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.

“YOU HAVE A VISITOR”

Winter Trees 1 – WHB … Pen – 1988

YOU HAVE A VISITOR

“You have a visitor”

 “… Have I ? …”

 “Hello!  How are you?”

Me?
To see me.
Who?
I know him . . .
Not …? … I think so
You?
Who are you?
Do I know you?
Should I know you?

“… Oh … Yes … Hello! …” 

Familiar …
and he knows
who I am.
 … Who I am
… Who am I?

‘I’m not at home, you know.’

Not at my home.
In a Home
On my own.
At home.

“Are you happy here?’

I used to know,
I think,
what happiness was …
Now? …
It’s not important
… Is it?

“ … Yes …”

Nod …
Shake my head.  

“Do they feed you well?”

Do they?
Sometimes …
I think

“… Yes …”

“Isn’t the weather lovely?”

I like the sun.
When it shines.
… and the rain.
… Not the wind. 

“… Windy …
It’s very windy …”

“Do you sit outside sometimes?”

I think so.
I don’t know
It’s nice.

 “Yes . It is very windy”

“ … The leaves are moving …”

It’s not my day
It was my day
…  Once.
It’s not my day.
Yesterday was my day.
…  Once.
 When I was a child.
But I am a child.
Aren’t I?

“Do they provide entertainment for you?”

“… Sometimes …”

‘Are they looking after you?’

They help me.
She helps me
Who is she?
She wants to help me.
I don’t want help
But I need help
Don’t I?

When I’m wet
My chair’s wet
I need help
Take me away.
Let me be
Help me

“… Oh, Yes …
… The leaves are moving …”

“Oh, look, it’s tea time”

My time
They’ll help me eat
Something else to do.
… To do something
To be me…

But not here.
I’m all right here
I’m happy here
… Am I?
For now …  Yes

 “… Is it ?…
… I do like tea …”

“… When can I go home?…”

“You are at home

 “. . . Am I? …”

 “I’ll come again  …  soon”

 “… Thank you”

#     #     #

 Perhaps next week?

 We are not dead
Neither are we alive

Only react
Never initiate
Only react

 We …
mechanisms,
contraptions

Feel
But
No sense –
That’s nonsense

Only Pain brings relief
from not being alive

#     #     # 

Winter Trees 2 – WHB … ink – 1988

The above is a recounting, to the best of my memory, of the conversation during a visit I paid a few years ago now, to a dear old friend who had, for several months, been living in a nursing home.

REGRET

And now the past pains the present again
Those vivid re-lived passages smart
So I try to disengage my memory
And the sorrowing sobs do not reach my heart.

But the regret will end, it always does.
Nothing retains its sting so long
That memory can’t in time evade.
And what is left … is bitter, bitter circumstance.

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

Goodbye Shilling

(The Decimal Day Legacy)

I remember the 1/-
that slash-dash sign
a favourite of mine
time gone
every shop had one
but
time passed
I know
it breathed its last
50 years ago

Yes
the shilling that was
two tanners or
a bob to me and those
as money comes and goes
5p to you now
twelve copper coppers
hence
one dozen pence
twenty to the sixties pound


But then
deemed unsound
and all became
continent bound
until
sad sight
they turned out the tills
overnight
onto and into counters
joined the farthings
and the thrupenny bits
and called it quits
the death of old-time dough
sad to see them go
Gone to memory’s locker
 to tomorrow’s antiques roadshow

Icons of my Past

KaPow

Icons of my Past

My era has passed and gone,
And with it all my heroes,
But memory lingers long,
Of giants, saints and weirdos.

These I have loved and known,
They made me who I am,
Imbibed while I have grown,
Since I lived in a pram.

How they have coloured my life,
These heroes, these comic bygones,
But through victory and strife,
They’ve ever been my icons.

How many do you remember,
Who live and colour your dreams?
Valiant or tender,
Feeding both laughter and screams.

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These are the ones which live on in my own memory . .  .

Just William:  ‘Just William’ is the first book of children’s short stories about the young school boy, William Brown, written by Richmal Crompton, and published in 1922. William Brown is an eleven-year-old boy, eternally scruffy and frowning. He and his friends, Ginger, Henry, and Douglas, call themselves the Outlaws.  Also appearing in the books is Violet Elizabeth Bott, who is renowned for crying out “I’ll thcream and thcream ’till I’m thick”.  The stories were also used in numerous television, film and radio adaptations of the books.

