Reverie #9: Echoes of the Past

Roseberry

Pen & Ink – WHB … Northern Hills

I need to listen to that hidden sound of silence
the murmur that thrills lost souls
and as it swells
reverberates among those distant heathered hills

I crave to hear it burgeon on that lonely land
that misty moor of distant memory
where dwell lush images of the Green Hill
of the High Cliff
the Cass Rock
the Apple Garth
and the bubbling burbling beck
its red waters blooding its banks
with reminders of its ferrous track

A distant memory
rising from deep beneath those ancient northern hills
born of Nature’s cycle
birthed in ironstone
and nurtured in those recurring dreams of my youth
and the lasting images of my old age

Bar-Rose

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The Old Insomniac

Sleep1959

‘Sleep’ – WHB … pencil

The Old Insomniac

Old age has its delights, 
Its pensions and its freebies, 
But, oh, the restless nights
Give me the heeby jeebies. 

My pleasures are so various, 
From playing cards to skiing, 
Some dubious, some precarious, 
From lawn bowls to sight-seeing. 

But at night I still can’t sleep;
Perhaps I am too active? 
Instead of counting sheep
I need something more distractive. 

Maybe I’ll take up yoga, 
Or write another will, 
Decamp to Saratoga
– Or just take another pill! 

 

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Late Love

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LATE  LOVE

Eagerly he jumped into bed
His vows to now fulfil
His lady fair sat on the bed, 
Took a little pill. 

Seductively she stripped and then
Slipped on her pink silk gown;
Opened the drawers beside the bed
She twirled and then sat down. 

Slowly she took her dentures out, 
Popped them into a box. 
Beside this she placed her spectacles, 
Her things, her rings, her rocks. 

Off came her hair, a huge blonde wig, 
Into the drawer it followed. 
A few more pills went in her mouth, 
Then these she swiftly swallowed.

Next a glass eye was taken out, 
Put in a velvet box, 
Then placed sedately in the drawer
Beside those golden locks.

She then unscrewed a wooden leg, 
Wrapped it in a napkin. 
That also went into the drawer
“What else to come?” I’m asking.

Until, she said, “At last my dear, 
Now I am all yours.”
But I was undecided, p’raps
I’d be better in those drawers.

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As I Grow Old

Father William

AS  I  GROW  OLD

As I grow old
So I become bold

No more restrictions 
Disallowed contradictions

Youth brought its gaucheness 
Implacable faultless

Taking for granted 
Entitlement implanted

But age, ah the pleasure, 
Getting the measure 

Of life in its dotage
Foregoing all rampage 

Now felt understanding
All pressure withstanding

Now my time has turned
Rights I have earned

Taken life’s bites
Its end in my sights

I’ve come to a time
When the next world is mine

Forgetting, forgiving,
Poetically living

No longer the dread
Of just wishing I’d said

For in verse yet unsung
I know what I’ve done

Brought to fruition
A lifetime’s ambition

And for ever for me
Life’s summation, its key. 

 

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A Dream Enriched

Burne-Jones-The Love Song

Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones: ‘The Love Song’

A DREAM ENRICHED

 She came to me
A dream enriched
When I was most in need.
Long summers passed
And she was there
She held my hand
Until with time
My troubles did recede

 And then
When age had bitten back
She gave her love to me
Without a qualm
She took my arm
For she was Spring
As Autumn came
And I was home at last.

 

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‘On Ageing Gloriously’ – REPRISE

[ Wednesday Replay # 4 ]
 
To counterbalance my poem ‘On Ageing Disgracefully’, re-published last Wednesday, I now re-present my upbeat version of old age, previously posted by me on  
OldAge&Youth

‘Old Age & Youth’ …  Pen and ink – WHB.  2017

ON AGEING GLORIOUSLY

Yes, I am getting older now; my prime has slipped away;
But I’m beating off the Harpies who want to bring doomsday.
But the benefits now brought about through all the new advances
Have brought about a change in me, at least they’ve upped my chances.

For, mine eyes have seen the glory never found since I was nine;
I ‘ve cast aside my spectacles reversing my decline.
I’ve got new eyes now, darling, and the cataracts have gone,
So despite my aged torso I will still keep staggering on.

And my new knees tell the story of my better prospects now;
I’m going to try the Great North Run if only they allow,
‘Cos I feel as though I’m twenty four and kicking down the door.
At least I’ll get a few years now before I need some more.

My metal hip has been replaced; I now have one in plastic;
It’s been a great success, although the experience was quite drastic.
I can hobble with the best of them and the stairs I cope with ease;
Yes, walking is a doddle now and life is just a breeze.

My hearing aid’s a bonus, I know what’s being said on telly.
My confidence I have regained, I’d rival Machiavelli;
The end still justifies the means; these life aids serve their purpose,
But instead of “Turn the volume up”, I’m wishing they were wordless.

My carpal tunnel surgery stopped my fingers feeling numb.
I’m twice the man I used to be, an artist I’ve become;
So now you see me in my prime reflecting on new marvels;
My hands are fully functional now; I have not lost my marbles.

My lumbar corset gives me an efficient spinal brace.
My posture’s as it should be now, no longer a disgrace.
I stand upright and hold my place wherever I may be,
Just the occasional little blip, one you’ll hardly ever see.

