Love Sonnet

Over one pendant heart our sighs enmesh,
Gripped by a similar aspirant fuse,
To engage and perpetrate our love,
Resolve our natures, past abuse.

Set apart from stolen trysts;
Enjoyed in our own pristine ways;
Captioned by us alone with worth;
Our love supplies itself with praise.

Enthused with thoughts of sacrifice
Made pleasure, when another’s wish
Suggests that all is not suffice,
My hope ferments, divinely sung.

More fully seasoned with each kiss
A good ripe wine tells on the tongue.

Poem: WHB … 1953 – Copyright

SONG – My First Romance

Is there a hope that I can hold,
A hope that I can to me fold
You in my arms,
Die by your charms?

Is there a word that I can say,
A word that will in part repay
You for your trust?
Hold you I must.

Is there in this a single tie,
A knot, a bond, a little lie
To bind, to fix,
Buttress the mix?

Is there a part that I can play?
Can I be certain from today?
Give me the chance –
My first romance.

My Book

row of books in shelf

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My  Book

I am a mere page in history’s book.
OK, half a page
A sentence even
More than a word, surely,
And not just a letter.
But, what sort of book?
What genre best reflects me?
Sums me up?

Page filler or thriller,
A cold-blooded chiller?
A  semantic romantic
A frantic pedantic?

Obvious or discreet
Tattered, perhaps neat?
Remaindered, deleted,
Victorious or defeated?

Pages torn
Plot stillborn?
A weighty tome,
Still out on loan?
Not understandable,
Or un-put-downable?

Whichever best describes my path
A simpleton, a polymath?
I wonder how I’ll be considered.
A wordsmith wizard
Bewildered, jiggered?
Too slick for some,
Too twee for others.

But please, I beg,
Let it be said –
He wrote with ease
The day to seize,
Not just to please
The passing breeze.

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Cryptic Verses

frame less eyeglasses on newspaper

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

CRYPTIC  VERSES

 

We met via a cryptic crossword
Ensnared by a neat cryptic clue
I gave her a smile as a greeting
Followed up by a “How do you do?”

She was young, twenty-three-ish, and pretty,
Presentable, pert and petite.
She rang my Big Ben with a ding-dong
And my heart skipped a jubilant beat.

She was sitting there doing a crossword,
It looked like the one in ‘The Times’.
While I was just taking a breather,
Thinking up verses and rhymes.

Then ‘Wave cereal bowl’ she murmured,
As she looked, without seeing, at me.
Now this, I thought, I could work at.
I gave thanks to the powers that be.

An eight letter answer was needed,
So I set my old brain cells ticking
I knew if I thought hard I’d find it
The clue just needed unpicking.

For ‘cereal’ – think ‘grain’ or think ‘bran’,
And for ‘bowl’ then how about ‘dish’?
But to fit them together I thought,
Would be more than I ever could wish.

But it soon became clear to me
When looking again at the clue,
That what I was looking for now,
A word which meant ‘wave’, that would do.

A light then switched on in my mind
I knew I had twigged it at last
‘BRANDISH’ I yelled with great glee
Assuming she’d leap up and gasp.

But “Calm down!” she abruptly called out
“I ‘d just worked that out for myself.
I don’t need your help you spoilsport.
Go pickle your brains by yourself.”

Disgruntled, I stood up and left,
Yet another faux pas I had made.
One more chance for romance I had blown,
So it’s back to my verse I’m afraid.

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‘CRYPTIC CLUE:  Wave cereal bowl’;   ANSWER:  Bran-dish’

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U. A. Fanthorpe – ‘ATLAS’

 [  No.72 of my favourite short poems  ]

 

After all the recent talk of LOVE surrounding VALENTINE’s DAY, here is a very down-to-earth poem by what we could perhaps call a no-nonsense down-to earth poet,  U.A.Fanthorpe. 

Born in 1928, Ursula Askham (normally using just her initials, U.A.), Fanthorpe, died, aged 79, in 2009, near her home in Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire.  After studying at Oxford University, she went on to teach English at  Cheltenham Ladies’ College for sixteen years, before giving up teaching.  She was aged 50 before her first collection of poems was published, having noted, quite precisely, that “On 18 April 1974 I started writing poems”.  She was later made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was awarded a CBE in 2001 for services to poetry.  In 2003 she received the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry.

