ZEUGMAS

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Burnt out Car, Burnt out Life’  A303 2016 … Photo-WHB 

ZEUGMAS

(And even ‘Zeugmata’!)

Zeugmas are fun, so don’t be averse,
Use them to colour your prose and your verse.

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Burnt out your car and your life,
Leave a fierce scar and your beautiful wife.

Start a new page and a movement;
Room for one more and for improvement.

Hold your breath and the front door;
Cry for lost love and for more.

Lend me a fiver and your ears;
Dry your washing and your tears.

Break your wrist watch and your heart;
Blow a kiss and blow apart.

Take your time and my advice,
Think positive, but do it twice.

Cover with dirt as well as glory;
Read a mind and a bedtime story.

His licence expired, then he did;
Give him a kiss and fifty quid.

Make breakfast and the bed,
And leave a tip or the room instead.

Sold a basket and a pup;
Grow angry then and do grow up.

Catch a cold and a thief,
Hold a baby and a belief.

Fish for compliments and for shark;
Play in the band and in the park.

Take your leave and take your hat;
Kick the bucket and the cat.

#  #  #

How rewarding that such malfunctions
Create in language such fun conjunctions.

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Thoughts on a Dead Leaf

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Thoughts on a Dead Leaf

It fell
Green life
Extinguished
Time passed
Slowly
It diminished
To its scaffolding
Intact beauty still
New life
Surviving
In the skeleton
Beneath the skin
Revealing the grace
Which had upheld
Its existence
Its structure
Naked now
Spine-bold
Ram-rod straight
Not dead now
Nor even dying
Instead
Skin shed
A statement
Of creation’s power
Holding its tendrils
Steady
In firm formation
Awaiting its
Next chapter

Not yet shredded
Not yet dust
This tomography
Call it a CAT scan
Delving into
Nature’s
secret world
Revealing
The truth
Of whence
Its green strength
Derived

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Thus
As our own surface
Erodes
Do we achieve
The same beauty?
Do we secrete
Analogous
New life
Beneath the old?
We leaves
Fallen from life’s tree
Shrivelled
Our essence revealed
In our skeletal remains
Proud-structured
Until
The next stage
And eventual
Severance
From what we have been
Transmogrified
To further service
In replenishing
New life forms
Our fruition in
The new spring’s bloom
Blossom and leaves

There has to be beautywotchurch-oakleaf1
In death
As in life
Decay
Does not doom us to death
Rather
There is a beauty in death
The leaf ceased to be
A leaf
But became
Something else
And its beauty remained
It merely
Continued
Into a transmuted life
Its fate
As our own
To be
Continued existence

For death is but a metaphor
For new life

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All photographs . . .  by WHB – 2016

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The THREE HARES

 

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‘The Three Hares’ … WHB – fibre pens – Feb.2017

The THREE HARES

Three hares, three ears, How can that be?
Look at the picture you will see.

And yet I know that they have two,
So look again … and so they do.

Chasing each other in a circle,
A never ending race eternal.

This ancient image can be seen
In many places you’ll have been.

In Devon churches they are found,        
You only have to look around.

Germany too has these three hares,  
You may come across them unawares.    

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All over Europe and in France
You’ll see them do their threesome dance.

They’re found in China and Japan,
And even in Turkmenistan.

In synagogues and Buddhist caves,
New Age revels and Gothic raves.

In Devon where the tin miner inhabits
They  oft are called the Tinner’s Rabbits.

From east to west and west to east,
Along the Silk Road as trade increased.

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They travelled wide in many guises,
Large and small, in varied sizes.

Yet no one seems precisely sure;
Why they are there is still obscure.

What does it mean to have three hares
Cavorting with six ears in pairs?

Yet only three that we can see,
It seems an oddity to me.

They can be seen as an illusion,
Which often leads to much confusion.

Or is it just they are a puzzle,
Certain to test your thinking muscle?

Some say they have a great affinity
With the Christian symbol of the Trinity.

