To Sleep … To Dream

sleep

To Sleep … To Dream

 

Sleep drifts across my consciousness
as I enter that make-believe world
where reality sees through a muslin mask
draped damask silk obscures truth
and a samite screen falls across my past

The difference between then and now fades
as a haze envelopes my senses
featureless clouds descend
and my dream-world begins

Reality now hijacked by myth and legend
a new world
untried
untested
a concoction distilled from my history
as unlike my waking world
as noonday is from midnight
as I am from my shadow

SLEEP

Life’s parade ground

Death’s practice ground

 

divider-sun2

The Thralldom of Words

close up of eyeglasses on book

Photo by ugurlu photographer on Pexels.com

The Thralldom of Words

How unreal
Insensate 
Would this life be
Without words
Sterile
Without the sounds to sing my feelings
The joy of Tongue
Touched by language
Threaded through thought
Expressed
In silken sound
Tempered by the vernacular
Enriched by our true poets

Sounds of the lover’s
Throbbing pleasure
Silken sounds
Of the singer of songs
Soulful
sensuous
That’s what it’s all about, Alfie. 

Living life
Loses meaning 
Is unreal 
Without 
The thrall of words
In trusted tomes
Found fables and
The lust for legend
Joy discovered
In mildewed texts
Throbbing with
Sound
Sense
And feeling

abstract black and white blur book

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

redline-thin

To What Yet Will Be

 

I wanted you to be there
Breaking the cold loch surface
A glimpse of your existence
That sinuous shape
A wave writ large
Imprinted by myth
Granted to my searching eyes
That fearsome snout
Proud Periscope
Rising from the darkness of the depths
To pierce the horizon
Breathing wonder
Awe and grace

Such hopes and wishes
Fulfilled in imagination
Suffice
Sustain my being
When all else fails
Connect my Past
To my Present
And thus
To what yet Will be

Mock Battle

09.Arundel (35)

MOCK  BATTLE

When Normans fought
As Normans did
Upon their mighty battlefields
When once upon a medieval time
Warriors vied in combat
Life was hard
Was short
Was brutal
Living was for the nearly dead
And death was bones amongst the grass

Now we are pleased to read our books
Our Idylls
To watch staged tourneys
Of legend
chivalry
of honour
and Medieval Romance
With little sense of cut and thrust
of jab and slash
of block and parry
a jousting game
bereft of passion
foam-tipped swords
and rubber blades
plywood shields
and plastic helms

men of steel
of acrid smoke
and blood-red trenches
barbed wire and bursting shells
we might know how you felt
on the fields of Passchendaele
the trenches of Mons

Verdun and Arras
The beaches of Dunkirk and Guam

If only we
And these toy soldiers
Shared the hurt
And owned the blame
Of those who gave
Their all for victory

09.Arundel (49)

 

09.Arundel (48)

The photographs were taken by me during a mock medieval battle display by modern-day enthusiasts of the period.  This was presented on the top of the giant keep of Arundel Castle, West Sussex, on my recent visit there in October.

 

 

SELKIE-The Seal Woman – 2

Selkie-WHB-Aug2017a

©   ‘Selkie’ … Coloured Pen – WHB – August 2017

 

SELKIE-The Seal Woman

PART THE SECOND

 

Now
As the surge of the swollen sea
Sweeps the shore
I scan the rolling waves
For a sign of her presence
A hint of her salt-scent
Her seal-self
The searing splash of her tail
As it breaks the foam’s crest

I sense the silky soft touch of her skin
I know she is there
I sense her nearness
In the clutching drift of the current

The sound of her muted cry
wafting to me with the wistful wind
Towards my rock
Her rock
Our rock
The anchor connecting our two realities
The link
Ocean-forged
Wind-weathered
Sun-scorched
Heart-touched
Communion binding us
In those few delicious moments
When our worlds merge
And we become as one