Perhaps her best known poem is ‘Atlas’.  The poem presents a far-from-romantic view of LOVE.  Certainly a positive, worthwhile, and all the more powerful for that, view of the realities of a truly loving relationship . . . 

atlas

‘Atlas’

‘ATLAS’ . . . by U. A. Fanthorpe

 

There is a kind of love called maintenance
Which stores the WD40 and knows when to use it;

Which checks the insurance, and doesn’t forget
The milkman; which remembers to plant bulbs;

Which answers letters; which knows the way
The money goes; which deals with dentists

And Road Fund Tax and meeting trains,
And postcards to the lonely; which upholds

The permanently rickety elaborate
Structures of living, which is Atlas.

And maintenance is the sensible side of love,
Which knows what time and weather are doing
To my brickwork; insulates my faulty wiring;
Laughs at my dryrotten jokes; remembers
My need for gloss and grouting; which keeps
My suspect edifice upright in air,
As Atlas did the sky.

 


UA Fanthorpe, from ‘Safe as Houses’ (Peterloo Poets, 1995)


 

fanthorpe

 

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Mock Battle

09.Arundel (35)

MOCK  BATTLE

When Normans fought
As Normans did
Upon their mighty battlefields
When once upon a medieval time
Warriors vied in combat
Life was hard
Was short
Was brutal
Living was for the nearly dead
And death was bones amongst the grass

Now we are pleased to read our books
Our Idylls
To watch staged tourneys
Of legend
chivalry
of honour
and Medieval Romance
With little sense of cut and thrust
of jab and slash
of block and parry
a jousting game
bereft of passion
foam-tipped swords
and rubber blades
plywood shields
and plastic helms

men of steel
of acrid smoke
and blood-red trenches
barbed wire and bursting shells
we might know how you felt
on the fields of Passchendaele
the trenches of Mons

Verdun and Arras
The beaches of Dunkirk and Guam

If only we
And these toy soldiers
Shared the hurt
And owned the blame
Of those who gave
Their all for victory

09.Arundel (49)

 

09.Arundel (48)

The photographs were taken by me during a mock medieval battle display by modern-day enthusiasts of the period.  This was presented on the top of the giant keep of Arundel Castle, West Sussex, on my recent visit there in October.

 

 

IN LOVE

rosetti

IN  LOVE

 

When did the starlight happier seem than now?
The evening’s quiet, when so full of peace?
How does heaven seem so near to me
Now, when I have wished away my heart?

 

Why has the night so sober been?
Why has my mind been reason’s moon?
That this poor sun has felt so long a night
The bark of last year’s growth has now unveiled
A green and stripling age of mind;
Eloping with this redder, browner blaze
Of hopeful, living love.

 

siddal-4
The two paintings above are by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828  – 1882).   His model, who he considered his muse, and who later became his wife, was Elizabeth Siddal (1829 – 1862). 

 

 

SONG – MY FIRST ROMANCE

mylove3

SONG – MY FIRST ROMANCE

Is there a hope that I can hold,
A hope that I can to me fold
You in my arms,
Die by your charms?

Is there a word that I can say,
A word that will in part repay
You for your trust?
Hold you I must.

Is there in this a single tie,
A knot, a bond, a little lie
To bind, to fix,
Buttress the mix?

Is there a part that I can play?
Can I be certain from today?
Give me the chance –
My first romance.

banner-rose

 

A Cyclic Romance

cotswolds-feb2015-14

Long Newnton, nr.Tetbury, Gloucestershire, Southern Cotswolds ,UK  . . .  WHB.

A CYCLIC ROMANCE

Winter stays among the snowdrops,
Was it you I noticed there?
Passing by above the hedgetops
I stooped down and found your lair.

I must admit your season suits you
But your hideout hems you in.
After all, if I’m to woo you,
You vanquish first before I win.

I have no fear that we’re not fitted;
Winter melts at Spring’s advance.
We’ll be seasonally suited
To the sway of choosy chance.

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All Saints Churchyard, Crudwell, Gloucestershire, Southern Cotswolds, UK  . . .  WHB.

The verses above were composed by me a  long time ago – in the quixotic fervour of my youth. The photographs are my own, taken in the Cotswolds, UK, in more recent times