,
All other options now conceded.


On Life’s Anchor

WHB – ‘Highcliff … Pencil

‘Every man is searching for the place he belongs.’ James Joyce

Where do I belong
Is it my birthplace
Or some other place where I have laid my head?

I no longer search
For I am secure in knowing with increasing certainty
My heart still lives in the hills of my childhood home
It awakes each morning with the scent of bracken and heather
And the soft green turf of the rolling moor
Even at such long removed time and space
These tastes, these smells, these images
In the quiet moments of my active day
Have an unnerving reality
Sustain my being and nourish the silence of my soul
Rarely do the comforting memories engendered
Leave me dispirited and downcast
Seldom do the doubts of my waking troubles
Not gain encouragement from the solidity
The comforting certainties of my history
And I have never lost their throbbing power
To anchor the passage of fleeting time
In the calm and stillness of my reflection



Are your dreams like my dreams?

person lying on wearing earring
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Are your dreams like my dreams?

 

Are your dreams like my dreams, elusive,
With never a clear-cut start;
Are your dreams like mine, inconclusive,
At the end do they just fall apart?

Are your dreams like my dreams, so vague,
Do they mix up the people you know;
Are your dreams like my dreams, opaque,
Are the sites so unclear where you go?

Are you ever en route to a party,
One where you’re desperate to be,
But one that you never can get to,
A permanent absentee?

Are you anxious to find you way home,
Lost and looking for aid,
Or unable to find a companion,
Delayed, dismayed, and afraid?

For me, dreams are never a pathway
To content, to pleasure and bliss;
They never do end in contentment,
Never that satisfied kiss.

 

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Westwards

Stockholm Archipelago (4)

‘Baltic Sunset’ . . .  Photo – WHB – 2019   ©

 

WESTWARDS

As the sun sinks down
In the Western sky,
My mind rejoices
With the thought that I

One day might follow
Its receding track,
To find where it leads
With no turning back.

And where it ends I’d
Be content to rest,
build a new home there
In the far northwest.

The rest of the days
Still vouchsafed to me,
Content to reside
By that other sea,

But I know at heart
That it cannot be;
Our time has long passed,
We just are not free.

Those causes to stumble,
Our exchanges unfurled,
Tell us our new life lies
In a parallel world.

Bar-Rose

 

Go With The Flow

hieroglyph wall

 Photo:  WHB – 2019   ©

Go With The Flow

 

catspaw on the naked river
run the gauntlet
let it flow
now the murk amidst the mountains
gives the world a humid grace
try to press for more excitement
midst the banality that runs apace

trigger guests and bring them weeping
to that latent humble home
there to quench the embers burning
letting life remember lust
and so distinguish hope from wanting
bringing resolution to purpose
an end to speculation
no last favours granting

the instant instance
the shimmering shade
the glorious glory
of the everglades
burnt out shell of that softer softness
forget the unforgetting minute
press the button that says refresh.

 


{ By way of clarification, a follow-up to the above poem will be published in 2 days time – on Wednesday 20th November }


 

wave-pattern

‘This Is Just To Say’ – William Carlos Williams

[  # 87 of My Favourite Short Poems  ]

Q. When is a mundane note not just a mundane note?
Q. When is a mundane note a poem?
Q. When is a scribbled note stuck on the fridge door to your wife a poem?

A. When William Carlos Williams writes it – as he did here, as long ago as 1934, when it suddenly  became, in 21st century jargon, ‘viral’.

The more times I read the poem below, the more I am able to see the depth in it.
Contentment in a relationship, acceptance, ease, familiarity, intimacy and even love are all here.

Note how pointedly the title becomes the first line . . .

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sliced fruits on pink ceramic plate

Photo on Pexels.com

This Is Just To Say

I have eaten

the plums

that were in

the icebox

and which

you were probably

saving

for breakfast

Forgive me

they were delicious

so sweet

and so cold

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The effect of this poem may be enhanced by watching and listening to this YouTube video in which Matthew Macfadyen reads the poem ‘This Is Just To Say’

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WCWilliams

William Carlos Williams ( 1883 – 1963 ) had an English father and a Puerto Rican mother.  He grew up in Rutherford, New Jersey.   He was an American poet, novelist, essayist, and playwright. He was also a physician practising both paediatrics and general medicine.  With Ezra Pound and H.D.Williams he was a leading poet of the Imagist movement and often wrote of American subjects and themes. He became an inspiration to the Beat generation in the 1950s and 60s.  As in the poem above, his poetry was often domestic in focus and was described as “remarkable for its empathy, sympathy, its muscular and emotional identification with its subjects.”

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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.

Sussex-Mar09

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

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“YOU HAVE A VISITOR”

lifereduced2-1988

Winter Trees 1 – WHB … 1988

YOU HAVE A VISITOR

 

“You have a visitor”

 “… Have I ? …”

 Hello!  How are you?”

Me?
To see me.
Who?
I know him . . .
Not …? … I think so
You?
Who are you?
Do I know you?
Should I know you?

“… Oh … Yes … Hello! …” 

Familiar …
and he knows
who I am.
 … Who I am
… Who am I?

‘I’m not at home, you know.’

Not at my home.
In a Home
On my own.
At home.

“Are you happy here?’

I used to know,
I think,
what happiness was …
Now? …
It’s not important
… Is it?

“ … Yes …”

Nod …
Shake my head.  

“Do they feed you well?”

Do they?
Sometimes …
I think

“… Yes …”

“Isn’t the weather lovely?”

I like the sun.
When it shines.
… and the rain.
… Not the wind. 

“… Windy …
It’s very windy …”

“Do you sit outside sometimes?”

I think so.
I don’t know
It’s nice.

 “Yes . It is very windy”

“ … The leaves are moving …”

It’s not my day
It was my day
…  Once.
It’s not my day.
Yesterday was my day.
…  Once.
 When I was a child.
But I am a child.
Aren’t I?

“Do they provide entertainment for you?”

“… Sometimes …”

‘Are they looking after you?’

They help me.
She helps me
Who is she?
She wants to help me.
I don’t want help
But I need help
Don’t I?

When I’m wet
My chair’s wet
I need help
Take me away.
Let me be
Help me

“… Oh, Yes …
… The leaves are moving …”

“Oh, look, it’s tea time

My time
They’ll help me eat
Something else to do.
… To do something
To be me…

But not here.
I’m all right here
I’m happy here
… Am I?
For now …  Yes

 “… Is it ?…
… I do like tea …”

“… When can I go home?…”

“You are at home

 “. . . Am I? …”

 “I’ll come again  …  soon”

 “… Thank you”

#     #     #

 Perhaps next week?

 We are not dead
Neither are we alive

Only react
Never initiate
Only react

 We …
mechanisms,
contraptions

Feel
But
No sense –
That’s nonsense

Only Pain brings relief
from not being alive

#     #     # 

lifereduced1-1988

Winter Trees 2 – WHB … 1988

 

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