Or they the three realms do unite
Earth, Sea and Sky together aright.

Others say they pledge fertility,
And that does have some credibility.

Certainly they are mysterious rarities,
Perhaps these hares were ancient deities.

I don’t suppose we’ll ever know,
It’s a mystery of long ago.

A puzzle with no attribution,
No context and no resolution.

But most of us will think, “Who cares?
Let’s not end up splitting hares!”

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‘NICE’ is not NICE

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NICE is not NICE

‘NICE’ is not a nice word”
My teacher said to me,
“If you can choose another
The better it will be.”

To say that something’s ‘NICE’,
As to say that it’s ‘OKAY’,
Hardly sounds exciting
And savours of foul play.

Both words are ineffectual,
They flatter with faint praise.
Far better to be forceful
And use a fitter phrase.

#     #     #

‘PLEASING’ is a good one
It has that ring of truth;
What’s more it sounds appealing
Trips lightly off the tooth.

‘GOOD’ is even better
Positive and clean;
It fits unto the letter
And shows us what you mean.

‘JOYFUL’ sounds engaging
And improves all that you say;
Surely has more feeling
Than having a ‘nice’ day.

‘LUSTROUS’ sounds exotic
But still might fit the bill;
It lends a feel of brightness
Drops lightly from the quill.

‘BEAUTIFUL’s a mouthful
But serves your purpose well;
It speaks of cosy warmth
And has a tale to tell.

‘CHARMING’ is a good word
And speaks of utter joy;
It could launch a thousand ships
As once did Helen Of Troy.

‘GREAT’ would suit your purpose
There’s nothing wrong with that;
Shades of fame and grandeur
More than just chit-chat.

‘PLEASANT’, that is better
It sounds as though you mean it;
An honest word to proffer
And you’re not out to demean it.

Try ‘LOVELY’ if you like it
That strikes a fitting note;
Enhances your description,
Improves all that you wrote.

‘POSITIVE’ is good
Whole-hearted  and inclusive;
It shows you really mean it
Yet isn’t too intrusive.

‘DELIGHTFUL’ sounds exciting
Expressing joy and bliss;
But ‘Ducky’ is a No-no,
I should give that a miss.

#     #     #

Many possibilities
Line up to be used
Instead of NICE or OK,
But do not get confused.

The choice is yours dear poet
Don’t just throw the dice,
Use your ingenuity …
But remember to be NICE !!!

#     #     #

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‘The Price of Freedom’

Mini-Saga #4.

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The Price of Freedom

Second-Prize entry in the Daily Telegraph’s 1999 Mini-Saga Competition.


The task set being to compose a story of 50 words exactly – no more!  no less!

 

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WILLY-NILLY Reduplication

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Definition of reduplication in English …

Reduplication in linguistics is a morphological process in which the root or stem of a word (or part of it) or even the whole word is repeated exactly or with a slight change.  (From: Wikipedia)

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My word-play attempt (I’ve called it, quite arbitrarily, ‘Willy-Nilly’) at composing  a few Nonsense Verses to link together – however tenuously – a number of the very many examples of reduplication in the English language.

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My latest knick-knack
Is a handy-dandy
Criss-cross
Walkie-talkie,
With Wi-Fi;

Better than snail-mail,
It creates a real hubbub
And gives me the harum-scarum
Heebie-jeebies;
But here goes, willy-nilly.

I’m an arty-farty
Culture vulture
I’m not hoity toity
Nor am I a toy-boy;
I love the pell-mell
Hurly-burly
And I don’t shilly-shally;
But I’m really so easy-peasy.
Okey-dokey?

So, let’s hob-nob
And chit-chat;
While the tick-tock
Turns topsy-turvy
And goes ding-dong
And ding-a-ling

We can talk clap-trap.

Don’t be namby-pamby
Keep the bric-a-brac
Ship-shape
And we’ll have tip-top
Tittle-tattle;
No wishy-washy
Fiddle-faddle.

