Hope For Glory Yet

‘An English Dawn’ … WHB – Pen&Wash- 2013

Once upon a sublime time
when daylight lingered long into night’s advance
shadows crept from silent space
wrapping themselves around the foothills of my youth
their clutch clinging to my burgeoning hopes
with silky snake embrace
promising to smother all ills
to suck the poison from my advance
and still the waves that beat upon my summer shore

But now with time progressed and prospects passed
with what avails me slipped away
that promised land
the unproven myth
shown for what it is
have I learnt nothing from my dreams
has expectation become ash
youth’s promise proven pallid
yet stubbornly remaining
to bolster what is left to me of life
and give me strength to persist
and hope for glory yet

Lockdown 3: Day 51

‘Despair’ (after Michelangelo) … WHB Pencil 1958

After the drab-dull morning
The close shift-shadow
Hovered over the remaining day
And grey-clung cloud
Described yet one more of
So many days
Of such undistinguished gloom
So few delights to hollow out this tomb
For when the darkness comes
And with it fading hope
Then amidst the shadows
I calcify and mope
Regrets are worth forgetting
The future lost
Loses meaning
In the tangle of forgotten days
Each succeeded by yet another
Missed opportunity
One more goal-less draw
Reducing the life still left to me

AS SHADOWS COME AND GO

as more mute shadows come and go
so
my life does ebb and flow
clinging
disturbingly
with my every motion
not prepared to let me go
until at some time
not yet determined
in the day’s misty murkiness
I will merge with the darkness
along with life’s shrouded meaning
to await that time
which surely will arrive
for the putting out of the light
and the beginning
of death’s adventure

Nature’s Cavalcade

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Samuel Palmer -The valley Thick With Corn

Nature’s  Cavalcade

When Hopkins gloried in dappled things
He must have thought of angels’ wings
Of gossamer and cuckoo spit
Of candles flicker-lit

As Palmer did
In silent chapels
In Kentish fields

 

Of darkening woods
where sunlight hides
In sheepland pastures
On downy hills
In buttercup meadows
Where linnet trills
The silent raptures
Of sunset light
On autumn trees
Where swoops the kite
And evening captures
The thickening shadows
The cooling breeze
Midst fields of golden rippling corn
That now adorn the rustic scene
Such glory in apple blossom seen
As they, with Blake,
Held in their hand
Those grains of sand
To wonder more
How Nature’s glory
Explains itself
In storm
And stillness
In calm and frenzy
Light and shade
In setting sun
And mounting moon
The evening’s glaze
In bounteous harvest
Nature’s cavalcade
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Reverie#8: A Song Before Leaving

close up of tree against sky

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Oh my love
paint me into the shadows of your dreams
I want to be there among the drifting moonbeams of your waning passion
and as their dim light fades in the morning dew
to watch as our hopes sink slowly
through pools of deepest blue.

Let their adagio
their mellow harmonies
accompany the murmurings of my fading breath
and as its remnants settle on the bed of those fathomless depths
let them guide my blissful path to Heaven

 

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The Curious Case of the Cubist Clown

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Photo: WHB – 2019

An unknown nocturne plays
without provenance 
Realised in a Narnian dream
to be read by hearsay
its undisclosed lineage
a mystery

White-garbed musician
guitar akimbo
Draped
casually at ease
on a cubist chair.

In melancholy mood
his arpeggioed chords
gently weeping
to me
the silent onlooker
the uninformed audience
for his deft and fretful
Brazilian saudade

Braque-ish cubes
predominate
Harlequin or Clown
checkered grand master
or imminent coulrophobia

And why white
Why the mask noir
the dense
Intense context
Where only silent space
listens
his rasguedo sonorous
in turn
soothing and somnolent
then
fraught with flamenco tension
or on fire with gypsy fervour

And the shadow figure
skulking
hurrying into the background
A sinister threat
escaping from
a mission accomplished 
or fleeing
bearing yet more grief
to some renegade de-briefing

The message missed
Significance lost
Theories advanced
Debated
Discarded

The clues must be there
too dense to unravel
I need a history

I think too
I see hidden faces
The game players’ cabal
linked by name
or by my imagination

In my desire to crack the code 
I stumble and abort my search
Defeated for now
But not for ever

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I would be delighted if any viewer of the above picture could provide clues to the artist and or to his/her subject.  I have had no direct access to the original painting (print?) but an intriguing story was woven around both the painting’s subject and its acquisition by the friend who allowed  me to photograph the above which is merely a copy of the original. 

 

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The SIREN

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An Anderson Shelter from WW2 – c. 1940.

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Click on the link below to hear the siren sound of an ‘Air Raid Warning’, followed by the ‘All Clear’, accompanied by a video with some memories of the 1940s in the U.K.  . . .

Siren Sound

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The SIREN

The Air Raid Warden came to say:
‘It’s best to be prepared;
A little forethought and hard work –
Don’t want to make the young ‘un scared.’

Dad dug a cave deep in the garden,
Covered it with earth.
Our escape in time of stress,
Yes, this is what our lives were worth.

Then in the night the wailing came,
Woke me from my dreams.
Homes haunted by this dreaded sound
Soon learnt to know just what it means.

Escape to shelter in the dark,
All lighting was forbidden.
To hide in dark and musty gloom,
From bombs and fear hopefully hidden.

That siren sound has haunted me,
Its memory’s with me still.
The fear and dread, diminished now,
But yet it brings to me a chill.

All this, for me, was what war meant –
‘Twas hiding in the shadows,
While sounds around brought fear and doubt,
And longed for hopes of new tomorrows.

 

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AN AFTERLIFE

Yin&Yang

The Yin and the Yang …in Eastern thought, the two complementary forces that make up all aspects and phenomena of life.

AN AFTERLIFE

Allow me to be morbid
To think of death
The afterlife
My next life

When life is now so full
It is not seemly
And not to be countenanced
To tempt fate
With supposition
Of a dubious kind

And yet I do
I do because I am
And the I that I am
Needs to contemplate
Beyond the now
Into the shadows of the future
The mysteries
Of my dust
My ashes

Not reincarnation
Because there will be
No me to be reborn
Merely a redistribution of
My dust and an accompanying
Acquisition of a sensate soul
To replicate a birth
An existence
And an organic life
In Nature’s cyclic motion

No out-of-body experience
Has persuaded me of this
No religious faith has
Swayed my thought

On the borderlands of life
I pause to contemplate
My future
Beyond the Pale
In That No-Man’s-Land of the imagination
That Heaven or that Hell awaiting

My next existence
The I who will not be me
Frightens me
The diversity of possibilities
For my re-formed dust to inhabit
Allow me no certainty
For there can be
No sense of continuity
Only, as now,
An unawareness
A not-knowing
 Of what has gone before
And of what will succeed me
The me that is not me
New flesh, new history
New mind, new destiny
But without
Any sense of newness
No connection to the past
The same not-knowing
About the future

I could be so much worse off
And yet I know
it will not be me
Not someone who remembers
The pleasures which have pleasured me
The joys which have made me joyous
Or the loves which enchanted me
For I will be he
Or she
Or it
Just someone who exists
Painfully sentient
Plausibly penitent
Regretting
Perhaps rejoicing
In a life
As I do now
In that life
I am afraid to leave

 

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‘Nature’s Query’ … Photograph – WHB  2016 ©