The Borderlands of POETRY – 2

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Photo by Vladislav Reshetnyak on Pexels.com

PART THE SECOND

 

My Weeping Soul

 

I weep my truths in poetry
And from my unconscious mind
In the borderlands there
Where the finite
And the incomprehensible meet
My secrets are torn
Crying to be freed
To be revealed
In poured out singing words
Shed in images
Subtle revelatory pictures
My art telling of those wondrous places
Secreted within my core
Which
for good or ill
I never will
Access in any other way
Than through my weeping soul

 

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Early 20th Century Autograph Books

[ Wednesday Replay # 1 ] 

Previously published on Roland’s Ragbag on August 6th 2016 at:
‘Early 20th Century Autograph Books’


 

Autograph books, where they exist, are now used mainly for collecting the signatures ( or at least the scribbled ciphers) of the latest popular music or sports star.

Compare this scribble below by Wimbledon Champion, Andy Murray, in 2013, with, from my own autograph collection (of 2), this perfectly legible  autograph of England and Yorkshire batsman, Len Hutton, obtained in the 1940s . . .

100 years ago Autographs Books were primarily more for the collecting and usually exchanging, of aphorisms, homilies, comments,  pithy verses, simple drawings, personal messages, with friends and relatives.

These autograph books of the first half of the 20th Century, give a clear picture of the social mores and conventions of the time.  Their contents can be clearly seen as a means of passing popular wisdom on to subsequent generations. Nowadays they may be thought of by some as schmaltzy, even maudlin, but they do present a picture of the tastes and sentiments of that time and help to remind us of a much simpler and less cynical age.

 REPRODUCE BELOW, In Slide show format) SOME OF THE SKETCHES FROM MY OWN FAMILY’S AUTOGRAPH BOOKS – THE MAJORITY OF THE ENTRIES ARE DATED 1929.

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. . . AND HERE ARE THE TEXTS OF SOME OF THE MORE DISCERNING ENTRIES . . .


Beware sweet maid when men come to thee
And say they seek their soul’s affinity
When all they want, the base espousers,
Is someone to sew buttons on their trousers.


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‘Just a few lines from a would-be poet’


It’s very hard to find a friend
When your heart is full of hope.
It’s harder still to find a towel
When your eyes are full of soap.


In ascending the hill of prosperity
May you never meet a Friend


It’s not the one that knows the most
That has the most to say.
Nor yet the one that has the most
That gives the most away.


Love is like a mutton chop
Sometimes cold – Sometimes hot

Whether cold or whether hot
It’s not a thing to be forgot.


‘Taint what we have,
But what we give,
‘Taint what we are,
But how we live,
‘Taint what we do,
But how we do it,
That makes life worth
Going through it.


Make new friends but keep the old,
One is silver, the other gold;
Cheeks may wrinkle, hair grow grey,
But friendship never knows decay.


When the golden sun is sinking,
When your time from care is free,
When of others you are thinking,
Will you sometimes think of me?


Written in faltering, scratchy handwriting …

This is a damned bad pen you’ve given me!

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Wednesdays

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Mask – Canterbury, UK.

Woden’s Day. 

In a change of plan from my previous publication schedule, I shall normally use Wednesday as a catch-up, filler, marking time day.   On occasion I will take the opportunity  for a re-run of one of my previously published poems.  Sometimes I will use the space for reflection, or for the publication of a loved or challenging work of music, poetry, or the visual arts.

At other times, as today, I may just take a rest and deny you the joy or irritation of yet another blog from Roland’s Ragbag.

 

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Till The World Ends

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Detail of a Dante Gabriel Rossetti painting, modelled by his wife, Elizabeth Siddal

PROMISE TO A LOST LOVE

As the pull of the moon
And the push of the wind
Cause the waves to break on the shore,

So the lure of your face
And the pulse of your heart
Will ever my lifeblood restore.

Till the tides end their flow
And the breeze ceases motion
I vow it’s just you I’ll adore

For when the end comes
And I’m covered in earth
I’ll be with you for time evermore.

 

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‘As When …’ – Three Haiku

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‘Farne Islands’ Northumbria … Photo: WHB – 2012

As When . . .