No ping-pong
No higgledy-piggledy
Ding-dongs,
No tom-toms
On the helter-skelter,
Just ship-shape
Pitter-patter
On the see-saw.

So Jeepers-creepers,
Let’s do the hokey-cokey,
The hip-hop
The hootchy-cootchy
and the boogie-woogie.

Let’s be goody-goody
And super-dooper;
Don’t dilly-dally
Let’s get lovey-dovey
And enjoy a little hanky-panky.

I’m not a nit-wit
Nor a bit ga-ga,
Well, maybe itsy-bitsy;
I do yada-yada
And  blah-blah,
But just a teeny-weeny bit.

Now cut the mumbo-jumbo
Get to the nitty-gritty.
When we pow-wow
With the fender-benders,
And have a happy-clappy
Sing-song
A razzmatazz

On the hurdy-gurdy
Wearing flip-flops;
What a mish-mash
And a hodge-podge,
But still mumbo-jumbo
And hocus-pocus.

I can Zig-zag
And razzle-dazzle
With the bee’s-knees
And in the hurly-burly
Cause double-trouble,
‘Cos I’m just an old fuddy-duddy.

So-so,
Night-night!
Bye-bye!
Ta-ta!
Must chop-chop!
I’m off to a chick-flick –
A romcom
Called La-La Land,

To listen to more flimflam.

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LIFE FORCE – TWO

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Pen & Ink drawing of Andrea Mantegna’s ‘Samson and Delilah’ Oil on Canvas, c.1500, in the National Gallery, London. . . .   WHB – 1994

LIFE  FORCE – TWO

“These fragments I must shore against my ruin.”

I wish to put a hold on life,
freeze it at this instant;
stop my headlong race to reach
some intangible resolution
before life, and with it death,
overtake me.

Yet, a wanton fervour
forces me to write;
a defining greed pushes me on;
a need to achieve,
to find the telling phrase
to verify my competence.

There is a frenzy on me,
a new lust for life
alien to my past;
but still I draw on that very past
to colour the present
and steer me into my aspired future.

My imperative is to leave an imprint
on the foreshore of my life
before its tide recedes.
Regardless of renown,
I wish to leave a noble fragment of myself
with a proven hint of worth
to carry me beyond my grave.

Such fragments,
the flotsam of my endeavours,
washed up  and left
for those seashore scavengers,
those ardent beachcombers
of other people’s detritus;
my scraps left for Autolycus to pick over.
I need the harvest of my life to be
another’s prized perception,
their acquired inspiration.

And yet I know I must desist,
I must allow those morsels,
slivers of myself already extant,
to speak for themselves,
to represent me to the future.

I must accept
that already
I have utilised my credit with the past
and created my memorial for the future.

“These fragments I must shore against my ruin.”

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The quotation appearing at the beginning and end of my poem is, slightly adapted, taken from T.S.Eliot’s poem  “The Wasteland”.

 

The impetus to write my two ‘Life Force’ poems – this second of them in free verse – also derives from Andrew Marvel’s poem ‘To His Coy Mistress’ – in particular, many readers will recall the oft repeated couplet from this poem . . .
But at my back I always hear
Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near;

 

Delilah, of course, took away Samson’s Life Force, his strength, by cutting off his hair whilst asleep.

 

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DISSOLUTION

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Priory Arch from, the Applegarth

DISSOLUTION

These remnants of the past adorn the present, 
Relating the aspirations of their birth,
Attaching the future to their past.

How dominant in silhouette
The ruined priory stands;
How assertive its very existence.
The faith that built its aspiring arch,
That held its hope through devotion
And a staunch religious life,

Remains in every desecrated stone,
Each weathered rock;
Still a monument to conviction,
A parable of faith.

What distinction a ruin can give,
Purpose disclosed in symmetry.
The shell recalls its torrid past, but
Hope was not destroyed along with stone.
These skeletal embers still speak of belief;
The story told in its remains,
Its hold on today still firm.

