A Limited Life

abandoned ancient antique architecture

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A Limited Life

Take my breath away
yet let me live
my blinded eyes
they still can see the sun
I walk but cannot move
for fear to fall
my stulted words
restricted to my pen

Now all my thoughts
are centred on myself
not touch nor closeness
are allowed

to stunt my waking dreams
and life depends
on instant ends
the future makes no sense
and time has ceased

For now has lost its meaning
in the drift in which I live
day melds into night
and then returns
but only to repeat
its torpid trend
refusing to rekindle
that fire which burns
within my ashes urn

 

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Birth Of A Poem

Herrick-1957

Pen & Wash  … WHB 2019

Birth Of A Poem

This poem
and its ill-connected words
do not
yet exist

These lines
part-formed and immature
struggle for release
from their birth pangs
strain to express themselves
in meaning
to say what they want to say

Seeking existence
from the seed of an idea
knowing what is needed
but fighting for form and feature
longing to tell its tale and sing
to live
to feel
to be vibrant
cool and yet tense

Always promising more than it can give
allowing its feelings to weep
its thoughts to shudder and provoke
to breathe a bitter breath
to both calm and to excite

Above all
striving to be worthy
in love with what it hears
bringing meaning to an idea
and from its birth
to bring into the world
an infant ode
wanting
hoping
demanding to grow into
a thing of understanding and beauty

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Awaiting My Muse

art abstract exhibition colours

Photo by Judy Kim on Pexels.com

Thoughts
Ideas
Flicker-flow my mind

Suggestions
Ideas
Broil
Half-baked
Within its febrile cauldron

Magnetic impulses
Stir the mix
Threatening to connect
But rarely touching

Intuition sparks
But does not flame
Promise flat-lined

So many false dawns
So few horizons reached
Dawn’s promise
Resolved in mediocrity

 

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Weaving Words

abstract blur book book pages

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Weaving Words

 

(The Poet’s Calling)

 

I wander my world 
weaving words into verse
plaiting my thoughts 
into silken skeins of sense
rendering images
from my mind’s eye
to this digital paper
perverse perception
lending life to poetry
lust to hope 
and love to mon amour
the written word. 

Only in time
with wish fulfilment
perchance my dreams
will meet my expectations 
and produce that meisterwerk
whose impetus
drives me on

 

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A Swarm of Bees Worth Hiving

I have a book, passed down to my wife from her father and his father before him, with the title of ‘ILLUSTRATED ANECDOTES and PITHY PIECES’.  It was published in 1874 and which, of course, contains just what the title describes – well, the Victorian idea of such things!

pithy-pieces

I am reproducing a scanned image of one of the entries which plays with words in rhyming couplets, as I often like to do in my own verses.  (Not sure about the attempt to rhyme ‘faith’ with ‘death’ though!). Amusing and educational aphorisms, life-enhancing even, and very PITHY !!!

aswarmofbees

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Snowdrops

snowdrops-jan2017

SNOWDROPS

The snowdrops are alive beside the dead,
In the midst of death they are in dazzling bloom,
Whilst he whose grave they now with grace adorn
Feeds on their sweetness from his long-time tomb.

They in their turn have derived life from him,
Their vibrance and their colour owe him much.
His bones, his ashes now repay their debt,
As death withdraws its unremitting touch.

And thus his ancient decomposed remains
Return to life as snowdrops in due time,
And seek to adorn my table once again,
As beauteous now as he was in his prime.

And when those snowdrops fade away and die
Their wholesome goodness will my soil replenish;
Then once again the cycle will repeat,

Nature affirming life will never perish.

