1. Three ‘Victorian Celebrity’ CLERIHEWS

A Clerihew is a comic verse consisting of two couplets and a specific rhyming scheme, aabb, invented by Edmund Clerihew Bentley (1875-1956) at the age of 16. Normally the first line names a person, and the second line ends with something that rhymes with the name of the person. (From: ‘Shadow Poetry’)


Alfred Lord Tennyson
By gift and by benison,
Through His ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’
The glory of defeat portrayed.

Joseph Rudyard Kipling
Could not be described as middling;
His output as a poet
Was immense, and don’t we know it!

Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Might well have invented spaghetti;
As lover, Poet, painter
He was ever, the innovator.

Pastiche Poems #1

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A pastiche, created in PRISMA, of a painting of my own of Venice

PASTICHE POETRY

Following on from my opening outline of Pastiche Poetry (see my blog yesterday titled ‘Pastiche Poetry’ ), here are some of my own efforts (you may call them concoctions or confections if you’d rather) which I have based on the well-known opening lines of six different poets  . . .

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‘Home Thoughts, From Abroad’, Robert Browning …

Oh to be in England
Now that April’s there; 
Whate’er the goddamn weather
It’s March I just can’t bear.


 

‘If’, Rudyard Kipling …

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
Then you’re a very special person
And I’m another bloody cockatoo.


 

‘This be The verse’, Philip Larkin …

They tuck you up your mum and dad,
Make sure you go to sleep, 
And then they get the cards out
While from you there’s not a peep.


 

‘Casablanca’, Felicia Dorothea Hemans …

The boy stood on the burning deck
Whence all but he had fled.
He couldn’t help but think ‘By heck! 
Those clods left me for dead.’


 

‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’, William Wordsworth …

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vale and hill,
When all at once I saw a shroud,
It made my very heart standstill.


 

‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’, W.B.Yeats …

I will arise and go now
And go to Innisfree;
I need to meet my muse there,
Commune with Calliope.

 

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… And Then There Were Four

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London, Victoria Embankment, late 19th Century … Pen & Wash – WHB – 2014

Late autumn evening
treading wet leaves
on the broad embankment
 beside the dark river;
starry sky
and the pavement spotted
with lights
dark pools between
those balustrade sentries
the eighty year old
yablochkov candles
(the country’s very first

electric street lights)
still throwing the trees’ shadows
across the road
to Victoria’s gardens.

Perhaps memory twists my tale;
mike, dave, wally, ray,
with me five of us,
fresh lads
freshers too
up from the far country
to study
to see the big city
to re-start a life
men now
together
soliciting knowledge
tempting experience.

Interned for a Chelsea month,
then the anticipated incursion,
our first excursion
into the great city
set for new challenges
no plan
just exploration;
for the moment
nothing cerebral
just life in the moment
flâneurs

awaiting a happening
neophytic
greenhorns.

Walking where Victoria walked,
or did she ever really
enjoy her gardens by the river?
thrilling evening
walking that promenade,
drinking the sights
eating the sounds
devouring the smells and tastes
soaking up the river
and the beer,
Victoria’s Embankment Gardens.

We didn’t know it then
nor did any of us suspect
it was to be ray’s swan song
sweet Thames run softly
and be his swan song.

Turned up Villiers Street,
Kipling’s and Evelyn’s street,
tumbled into The Trafalgar,
seedy then,
well, rare student prices,
waitress in black and white
I remember
the white cap with lace
and black band
the tiny white apron
on black dress
alluringly short
wiping her hands
by rubbing them seductively
on her aproned thighs,
“what can I get you lads?”
… ribaldry …
ray “what time do you finish?”
… her answer
no more than a half-smile;

After the spam fritters
and the glorious knickerbockers
and more small pink hands
attentive hands
rubbed clean
on lacy white apron,
ray’s eyes never taken off them
then drinks
nothing heavy.

Ray fell
must have done
from a great height
smitten I would say
to his adam’s apple core,
eyes only for a pretty face
and those lacy edges.

Conversation ricocheted
across the tables
voices spurted out their verbiage
as those yablochkov candles
expended their light,
more raucous than uncouth.

Then the attempt to close
to dispense with customers
we head for the street
ray stays in his seat
“’bye chaps, I’ll see you.”

… But he never did.

Nor we him.
Ever again.

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The Thames Embankment is a work of 19th Century civil engineering which reclaimed marshy land next to the River Thames in central London.  It follows the North Bank of the river from Westminster Bridge to Blackfriars Bridge.

The Victoria Embankment Gardens , built also in the latter part of the 19th Century, separate the embankment and the road running alongside from the buildings on the south side of Whitehall, Trafalgar Square and The Strand.

Villiers Street is a short connecting thoroughfare, now mainly pedestrianised, running from the Thames Embankment and Embankment underground Station uphill to the Strand, Charing Cross Mainline Railway Station  and Trafalgar Square.  It contains many restaurants and eating establishments.
The Trafalgar Café, however, can no longer be found there.

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