This bygone glory, the Dissolution’s ruins,
Transformed into the splendour of today;
Despair turned into hope.
This testimony from the past
Now, our treasure of the present.
Destruction brought about by time,
Ruins preserved in dignity,
Have now conveyed perspective to the present.
The toil of centuries brought to ignominious end,
Their dissolution brought about a resurrection.
In dissolution – a new life was created;
These remnants of the past adorn the present.

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Gothic Arched East Window

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Norman Arch and Medieval Dovecote

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gisbropriory2My photographs were taken on a recent visit to Gisborough Priory on the northern edge of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park.  My thoughts as presented above, although they followed from this visit and from many previous visits, apply also to the very many historic remains throughout the United Kingdom subsequent to the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th Century.

Viewers of Roland’s Ragbag will note that an image of this same Priory East Window (not my own photograph) is used as header to all my blog pages.

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Time’s Hold

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‘Hope’ (2nd version) by George Frederick Watts . . . 1886 . . . Tate Gallery

 

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.

 

hope

 

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WRITER’S BLOCK

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Surreality … WHB – 1957

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I Needed a Prompt
Ideas Swamped
Inspiration Zonked

So on These Thoughts I Chomped

#     #     #

Writer’s Block? … Then … Why Not? …

… Picture a scene?
Not Dull or Obscene
But From Pope or Racine
From U2 or Queen

… Go back in time?
Make the Bell Chime
No Need for Rhyme
Grime, Slime or Mime

… Recap your History?
No Need for Sophistry
Give it Your Chemistry
Make it a Mystery

… Use your memory?
But Very Cleverly
Create a Summary
A Sensory Treasury

… Use an old picture?
With no Striking Stricture
Or Pure Holy Scripture
Just Make it a Mixture

… Look through those photos?
Your Secrets Expose
In that Indiscreet Pose
Please Put it in Prose

… Because many a photo
Does Set off the Word-flow
A Picture of Jethro
Heathrow or Chicago

… Try Mythology – So many tales?
With all that Entails
So when Memory Fails
They Breathe  Wind in your Sails

  … May I suggest such as these?
The Trials of Hercules
Perils of Pericles
Or the Wit of Diogenes

… Start with an image?
A Game of Cribbage
Begin with  a Scrimmage
Then Rape and Pillage

… Just put pen to paper?
Why not a Caper
In a Skyscraper
Don’t Leave it till Later

… Compose an allegory?
In Hell or Purgatory
Dormitory or Laboratory
Seminary or Conservatory 

… Invade the thesaurus?
With a Rousing Chorus
From the Stegosaurus
But do Play it Cautious

… Go to a boot sale?
There Without Fail
All Life is in Detail
An Observer’s Fairytale

… Steal an idea?
Make it Quite Clear
Something will Appear
 Perhaps Verbal Diarrhoea

… Revert to your childhood?
When Lost in the Wood
Uttering that Falsehood
Not Doing Something you Should

… Play to your strength?
Give it some Length
Strive to the …nth
Degree -Don’t Stop at the Tenth

… Play with a word?
Inane or Absurd
A Ludicrous Cowherd
Preposterous Bird

… Places you’ve been?
Aberdeen, the Cuisine
Avoid the Obscene
And Say what you Mean

… Try a spoonerism on your block?
Blighters’ Rock
Or Writer’s Block
Working Lock or Lurking Wok

… Try Love? – it’s a Must
Frank or Unjust
That True Tale of Trust
Lays of Lovers in Lust

… But, to make it tell?
To Ring everyone’s Bell
And Ring Loud its Knell
Do Hyperbole Quell

… And what about death?
No Shibboleth
From that Very First Breath
Write Another Macbeth

#     #     #

Finally, your Loins do Gird
Go Tell it to the Babbling Birds

That This is Not in Fact Absurd
I AM JUST SO LOST FOR WORDS!!!

#     #     #

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