PC or Not-PC?

PC4

bar-yellow

“To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.”

From Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ – Act III, Scene I..

bar-yellow

Thoughts on Seeing, Fleeing and Being Politically Correct

( Pace tua Wm. Shakespeare ) 

 

To see, or not to see: that is the question : Whether’ tis wiser to look it full in the face, or, to turn that blind eye, which is the kiss of ineptitude, and by ignoring, forget them.

To flee, or not to flee: that is the question : Whether’ tis safer to meet with danger face to face, or, to turn and run, and by escaping, live to flee another day.

PC or non-Pc: that is the question: Whether ’tis better in the end to put up with the hawks and sparrows of mind distortion, or to take umbrage against such hubble-bubble, and by exposing suspend them. 

bar-yellow

asterisk1a

  

 

 

A Dreamless Sleep

Tempest-Prospero1

Photograph … Double Rainbow Nr. Stonehenge, England – July 2009:  WHB   ©

A DREAMLESS SLEEP

Will death be as a dreamless sleep,
Or Prospero’s promised damage;
Will dreams fill up my remnant soul,
Digesting life’s excessive baggage?

 For my belief, held with a caution,
And ever fraught with doubt,
Is that there’ll be a price to pay,
And that my faults will find me out.

 Those indiscretions I have owned
Frailties, foibles, defects,
The fallout from my elapsed life
Could yet bewilder and perplex.

 So, as I travel on from here,
Will love still follow me
Into that unknown future sleep,

Where memory has no guarantee?

 Life’s fallout has to rest always
With those we count so dear;
I pray when Judgement Day arrives
My flaws with me will disappear.

 

Banner4b

Chocolate Words

chocolate words2

CHOCOLATE WORDS

I love words
in the way
I love chocolate.
Their lingering taste
Their whispering style
They way they trip off
Slip off
the tongue
Words to bear in mind
Leaving such pleasures behind

And always
That thrill
That musical trill
That sensuous sound
Discarding meaning
But leaving
feeling
The desire for more
Encore
The poet’s drug-store
Treasure Island

I’d like a word with you
A word in your ear
Shakespeare
So I’ll be wordy-wise too
Will
take  some words
and run with them

I heard a word
One day in May
I heard it say
Come here and play
So undeterred
A word occurred
Third word
The word purred
Absurd word
‘Twas mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird
Mimus polyglottos
glottal stop
or “glo’al stop”

You see where it can take me
Tangential thought
Verbiage onslaught
Overwrought
Logorrhoea
Here, here!

Words abound
Words of wisdom
Words of truth
Their singing sound
stirred, blurred, slurred,
So play on words
Herds of words
Let their joy sing
and let them bring
Creation’s wellspring
and thus … let the welkin ring

wordart4a

On Sleep

A brief meditation on Macbeth’s predicament, following a reading of a book review on ‘Why We Sleep’ by Matthew Walker (Pub. Allen Lane) – December 2017 …

‘Sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care, The death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath, Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course, Chief nourisher in life’s feast.’   Macbeth: Act 2, Scene 2, 

‘Methought I heard a voice cry “Sleep no more… Macbeth does murder sleep!  – – The innocent sleep.” ‘  Macbeth: Act 2, scene 2.

 

redline-thin

 ON  SLEEP

Sleep, being dead
What life is left to live
But one unfitted to the name
Rest denied is constant woe
No respite from dread
No safe house from fear
Unnourished now
What hope can ever be
Even contrition
Affording no escape
Confession no solace
Macbeth’s endowment
To the innocent
But afflicted soul

Banner3b

SCROOGE … A Meditation  

Scrooge-BahHumbug

‘Scrooge’ – WHB: Black ink, 2017

SCROOGE … A Meditation

 

What the dickens does it mean?
Well let me paint for you the scene;

For love came down at Christmas time
To this I pen a gentle rhyme.

I know that Scrooge was lean and mean,
Counted every single bean.