THREE HAIKU

 

As when the waves rage
So does my turbulent life
Beat upon my shore

As when the sky weeps
So do my eyes shed their tears
For those friends now gone

As when the wind gusts
So does my discontent rage
For those without love

 

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Your Country Needs You

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Doug, a dear friend of mine, died recently at the age of 95.  In 1943, at the age of eighteen, he was drafted into the Royal Air Force and trained as a pilot. In the latter stages of World War Two he was posted to the Cocos Islands in the East Indian Ocean from where he carried out several missions.  At the end of the Far East War in September, 1945, he took part in the relief of Changi prison, the notorious Prisoner of War camp in Singapore where the Japanese interred many of their prisoners.

I have written this poem in an attempt to understand something of the situation which he and many other young men faced in those precarious times.   

TO  DOUG

Given a bomber at twenty one
A young man’s coming of age
Told to use it wisely
On the far east’s war-torn stage

A Lancaster
A lethal gift
To war’s sad sorry tale
An airborne killer
Sky high thriller
Death following in its trail

You grow up quickly in a war
No marking time
No second thoughts
Prevarication precluded
No time for rage
Get on with it
With reality engage

This his introduction
No subterfuge
With minimal instruction
No simulation
Taught to deliver destruction
Reality games now

Yes, young man,
Your country needs you
To fill the gaps left by those
Who bought it
– For their country –
Before you do the same

But, chin up
Soldier on
stiff lip and all that
Who knows
You may be home by Christmas

 

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Ground crews of No.356 Squadron RAF based at the Brown’s West Island, Cocos Islands, celebrate on hearing the news of the surrender of Japan.  (Published under the terms and conditions of the Imperial War Museum Non Commercial Licence, including use of the attribution statement specified by IWM. For this item, that is: © IWM (CI 1557)

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A Secret Sonnet

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‘Moonlight Tryst’ – WHB: Pen an ink, Dec.2017

A SECRET SONNET

They stressed my heart and bled it
Seeking to find you there,
But try as they could to discover
They never will find out where
You hide in lonely seclusion,
Your impregnable lonely lair.

For you are my cerebral lover,
Living a life in my brain;
We hold our trysts in the moonlight,
Let them look for ever in vain,
They never ever will find you,
For there is nought to explain.

Just a salve to pain and depression,
A caprice with a discreet confession.

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Stillness

 

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‘Solitude’: Rydal Water, Cumbria, The Lake District, UK … Pen & Ink – WHB 1991  ©

 

STILLNESS

 

This stillness and the beauty all around me

Bring with them peace and grace for which I yearn;

For here among the lakes and mountains resting

I sense my hopes and dreams will now return.

 

For now I’ve reached a time when life has bitten,

Reminding me of pleasures once enjoyed;

Since lost in cares and daily obligations

How Nature can supplant and fill the void.

 

Its healing powers I know and cannot question;

They bring delights I cannot bear to miss.

They sing to me of other loves and places,

And speak to me of other times than this.

 

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Nature’s  Beneficence

NATURE’S  BENEFICENCE

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Tall the grass grows in the thicket
Thriving without a thought of me
Each blade designed in Nature’s wisdom
Green and graceful, firm and free.

Strong the sapling stretches higher
Gathering strength to reach the sky
Intent on proving ever taller
Just as worthy as you or I.

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Soft the thistle drenched in down
Welcoming wind to spread its seed
Calling to the listening heavens
For its force to feed its need

High in the sky the blackbird singing
Passing judgement on the day
Once again the evening thrilling
Sweeping all my cares away

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Perfumed the scent of rambling rose
Drifts across my consciousness
The natural world brings me its joy
The surest cure for worldly stress

For as the day draws to its close
Such thoughts as these bring me content
As night-time comes and daylight goes
I count my blessings, heaven sent

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Poem and photographs by WHB … 2017 ©

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My Distant Star

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Van Gogh – 1888: ‘Starry Night over the Rhone’ (detail) … Musee d’Orsay

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MY DISTANT STAR

 

It’s not what I meant
by following my star
but that’s how it is
you’re so remote and afar.

so in my reflections
I make the connections
I’ve been living your life
I’ve laid siege to your mind
and fenced in your feelings
thinking your thoughts
and wishing your wants
your dreams I’ve been dreaming

 so what am I doing
with this surrogate presence?
what will I find
and what can I prove
amidst mist and fashion
by chasing each clue?
a sense of your passion
that essence of you?

I need to give you a meaning
to capture that feeling
of truly belonging
no longer just dreaming
no longer an adjunct
no remote stalker
given to stealing
your dreams, thoughts and wishes
your love and your kisses

 and then if I dare
all that I want
is your love to snare
rejoice in the glow
all else is despair

 

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