Creatures of neither sea nor land
Melded in Earth’s memory
To exist for ever
In legend

selkie1a

 

banner-floral

 

THE BALLAD OF BEGGAR’S BRIDGE

beggarsbridge-glaisdale-rayblake

BEGGAR’S  BRIDGE

This bridge, in a traditional Pack Horse shape, has remained intact straddling the River Esk near the moorland village of Glaisdale, in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, for 400 years.   The village is about ten miles inland from Whitby, where the River Esk flows into the North Sea.
It is known as Beggars’ Bridge, and was built in 1619, by Tom Ferris, a local man, son of a poor moorland sheep farmer.   Having been turned down as a suitable suitor for his love, Agnes, by her wealthy land-owning father, Tom vowed to seek his fortune and to one day return to claim Agnes’ for his wife.  After many adventures at sea, Tom returned, now a rich man, married Agnes, and prospered, to such an extent that he eventually became the Lord Mayor of Hull.  The bridge, it is said, was erected by Tom as a memorial to his wife, and as a means for future lovers to cross the river without having to brave its often flooded waters.  The story, as it has been passed down, is a mix of fact and fiction.  The basic facts are essentially true, but the story, has become a local legend and has, no doubt been embellished over the course of time.
I have tried my hand at re-telling this story in a simple and traditional ballad style, the results of which efforts I give below . . .

 

THE BALLAD OF BEGGAR’S BRIDGE

He lived beside the river Esk
In a verdant sylvan dale;
His story I must tell you now
A truly stirring tale.

Tom loved a lass of high estate;
It was not meant to be,
For Agnes was of gentry born,
A lowly lad was he.

Her father disapproved the match,
Tom was of humble birth,
No land, no money, no position,
Of very little worth.

But their shared love was sound and solid
So secretly they met.
They shared their passions willingly
But always under threat.

Poor Tom was restless and intent
To run away to sea;
He held fast to the thoughts that stirred
Inside him to be free.

He knew one day he’d win his bride,
He would not be gainsaid;
Beyond this dale there was a world
Where fortunes could be made.

So one dark night he set off late
To wish Agnes farewell;
To promise to return for her,
To ever with her dwell.

She lived beside the river too,
But on the other side.
He therefore had to swim across,
He would not be denied.

The Esk just then was in full spate,
It coursed along the dale.
It almost took Tom’s life that night,
He knew he must prevail.

With strength of ten he forged his way
Across the raging stream;
Then dragged his aching body out
As if within a dream.

With his goodbyes Tom gave his word
That some day he’d return;
And Agnes gave her solemn oath
She’d wait for him in turn.

Tom took himself to Whitby town
And soon with Drake joined battle;
Against the Armada fleet he fought,
Saw off the invading rabble.

A rover in West Indies then
And piracy his game.
Plunder and pillage gave him wealth
And brought a taste of fame.

He felt that now he could return
To claim his promised bride;
Confront her father without fear,
With new found hope and pride.

And so to Glaisdale Tom returned
His roving days now past.
True to her word Agnes rejoiced,
Her hopes fulfilled at last.

They married soon and lived in bliss,
Or so the story goes.
Tom grew in wealth, in power, renown,
Commanding all he chose.

Throughout the north he garnered fame
His name grew ever bigger.
Lord Mayor of Hull he then became,
A well respected figure.

And when his Agnes died at last
Their story he declared,
Would with a bridge over the Esk
With all the world be shared.

A bridge to join the river’s banks
To help new lovers’ trysts;
A bridge secure from spate and flood
Which to this day exists.

The reason it’s called Beggar’s Bridge
No one is very sure.
‘Tis thought was done to prompt us all
That Tom was once so poor.

And so the story I’ve unfolded,
A famed love-lilt of old,
Remains a tale of hearts fulfilled,
The best-loved story told.

beggarsbridge1-2002

Beggar’s Bridge over the River Esk, at Glaisdale, North Yorkshire Moors National Park . . .  Photograph – WHB  – 2002