But visitations from the past
Meant that he would learn at last

That stinginess was no way cool,
No joy at all in being cruel.

Life is not there to be destroyed, 
It is given to be enjoyed.

At Christmas we should not be stressed,
But let us remember the dispossessed,

And hope for all, what Scrooge discovers,
To open our hearts to the pain of others.

 

scroll2

NOTE:   The expression “What the dickens?” does not have any connection with Charles Dickens.  It pre-dates him by at least two centuries and was in fact used by Shakespeare in his “Merry Wives of Windsor”, ( Act III, Scene II ) where ‘dickens’ is used as a euphemism for ‘the devil’ . . . “I cannot tell what the dickens his name is”. 
scroll2

From ‘The Tempest’

 (Poem No.43 of my favourite short poems)

the tempest

The master, the swabber, the boatswain, and I,

(  William Shakespeare:  From “The Tempest”)

The master, the swabber, the boatswain, and I,
The gunner, and his mate,
Loved Mall, Meg, and Marian, and Margery,
But none of us cared for Kate;

For she has a tongue with a tang,
Would cry to a sailor, Go hang!
She loved not the savour of tar nor of pitch;
Yet a tailor might scratch her where’er she did itch.
Then, to sea, boys, and let her go hang!

scroll2

W.H.Auden composed a wistful, haunting update of Shakespeare’s song which looks back with nostalgia but no regrets to an earlier life  . . . 

Song Of The Master And Boatswain

At Dirty Dick’s and Sloppy Joe’s
We drank our liquor straight,
Some went upstairs with Margery,
And some, alas, with Kate;
And two by two like cat and mouse
The homeless played at keeping house.

There Wealthy Meg, the Sailor’s Friend,
And Marion, cow-eyed,
Opened their arms to me but I
Refused to step inside;
I was not looking for a cage
In which to mope my old age.

The nightingales are sobbing in
The orchards of our mothers,
And hearts that we broke long ago
Have long been breaking others;
Tears are round, the sea is deep:
Roll them overboard and sleep.

 

By:  W H Auden

scroll2

 

 

For those who would like to listen to spoken versions of these two poems, YouTube links are given below . . .

The Tempest: “The Master, the Swabber, the Boatswain, and I”

Music composed by Donna Kendall Stearns (www.DonnaKendallStearns.com)
Sung by Ilan Caplan

scroll2

“Song of The Master and Boatswain” by W.H. Auden (read by Tom O’Bedlam) . . .

‘Song Of The Master And Boatswain’

scroll2

The River Thames Around Hampton Court

As well as the beauty of the riverside and its wildlife, there is much history to be discovered in walking the short space of just over a mile  from the west downstream along the tow-path on the south side of the River Thames towards King Henry VIII’s Palace of Hampton Court.  David Garrick (1717 – 1779) the famous English actor, playwright, theatre manager and producer, also a pupil and friend of Dr Samuel Johnson, built a mansion on the North bank of the Thames here.  Next to it, in 1756, he built a ‘Temple to honour William Shakespeare’.  Further along the river towards Hampton Court Palace are an ancient cricket ground and the famous Molesey Boat Club, who count the Olympic Gold medallist Searle brothers  among their many distinguished rowers.

Thames04

David Garrick’s ‘Temple to Shakespeare’

Thames06

Garrick’s Temple and his mansion

Thames07

Close-up view of the Temple from across the river

Thames08

Old Edwardian houseboat – once a floating restaurant

Thames09

‘Thyme By The River’ cafe

Thames10

Waterfront outside the Molesey Rowing Club

Thames11

East Molesey Cricket Ground

Thames12

Pleasure craft moored approaching Molesey Lock and Hampton Court Bridge 

Thames13

Hampton Court bridge from the West

Thames14-HamptnCrt

Front façade of Hampton Court Palace

Thames15-HamptnCrt

One of the smaller Golden Gates at the Palace

Thames16

Looking to the East from Hampton Court Bridge to the River entrance to the Palace

 

bar-curl1

‘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’.