Before The Sun Sets

Pen & Wash Sketch – based on ‘Ancient Trees’ – to mark National Trust Week 1999 . . .  WHB

The crisp crunch of my footsteps as I crossed that frosty field
Confirmed to me the joy that winter brings;
The frail but wondrous sunlight burning through the morning mist
Affirmed a world of wonder in all things.

It brought to me a memory of those long days of my youth,
When all was young and all life was tomorrow,
When time and love and right and wrong were not things I considered,
Just the lasting joy which Nature can bestow.

Tomorrow was a world away from the life that I live now;
No anguish that my world might cease to be
Before I’d felt and savoured all that life can have to offer,
Before the sun sets on that ancient tree.

Despite my knowledge of the pain that’s in the world around me,
Bleak Nature seeks to calm its shifting shadows,
The seasons, sun, the starlight, still remain to bring us hope,
That vital spark from which renewed life flows.

Clytie


Pen & Ink Drawing of George \frederick Watts’ sculptured bust of CLYTIE  . . .  by W.H.B.

 In the verses below, I attempt to express Clytie’s plight when she finds her love for the Son God, Helios, rejected, and she is committed to watch his daily flight across the heavens in his winged chariot .  Eventually she is transformed into a sunflower or heliotrope , condemned for ever to follow the sun’s movements across the sky.

CLYTIE

As dusk takes over from the day
I stand on Helios’ shore and weep.

Light for my soul,
Lust for my life;
These no more can I strive to keep.

Yet there is hope because the night
Is followed by expectant day.
The sun will rise
With hope intact,
And I’ll revive my destined way.

The languid sun will lift at dawn
Over the shimmering tranquil sea.
It is my dreams,
My Holy Grail,
And promises new hopes to me.

The sun renews its daily task.
As Clytie, I still strive to meld
Lovers’ aubade,
Their serenade.
With this till dusk my life is held.

Time’s chariot, its path I trace;
Helios arcs across the sky.
Till evening ends
In blood red  gore,
And once again I die.

But then again the cycle breaks
When dawn extends to dusk its kiss.
It’s carmine clinch,
Crimson caress,
Herald again life’s feud with bliss.

Clytie is a figure from Ancient Greek mythology. She was a water nymph, daughter of Oceanus and Tethys in Greek mythology. Clytia loved Helios in vain.[ My Poem was Previously published – Sep., 2016 ]

Westwards

Stockholm Archipelago (4)

‘Baltic Sunset’ . . .  Photo – WHB – 2019   ©

 

WESTWARDS

As the sun sinks down
In the Western sky,
My mind rejoices
With the thought that I

One day might follow
Its receding track,
To find where it leads
With no turning back.

And where it ends I’d
Be content to rest,
build a new home there
In the far northwest.

The rest of the days
Still vouchsafed to me,
Content to reside
By that other sea,

But I know at heart
That it cannot be;
Our time has long passed,
We just are not free.

Those causes to stumble,
Our exchanges unfurled,
Tell us our new life lies
In a parallel world.

Bar-Rose

 

Winter Holds Court

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The River Thames at Chertsey, Surrey:  Photos – WHB   ©

 

Bare limbs against the furnace of the sky
The stillness of the river mirrors all
Winter holds court in autumn’s dying sigh
Bringing its own beauty to the ball

 

Scotland – 4 Lochs in the Southern Highlands

[ Photo Blog #51 ]

Mainland Scotland has 6,160 miles (9,910 km) of coastline.  Including the numerous islands, this increases to some 10,250 miles (16,500 km).  The west coast in particular is heavily indented, with long promontories separated by fjord-like sea lochs.  In addition to these, there are more than 30,000 freshwater lochs in Scotland.  I give below a selection containing a dozen of my photographs, taken in 2001, of just four of these inland lochs – Loch Earn, Loch Fyne, Loch Lawyers and Loch Voil – all in the southern reaches of the Western Highlands . . . 