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Both photographs taken in a Surrey churchyard . . . WHB – Jan.2017

A SIGN TOO FAR

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Street in a Surrey Town .  . .  Photo – WHB 2017

A SIGN TOO FAR

 I was walking down the road the other day
When they met me coming up the other way

I knew not what to do
Not an inkling, not a clue

Should I walk on and ignore them
Should I beg them and implore them

Not to shriek at me so loudly
Not to chastise me so soundly

Just to get out of my way
Let me get on with my day

I really do not wish to buy
I was only passing by

#     #     #

Nor do I feel the urge to hire
A sander or electric fire

Nor will I get an instant thrill
If I just hire a power drill

I surely do not need a sign
To advertise what still is mine

I’ve already got more than a few
So they will really have to do

Nor do I need to learn to drive
I’d rather walk and stay alive

I’ll not describe the fine details
But I don’t need polish for my nails

I reckon I’m a beauty too
Stick your cosmetics down the loo

My laundry is for private use
I don’t subject it to abuse

And as for washing all my smalls
I’d rather use Niagara Falls

My house is not for sale just yet
Say any more – I’ll get upset

And as for gas, my need’s not great
My house is all electric, mate

#     #     #

To be attacked by signs is bad
It leaves me feeling very sad
That my main street has reached the stage
When just to earn a living wage
These shops must now our street deface
By planting signs in every place
Leaving me so little space
I think I’m in an obstacle race

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SUICIDE ON A WHIM

river-liffey-incident1

‘River Liffey Incident . . . Pen & Wash . . . WHB – 1994

SUICIDE ON A WHIM

suicide on a whim
is not unheard of
but few such perpetrators
live to tell the tale

one such
rescued from his indecision
by the Gardai
lived through his trauma
sweet Liffey run softly
while I tell the story

distraught by his
gambling debts
and the drinking
his only way to a conclusion
seemed to him to be
voluntary
self-inflicted
euthanasia
yes
he thought
that he wanted to die
half-determined
part irresolute

in a single moment of wavering
he had jumped
just fell perhaps
but the fear
and the cold water
soon hit him
hit harder
than the twenty foot drop

an instinctive cry
escaped him
you could call it
a change of mind
his cry for help
was a second thought
an unintended consequence
of his half-hearted conviction

and now he was held
grasped in a rescue bid

but did he wish to be salvaged
to be pleaded with
would that bring him
the closure he craved
attention unwanted
but secured
attention secured
but unwanted

and still
he could not let go
the ladder
his passport to life
a life he did not desire
could he bear to go there
yet again
to continue
victim to more pain
to yet more anguish

but temporary chagrin
is no killer
his cri de coeur
answered
his indecision
thwarted

is it heads or tails
is it stay or go
is life’s hurt
greater than death’s pain
is future shame
worse than eternity’s
opprobrium

we will never know
the prognosis
I suspect
he is still amongst us
ever indecisive
a suitor for attention
defaulting on his debts
not stopping at three pints
one of life’s
irresolute chancers

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THE LESSONS OF HISTORY

holbein-mort1a

THE LESSONS OF HISTORY

The lessons of history are all around
Etched on death’s memorial
But who looks at memorials?

The war to end all wars ended
But the peace had not been won

Exchanging eyes
Has not proved a workable proposition
And yet the attempt goes on
And mankind is condemned to try again
To seek an end to conflict
By perpetuating conflict itself

Those lessons from the past
Unlearnt
At best misunderstood
Ignored
And so it continues
The errors of the past
Visited on countless future generations

Fear reigns
And stultifies hope
Because mankind remains
Because mankind will not change
Still comatose
Sleepwalking into conflict again
Again
And yet again

Original sin
Casts its sinister shadow
Over hope
And so
The cycle continues
War and peace
Unfeasible bedfellows
History hardly notices the difference

But we do
And suffer for it

holbein-mort2aThe two illustrations above were scanned from my copy of Holbein’s ‘Le Triomphe De La Mort’ published in 1780 … Etchings of Holbein’s originals by Chr.De Michel

LANGUOR

dursdalefarmsomerset3

Bruton, Somerset . . .  Pen & Wash – WHB – 2016

LANGUOR

Contentment suffuses the scene
And peace lies softly on the land
Life languishes in its grip
Labour held in thrall to lassitude
Neglectful now of endeavour.

In the calm
Of the midday sun
The farm sleeps on
Parading its contentment
Revealing its accord
With its heritage
By just being there
Seemingly throughout time
Amid the rolling fields
Savouring
The languor of a lazy day
The serenity
Of a sublime summer

The quiet joy of existence
Tells more of peace
Than a thousand pacts
Life lived
In alliance with nature
Endowing us with serenity.

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