Before The Sun Sets

Pen & Wash Sketch – based on ‘Ancient Trees’ – to mark National Trust Week 1999 . . .  WHB

The crisp crunch of my footsteps as I crossed that frosty field
Confirmed to me the joy that winter brings;
The frail but wondrous sunlight burning through the morning mist
Affirmed a world of wonder in all things.

It brought to me a memory of those long days of my youth,
When all was young and all life was tomorrow,
When time and love and right and wrong were not things I considered,
Just the lasting joy which Nature can bestow.

Tomorrow was a world away from the life that I live now;
No anguish that my world might cease to be
Before I’d felt and savoured all that life can have to offer,
Before the sun sets on that ancient tree.

Despite my knowledge of the pain that’s in the world around me,
Bleak Nature seeks to calm its shifting shadows,
The seasons, sun, the starlight, still remain to bring us hope,
That vital spark from which renewed life flows.

Time’s Hold

Painting by George Frederic Watts . . . 1886

 TIME’S  HOLD

You are what might have been 
on that alternative path,
my abandoned way re-discovered.

But what is now is salient; 
you make me an offer,  
propose to me a future 
that will not arise  
unless hope turns to reality
before Time tires.

When life was fast dissolving,
when my world
 was being wrenched apart,
then, supporting your own cross, 
you came from nowhere
to reach out, to connect,
to take my hope
and cherish it.

What I am left with
is no longer despair, 
but the veiled thrill
of tomorrow’s augury.

You could resolve my need,
bring me that accord, 
of touch, of feel, of senses, 
of minds in tune. 

What you do – for me, now,
is to engender lust, 
that lust of my youth,
for life, for certitude,
which can repel my languor, 
now sequestered by age,
and bring a new intensity,
revivify that spark
which once embellished all.

No longer my past innocence, 
but a considered offering,
a last grasp at time’s hold on me.

The Bag Lady



WHB: My 2001 Pencil and Wash drawing of a Homeless lady outside the Marienwerdersche Church in Berlin in the 1930s – from ‘The German Century’ by Michael Sturmer

Depressed and defeated,
My world’s at an end.
Its simpler to die
Than life’s troubles to mend.

I sit here alone, 
My future in tatters. 
No one will help.
To them no one else matters. 

Men’s struggle for power
Has brought me to this. 
Their pride and their greed,
That’s what’s amiss. 

The end will come quickly. 
My future is bleak.
No reason to hope. 
It’s the fate of the weak. 

[ Previously published on this blog in September 2016 ]

CHERITA

I have been experimenting with the poetic form – The CHERITA . . .

Cherita’ is the Malay word for story or tale. A cherita consists of a single stanza of a one-line verse, followed by a two-line verse, and then finishing with a three-line verse. It can be written solo or with up to three partners.  (See the website at:   https://www.thecherita.com for further information).

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

1.

A letter arrives.

Hope stirs;
Is it from her?

Addressed to:
‘The householder’.
One more disappointment.

Escape To Paradise

A Paradise’ . . . WHB: Pen and watercolour – 2014

our world is not always a nice place to be
so let’s take off for paradise
to do that we must dream
so make a wish and dream
the dreams made from memories
choose daydreams
for they are made from pleasant ones
precious jewels of remembered moments
of childhood pleasures recreated in golden colours
under warm and generous skies
for what is nirvana but bliss
a perfect quietude
remembered from that golden age
when cares were so far away as to be invisible
and joy was present
in the simplicity of a walk in a spring meadow
in hesitant steps across a bubbling beck
in that breath of early evening air
bringing the scent of heather
and with it the rustle of new leaves
bursting to catch the evening air
amongst the rolling northern hills
the cradled landscape of that now distant home
forever a part of my being
both bedrock and comfort of my present
and succour of my hopes for the future

Hope – a Sequence from 2020

‘HOPE’ … G.F.Watts – 1886

Walk, Eat, Sleep, Wake,
Little to do
To myself I talk
Thus the story
of twenty-twenty
Gone the years
of more and plenty
Cover my face
as in disgrace
Cross my heart
and keep apart
Cuddles banned
Hugs verboten
Kiss me quick
all that forgotten
When will it end
and will it ever
A Life to live
A love to sever
Lock me up
they might as well
For where I am
there I dwell
Nothing but time
to fill each day
And time never ends
so here I stay
Locked in this cell
not feeling well
Till hope returns
and once again
within me burns


Released Into Life

Life lacks lustre
And my world is grey;
As it re-awakes,
Is it here to stay?

I’ve slumbered long
In my cocoon,
Sheltered and shielded
‘Neath a midday moon.

Spring with its joy
Struggles to bring
Its warmth and colour,
Its song to sing.

But after the storm
The clouds disperse;
I await with hope
To end my verse.

Remembrance

‘The Churchyard’ – WHB … Pen: 1981

With bared feet
and sadness in my soul
I walk in the shallows
the waves rippling to my bare feet
I follow the ribs of the sand
to their end
in the swell of the next wave
and by their disappearance
I recognise the promise
of their continuation
for the world is in flux
a life beginning
as another ends
memory
fading at first
soon settles
into expectation
an affirmation
as the embers
of all that cease to be
are carried forward
in the seeds of
a future hope

Lockdown 3: Day 52

‘Hope’ (after Michelangelo) … WHB Pencil 1958

Sun comes with morning’s news
Bright sky floods the straightening horizon
And gloom disperses with the waking day
My tunnel view widens its purview
Funnels its Richard Of York colours
Revealing improving prospects
Pleasure-principled and hope-led
If-Only hopes
Offering release
Instead of regret
Along with a reinstituted Plan
Of Action
End of inertia
Perhaps and possibly
Depending on This and That
On Doubt and Uncertainty
On Doubt or Certainty
These Will-We, Won’t-We times
Tremble on the brink
Promising nothing
Yet
Delivering Hope
To our nebulous days

Lockdown 3: Day 51

‘Despair’ (after Michelangelo) … WHB Pencil 1958

After the drab-dull morning
The close shift-shadow
Hovered over the remaining day
And grey-clung cloud
Described yet one more of
So many days
Of such undistinguished gloom
So few delights to hollow out this tomb
For when the darkness comes
And with it fading hope
Then amidst the shadows
I calcify and mope
Regrets are worth forgetting
The future lost
Loses meaning
In the tangle of forgotten days
Each succeeded by yet another
Missed opportunity
One more goal-less draw
Reducing the life still left to me