Life ahead you See
Was never just about Me
For you and I will Be
Ever and always ‘We’
Flicker-flow my mind
Within its febrile cauldron
Stir the mix
Threatening to connect
But rarely touching
But does not flame
So many false dawns
So few horizons reached
Resolved in mediocrity
The Hills of my Childhood
The hills of my childhood
Mountains to me
Remain in my memory
And still I can see
Their contours throbbing
Against the bright sky
With every sigh.
I climbed, scrambled upwards
To grasp what they pledged
In heedless delight
My keenness knife-edged.
The summit had beckoned
Becoming my mission
My reason for living
My only ambition.
And as my heart pounded,
As upwards I raced,
It presaged my future,
The world that I faced.
To view from the summit
The expanse of my world
Was a glimpse of hereafter
Nature’s steady hand
Its season’s sure permanence
Gives respite from doubt
As the dawn broke
In the pregnant East
And beams of burgeoning day
Stretched across the yellowed sky
The songbirds’ treetop threnody
Broke into my dream
Sleep giving way
And all too soon replaced
In that initial gentle awareness
Of life renewed once more
Its promise and its worries
Suddenly looming large
Within my newly unlocked consciousness
Potently recalling life’s commitments
Of my obligations
And accompanied by the knowledge
Of decisions to be made
Promises to be met
Expectations to be fulfilled
Only the guarantee of Nature’s steady hand
Of each day’s new dawn,
Of the cycle of each recurring season
Promising a prospect of its permanence
Thus bestowing respite from our doubts
When I was young and foolish, she was winsome, sweet and cute,
I was given to firkytoodling, a pleasurable pursuit,
Practised by young lovers with a semblance of finesse,
Yet fraught with muffed advances and frustration I confess.
The way matters proceeded was with hesitations fed,
With never a suggestion of retiring to a bed.
No, circumspection ruled and held us all within its thrall,
For fear of finding that we didn’t have the wherewithal.
Not quite understanding as to where it all might lead,
And a minimal perception of what it meant to breed.
Plus a fear of breaking all those long instilled taboos,
Which governed all the protocol on cuddling, smooch and schmooze.
I tried to reason with myself, to tell myself to try,
Just let my wandering hands explore and not to be so shy
For she had let me get this far, an arm around her neck,
So surely now she’d let me have more than just a peck.
So I attempted in the dark, a first-time “Do I dare? “
A fumble here, a fiddle there, the lightest touch in hope elsewhere,
Investigating bra straps and those buttons on her blouse,
Fumbling fingers trying hard her passion to arouse.
Then fatally, I hesitated, faltered, flinched and dithered,
I’d lost my will, my heart stood still, all resolution withered.
I’d been turned on, fluffed chance now gone, and fate got in the way;
The moment passed, and soon I knew, today was not my day.
[ Firkytoodling: a Victorian term for canoodling, or being amorous. ]
I’ve lived outside my fantasy
But now I’m moving in
Reality removes itself
No chance I’ll let it win
The safe distance I have kept
Recedes, becomes the past,
And dreams become the truth for me
My day has dawned at last
Life and love are now as one
Merging desire and hope
Becoming all that promise meant
Ensuring I will cope.
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
for good or ill
I never will
Access in any other way
Than through my weeping soul
[ 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.
I 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.
. . . 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.
‘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!
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.