The Borderlands of POETRY – 4

book book series business chapter

Photo by Pixabay on




Poetry is my life revealed,
For there, in depth of thought,
Lie all my hopes, my dreams expressed
In words intense and tightly wrought.

Exploring what I hardly know,
Seeking as though dreaming,
I struggle to define my life,
Grasping for more meaning.

The confines of experience
I venture to pursue,
Defining life and love and death,
Their meaning to construe.

And when I’ve sifted every thought,
Mined the deepest seams,
I feel I’ve drained my Muse’s well,
Finding only dreams.



LOVE IS . . .



LOVE IS . . .


LOVE is the icing on life’s cake

The sweetness added to its floury mix.

Long may it last to succour my soul’s fate,

Still caring as life’s tireless timepiece ticks.





Burne-JonesWmMorris-Angel Of Sorrow-Christ Church Stained Glass

William Morris/Burne-Jones …  ‘The Angel Of Sorrow’ – Stained Glass, Christchurch, Oxford


So sad the sound
Of wailing

Blooded by fate
Taut and tense
Exuding fear
Dread and anguish
In frantic response to
Vile and cowardly acts of
The deranged
Our response can only be
Love for life
For those distressed
And retribution
In whatever hereafter
For the perpetrators
Their hatred

Forever condemned


Easter, Love & Cricket


A Rictameter is a fixed-syllabic poetry form, similar to the Haiku and the Cinquain   ( Click here See my own cinquain in an earlier blog.  ).  The rictameter starts with a two-syllable word as the first line.  Then the line length in syllables is consecutively increased by two, i.e. 2, 4, 6, 8, 10.  Then down again, from 8, 6, 4, 2.   The final of the 9 lines is required to be the same two syllable word as in the opening line.

The format was created in the early 1990s by two cousins, Jason Wilkins and Richard Lunsford, for a poetry contest that was held as a weekly practice of their self-invented order, ‘The Brotherhood of the Amarantos Mystery’, which was apparently inspired by the Robin Williams film ‘Dead Poet’s Society’.

I have attempted three versions of this format below . . .



The human race
Release them from their sins
Forgive them their indiscretions
Instead torment me on that cruel cross
That I might thus remind them all
That God our father loves
And all our sins




Love hurts
It burns the soul
From lust to jealousy
It does not let up from that pain
So put alongside with its times of bliss
The memories of anguished dread
When all seemed to be dead
All reason says
Love hurts.


straight bat


Keep a straight bat
All that they throw at you
Face up to it with fortitude
Don’t be average be an all-rounder
And when it’s time to pull up stumps
Try to carry your bat
Don’t declare, that’s




An ancient Japanese verse form, said historically to have preceded the haiku.  The TANKA follows strict rules for the  construction of lines, syllables and verses.  

There should be 5 lines in each verse and these should be of 5,7,5,7,7 syllables.
No rhymes are required, and there should be a minimum of 3 verses connected in a single story, thought or conceit.

My first attempt at a TANKA . . .

I took a right turn
It led to that promised land
Earthly Nirvana
Where destiny awaits me
Offers rejuvenation.

So love comes to me 
Late in life it grows in me
Promising new hope 
Like the acorn healthy seed
Awaiting its fruition.

What if I pass on
Before I’ve even tasted
These promised pleasures
Will my shattered hopes repair
There in Never-Never Land?


Mortuary Chapel, Lochearnhead … Watercolour  – WHB – 2001


Love Is …

Love Is . . .


My initial diagnosis

Was cirrhosis or fibrosis,

But my gnosis being hypnosis,

Then to reach apotheosis

We need mutual symbiosis.



You may recognise that the opening line of my verse above was also a line in a popular song of 1960,  ‘Goodness Gracious Me’, sung as a duet by Sophia Lauren and Peter Sellers.
Photograph . . . Surrey 2016 . . .  WHB.



No Way To Treat A Lady




The way to treat a lady when you’re tired
Is not to dump her in a bin and run.
Why not admit that she you once admired
Has lost your love and now your chapter’s done.

To tip her in a bin head first was cruel,
Forgetting all the love she gave to you.
For once she was your all transcendent jewel;
A wretched end was not the thing to do.

She was owed far better from her erstwhile lover,
A fitting end would be a parting prayer,
To let goodbyes be said, the party’s over,
And move on to the next furtive affair.

We hope your new amour will treat you better
Than you deserve, you two-faced cheating brute.
Perhaps she’ll send that candid scarlet letter,
The one which spills the beans on your repute.

Just remember this my callous Casanova.
That when you end your defunct escapades.
When all that great ferment at last is over,
Then, what you sow you’ll truly reap in spades.


I took these two photographs in 2009 at a garden centre in Surrey, England … WHB






Oh yes, I’m now old and decrepit,
But neither past it nor fetid.
In no way I’m over and finished;
My ardour still has not diminished.

… ‘COS …

Age has not wearied me yet;
Desire is still with me,
Lust still stirs within me,
I’m a game old codger, you bet!

…  SO …


You look divine.
If you were mine
I’d drool and dote,
You’d have my vote.

I’d fire Love’s dart
To win your heart.
That’s not a sin,
I know I’d win.

I’d face the press,
Ignore the mess.
I’d  tie you to me
And lose the key.