Roy of the RoversA British comic strip about the life and times of a fictional footballer and later manager named Roy Race, who played for Melchester Rovers.

Biggles & his sidekick, Algernon (‘Algy’) Lacey:  James Bigglesworth, nicknamed “Biggles”, is a fictional pilot and adventurer, the title character and hero of the Biggles series of adventure books, written for young readers by W. E. Johns. There are  almost 100 Biggles books published between 1932 and 1968.

Wilson of the Wizard – The Wonder Athlete illustrated stories first published in 1943 as a comic strip, in the British illustrated story paper ’The Wizard’, written by Gilbert Lawford Dalton and drawn by Jack Glass.

Garth – action-adventure hero, created by Steve Dowling, in a comic strip published in the British newspaper ‘Daily Mirror’ from 1943 to 1997.

Rupert Bear — (with friends, Bill Badger, Edward Trunk and Algy Pug) – comic strip character created by English artist Mary Tourtel and first appearing in 1920 in the Daily Express newspaper.

Desperate Dan was a wild west character in the now-defunct British comic magazine The Dandy.

Dennis the Menace:  a long-running comic strip in the British children’s comic The Beano.

Billy Bunter is a fictional schoolboy created by Charles Hamilton using the pen name Frank Richards. He features in stories set at Greyfriars School, originally published in the boys’ weekly story paper ’The Magnet’ from 1908 to 1940. 

P. C.49 was created for radio by Alan Stranks. PC 49 (Police Constable Archibald Berkeley-Willoughby) was an ordinary bobby on the beat, solving crime in the late 40s and early 50s.

Flash Gordon is the hero of a space opera adventure comic strip created by and originally drawn by Alex Raymond. It was first published in 1934.

Superman is a fictional superhero, created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster. He first appeared in the comic book Action Comics #1 in 1938.

Dan Dare is a British science fiction comic hero, created by illustrator Frank Hampson who also wrote the first stories.  Dare appeared in the Eaglecomic stories from 1950 to 1967. It was also dramatised seven times a week on Radio Luxembourg from 1951to 1956.

Captain Marvel, also known as Shazam, is a fictional American comic superhero, created by artist C. C. Beck and writer Bill Parker 1939 appearing in American comics originally published by Fawcett Comics. He is the alter ego of Billy Batson, a boy who, by speaking the magic word “SHAZAM!” (acronym of six “immortal elders”: Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury), can transform himself into a costumed adult with the powers of superhuman strength, speed, flight and other abilities. Based on comic book sales, the character was the most popular superhero of the 1940s, outselling even Superman.


TheSaint

Simon Templar, The SaintSimon Templar, a Robin Hood-like figure, known as the Saint, the protagonist of a book series by Leslie Charteris and subsequent adaptations on TV., a Robin Hood-like figure, known as the Saint, the protagonist of a book series by Leslie Charteris and subsequent adaptations on TV.

 

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Two Word Tales  #14

man leaning on wall in blue light room

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TWO  WORD  TALES  #14

 

Two words,
‘Not now’
Gave me
Some hope.

Two words,
‘Of course’
Made sure
You would.

Two words,
’Let’s wait’
Denied
That hope.

Two words,
‘In time’
Killed off
My trust.

Two words,
’Give in’
Made me
Despair.

Two words,
’Stay Cool’
For heat
Will kill.

Two words,
‘Look back’
The past
Will teach.

shirtless man

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TWENTY-TWENTY

flight landscape nature sky

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TWENTY-TWENTY

The longest light, the shortest night,
Have passed and now are gone,
And twenty-twenty stumbles on,
A dark phenomenon.

A memory to mark a life,
While I in fear live through it;
Live in purdah, taste the bile,
Trying not to lose it.

But hope and love they bear me on,
Counter my dejection;
Dark skies above will turn to blue
And counter this infection.

 

redline-thin

In Memoriam

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‘The Crypt . . . Pen  –  WHB 2020

In Memoriam

In the crypt
Which is my mind
Lie the tombs
Of those I’ve known
Entrenched within
Each treasured niche
Embalmed in memory
And swathed in love alone

Wife and parents
Beloved friends
Lost loves and lovers
All met their ends
Before I had
a chance to say
I’ll love you till
My dying day

There they now lie
In peace while I
Guard their memories
With a sigh
And rarely lift
Their coffin lid
Remind myself
Of what they did
Of what they once
Had meant to me

For only the blind
Can truly see 

 

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