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Loch Earn – from Achray House

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Sunrise on Lock Earn – 1

LochEarn3-Sunrise

Sunrise on Loch Earn -2

LochEarn4-Sunset

Sunrise on Loch Earn – 3

LochEarn5-Sunset

Sunset on Loch Earn

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Loch Fyne – towards Inverary

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Loch Fyne – 2

LochFynne2

Loch Fyne – 3

LochLawyers

Loch Lawyers

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Loch Voil 1

LochVoil03

Loch Voil – 2

LochVoil04

Loch Voil – 3

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Ogden Nash – The Sunset Years of Samuel Shy

 (Poem No.49 of my favourite short poems)

Jenny Kissed Me

The Sunset Years of Samuel Shy

Master I may be,
But not of my fate.
Now come the kisses, too many too late.
Tell me, O Parcae,
For fain would I know,
Where were these kisses three decades ago?
Girls there were plenty,
Mint julep girls, beer girls,
Gay younger married and headstrong career girls,
The girls of my friends
And the wives of my friends,
Some smugly settled and some at loose ends,
Sad girls, serene girls,
Girls breathless and turbulent,
Debs cosmopolitan, matrons suburbulent,
All of them amiable
All of them cordial,
Innocent rousers of instincts primordial,
But even though health and wealth
Hadn’t yet missed me,
None of them,
Not even Jenny, once kissed me.

These very same girls
Who with me have grown older
Now freely relax with a head on my shoulder,
And now come the kisses,
A flood in full spate,
The meaningless kisses, too many too late.
They kiss me hello,
Should I offer a light, there’s a kiss for reply.
They kiss me at weddings,
They kiss me at wakes,
The drop of a hat is less than it takes.
They kiss me at cocktails,
They kiss me at bridge,
It’s all automatic, like slapping a midge.
The sound of their kisses
Is loud in my ears
Like the locusts that swarm every seventeen years.

I’m arthritic, dyspeptic,
Potentially ulcery,
And weary of kisses by custom compulsory.
Should my dear ones commit me as senile demential,
It’s from kisses perfunctory, inconsequential.
Answer, O Parcae,
For fain would I know,
Where were these kisses three decades ago?

By Ogden Nash

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NOTES:

Frederic Ogden Nash (1902 – 1971) was an American poet well known for his light verse, of which he wrote over 500 pieces. With his unconventional rhyming schemes, he produced some of the best-known humorous verse. From time to time his poetry can be extremely moving and delicate with a beautiful turn of phrase – as in this particular poem where he writes of  “the meaningless kisses, too many, too late”.

 The Parcae: In ancient Roman religion and myth, these were the female personifications of destiny, often called the FATES in English.

‘Jenny kiss’d Me’  is a poem by the English essayist Leigh Hunt. It was first published in November 1838 by the Monthly Chronicle.   The poem was inspired by Jane Welsh, the wife of Thomas Carlyle. According to anthologist Martin Gardner, “Jenny kiss’d Me” was written during a flu epidemic, and refers to an unexpected visit by the recovered Hunt to the Carlyle household and being greeted by Jenny.

N.B.  I posted Leigh Hunt’s poem ‘Jenny Kissed me’  on  February 3rd, 2017.  Click this link to read it …  ‘Jenny Kissed Me’

 

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River Thames Sunsets

A selection of my photographs, taken on different occasions between 2004 and 2010, of sunsets – looking westwards from the south bank of the River Thames along the four mile stretch of the River in Surrey, England, between Chertsey and Walton-on-Thames . . .

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Thames2

Thames3

Thames4

Thames5

Thames6

Thames7

Thames8

 

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Nature’s Evensong

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©  Photograph … ‘Sunset’ – courtesy of Canadian artist, Alma Kerr

 

Sunset

and the soulful sound

of the sea

seduce my senses

in the calm

of this still summer’s eve

ripples roll gently towards me

from the red sun-kissed sea

silhouette sails

hug the horizon

purposeful gulls

tread the foreshore

forever watchful

while I

a silent spectator

scan the scene

evening’s tableau

serene

and yet wholly alive

entranced and awed

mesmerised

beyond beauty

by Nature’s evensong

its benediction

on a desperate world

wave-pattern

 

 

 

 

Sharing the Glow

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Sunset over Loch Earn, Scotland – Photograph  © . . .  WHB 

 

Sharing the Glow

 

I remember that evening –
The sun sinking low,
When you stood beside me
Sharing the glow.

We bathed in that splendour –
That golden sunset,
Drenched in that promise
I’ll never forget.

I held your hand tightly,
Placed a kiss on your lips
In youth, in the gloaming,
The lie was eclipsed.

For then we were young,
Life had not bitten hard.
Our futures seemed certain
But we let down our guard.

I left with a pledge,
But never returned;
Dissolved into dreams
Your derision I earned.

But now we are older,
Life has taken its toll.
Is it too much to ask,
Can I recapture your soul?

Now that same sun is sinking
Setting fire to the sea;
Can this Phoenix bring hope
To you and to me?

Let me hold your hand now,
Place a kiss on your lips,
For bliss in old age
Does all else eclipse.

 

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