With every wish
I’d  be selfish.
You’d have to be
Welded to me.

And each new day
Would show the way
To hold love fast,
To make it last.

And every kiss
Would speak of bliss,
Would prove at last
Life had not past.

They say I’m old
And won’t be told;
That love has past,
Dried up at last.

But yet I know
I’d love you so.
Despite my age
I’d take the stage.

You’d be my queen
And reign supreme
Over our peers.
For which three cheers.

So here’s the rub,
The heart, the nub.
What we’d have then
Is our Amen.

‘Twould gave us hope,
Help us to cope
With life, with pain,
To live again.

And when at last
Our time was past,
Our journey done,
We’d be as one.

. . .   so . . .

Take a note!
I’m not dead yet,
And, get this quote,
“I’d like to bet
You’ll be like me,
You’ll have a ball
When you can see
Work is not all.”




What Might Have Been . . . THEN




What Might Have Been . . . THEN

Did I ever kiss you
in those halcyon days of old?
did I ever hold you
in my arms
to your ear?
or say
I want you so?

It didn’t happen
did it?
It could have
but it didn’t
such a wasted moment
such a forfeited life

What I know now,
but didn’t
you were there
waiting for me
seeking a glimpse
of recognition
or even a nod
 to your very existence

What I feel now
was not an option
It was outside my ken
barely a glance away
no more than a word away
but a whole world away
from mine
or so I thought

I could have taken
that other path
the road not taken
into that parallel world
that alternative reality
the sliding door
into another future
I chose differently
I didn’t know
didn’t even consider

that there might be
that there was
an alternative

But In my ignorance
in my indifference
you left and
I demurred

For you
I know now
there was a pain
a hurt un-mended

So I departed
to a separate future
itself now discarded
this time
for you

So long ago
is everything

Oh if I had spoken
broken that ice
 to find that different future
 grasped at chance
and fused we two together
 on life’s unwavering path
with hope
that all that came to pass
would prove to be
life’s key
its answer to failure

But would that alternative
that re-positioned love
have lasted long
and still been fresh
and sunny
after a lifetime

Or would it
would it have palled
just been repeated
on another plane
and left us
where we are now
and turning to another
for succour

are both lives
being lived right now
co-existing in their own space
along with all those other choices
 I did not make?

amidst uncertainty
there is a certainty

time pleases no one
history wins
and history is the truth
It has to be the truth
for us

when we ourselves
have lived it
however many histories there are

When we have loved
not loved
re-discovered love
we must
have experienced
the truth
a life

which we can take

Into the future

Perhaps this is it
so much better than
what happened

… Then

  #      #      #

I believe
at the time of their making
our choices
were the right ones
only later
in another life
did they become
 the wrong ones

Nothing is pre-ordained
that cannot be
neither is anything
or absolute

So many possibilities
so many doors
to choose from
countless ‘what ifs’

Perhaps the order
in which we choose
matters not

Only the life
that is being lived now


 #      #      #


The lead-in illustration is by George Boyce  (geebee2007 /  is for Philip Pullman’s book ‘The Golden Compass’, the first of the ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy, currently being prepared for filming by BBC TV.  The trilogy follows the story of two children, Lyra and Will, as they wander through a series of parallel universes.
Author’s note: I am aware that ‘Alternate Reality’ seems to be used more often than ‘Alternative Reality’, which I nevertheless think is logically the more correct way of describing this concept.

Will you marry me?




‘MARRY ME’ it said in the sky,
The brazenly shouted plea;
Showcasing a lover’s great passion?
A proposal she had to agree.

Was love in there somewhere I wondered?
Was that what the question implied?
A lifelong commitment on offer –
Based on whim, or desire for a bride?

“I’d love to” she whispered so gently,
Accepting his plea without question.
Her doubts were dispelled by his bluster
How could she deny his suggestion?

They married in bliss shortly after,
A lifetime of rapture to come.
With hope for a lifetime of passion?
Well, that’s how it’s meant to be done.

The first happy years ran so smoothly;
The path of love seemed to be fine,
But the storm clouds were looming above them
Creating a warning fault line.

It was life intervened in their story,
Reality soon took a hold.
The pressures of work, money, children
 Soon their existence controlled.

A lassitude lay on their marriage,
Their ardour and pleasures defeated.
Love stalled, reduced to the humdrum,
Both felt as though they’d been cheated.

Taking each other for granted
Had become their accepted way;
Caring was never considered,
And love had long gone astray.

Habit had killed off their lustre;
Routine  had entered their souls;
Self-regard took over from closeness;
Possessions their only goals.

So was it for this they were married,
Just to reach an acceptance of sorts?
All passion long lost from their dowry
Now littered with bile and retorts.

The end of this story I’m told?
They parted with barely a whisper;
What began with a flamboyant gesture,
Ended, ‘Not with a bang but a whimper’.

This last line echoing T.S.Eliot’s oft-quoted lines from ‘The Hollow Men’  . . .

‘This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.’


My photograph was taken from a beach in Cornwall, U.K.,  in 2006.  I do trust things turned out better in reality than in my  rather jaundiced, wholly imagined, speculations on the subject of marriage and the impulsive gestures which do often bring it about  –  as demonstrated recently in some of the ostentatious proposals which took place at the Rio Olympics.