The wig I found provided me with a new lease of life;
No longer bald and reticent – I’ve got a new-found wife.
I’m wond’ring how surprised she’ll be when we get into bed,
Perhaps she’ll want a payback when she finds she’s been misled?

They gave me my libido back with just a small blue pill;
Revived my passion and my lust – be that for good or ill.
I must say I’m enjoying those long lost thrills again,
No longer from the Tantric Arts, do I have to abstain.

They now give me a freebie both for Christmas and tv
Free bus and tube rides I can get, I’ve become a devotee
Of touring round my city all the splendid sites to see
Suits me to be busy now at the age of eighty three.

A pension I am grateful for, although it’s not enough,
I paid my dues for forty years, I did think that was tough;
Yes, the National Health helps me a lot, I get my medicine free,
And if I want a pick-me-up, my nurse is good to me.

My mouth has been replenished with a set of new white teeth;
I thought it best to have that done before they bought my wreath.
I look forward to my time in Heaven, but perhaps it’s just as well,
That I can still enjoy life now – in case I go to Hell.

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On Ageing Disgracefully – Reprise

[ Wednesday Replay # 3 ] 

[  First posted on    ]

‘Age I do abhor thee’

Whilst the following rhyming couplets in no way describe my own experience of encroaching dotage, the verses are my attempt to express a view of the feelings and needs of a ‘grumpy old man’ contemplating his future, isolated by senility from his nearest and dearest.

These thoughts were generated by a re-reading of the madrigal verses, Crabbed age and Youth’, attributed to Shakespeare, coupled with watching again an episode of Victor Meldrew’s character in the TV comedy, ‘One foot in the Grave’.


HarryClarke-faust1

CRABBED AGE

(On Ageing Disgracefully)

So who can we say will look after us
When we get old and cantankerous?

Can we rely on those near and dear? 
Or are we forsaken, alone in our fear?

We who were once so unstinting and kind
Do we not earn at last true peace of mind?

BUT . . .

All is not clear . . . To be truly sincere, 
The man I was then is no longer here.

FOR . . .

I’ve changed, and not for the better 
I’ve lost it now – down to the letter.

No one can know the way I now feel. 
I’ve got the worst of Faust’s done deal.

Bad-tempered with age; rancorous, unkind,
Left, with my youth, all my humour behind.

My bilious mien, my irascible stance 
Will never win friends or my nature enhance.

I’m old now and weary and decidedly bent 
My spirit and mind to perdition I’ve sent.

Choleric, petty, liverish, sickly, 
A curmudgeon, malcontent, surly and prickly.

I’m grumpy, I know, and I’m sad.
I’m thoughtless and tetchy and bad.

I’m full of regret and I hurt,
Bombastic and bitter and curt.

I know when I’m right, but not when I’m wrong,
I know where I live, not where I belong.

Selfish, caustic, hurtful, snide,
This present-day world I cannot abide.

My life is defiled, and I’m full of bile;
A fossilised drone, sterile and vile.

NEVERTHELESS . . .

I need you beside me all the day long.
Don’t tell me you’re tired – I know that you’re wrong.

I remember those vows that we once affirmed 
When the future was all that you and I yearned.

But I’m near to the end, so I’m taking a bow,
Who once was your soul-mate Is only a shell now.

The love that once held you so closely to me
Has gone since I’ve grown to be bitchy and gloomy

I know that you don’t want to stay any longer 
I’m just in your way now, it’s you who is stronger.

I’d hoped I could ask you to restore my dreams 
But time has dealt us its last blow it seems.

SO . . .

I relinquish my hold, and consign all my sorrows 
To a life that defeats me – and all our tomorrows.

 

HarryClarke-faust

The illustrations are from the Irish illustrator, Harry Clarke’s, 1921 edition of Goethe’s ‘FAUST’.

NEXT WEEK . . .  ‘On Ageing Gloriously’ !!!

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Faustian Offers Refuted

Holbein-Mort2

From ‘Le Triomphe de la Mort’ by Iean Holbein

FAUSTIAN OFFERS REFUTED

 

He has brought me here 
Recycled my life 
To revive my youth
Its promise given to me again 
To tempt my taste for change

Had it been different 
choices changed 
Those faustian offers not refuted 
Where would wishes 
Then rejected 
Have taken me

But I know 
I am no more fitted now
Than I was then  
To take the right course 
Choose the salient path

So once again I must reject the offer 
Renew my current course 
Leave longing for reason 
For that unknown and unknowing 
Certitude

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WHEN . . .

BredonHill1991

 

WHEN . . .

When lust has stepped aside for love
And zeal has lost its bite;
When age denies a wholesome life,
How else to snare delight?

When warmth becomes placidity
I’m apt to end the fight,
But memories of a life of love
Turn darkness into light.

For when our oneness has expired
And you are out of sight,
You still are here in memory
And I still hold you tight.

 

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To my followers and to casual visitors to Roland’s Ragbag:

I shall not be publishing further poems or photographs this week.
Hopefully I will be back on-line with regular postings shortly afterwards.

 

Sketch & Verse by WHB . . . aka  ROLAND  ©

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