'Unpolished Moonstone Gems'
To aim for a far distant star,
And have to crash-land on the Moon
Is no bad thing.
Many only ever get to orbit this planet;
And most never leave the Earth.
These are some examples from the various collections of my Poetry.
'Scrambled, Not Fried'
The Man in the Mask
She a bag ladee
Workin' all day
In de Laundromat
She wishes she is thin
But she's fat
Wid dat pink pinny
Dat cover 'er twat!
Why me say dat?
She me muddah!
Rough on the Rails
Roller coaster riding.
On rails of rust.
Participants on this journey
Must be made of firmer stuff.
The downs, then the ups.
Followed closely by feelings sinking
Climbing out with strange thinking.
Dream into nightmare,
Terror into pleasure.
' If a person does not seem to keep pace with others,
maybe it's because they hear a different drummer '
Who can see sense
In the mind of a madman?
He looks out through eyes
That some think are empty.
He hears words that others don't speak.
He smells the fragrances of nature,
The sun, the sea, the air, the grass and the flowers
That the others just let pass by.
He tastes the bitter dregs of envy amongst enemies
And the sweet nectar of respect amongst friends.
He feels the coldness of your anger,
Or the reassuring warmth of your love.
A seeming sixth sense, warns him of the danger,
His sensorium gives to others, for being tuned to hear music;
Made on instruments of a very different kind.
Has no sense.?
Standing at the Cenotaph
(For my Mother)
November the eleventh.
Six years to the day
That you went far away.
You remain here in my heart.
At this time the ground
Stands cold and bare.
There are no poppies gathered there.
At other times this place
Reflects the golden sun.
Acting as a tribute.
All is quiet as I stand here
Two minutes of silence
Is short measure
For the length of a lifetime.
As Time travels slowly on,
The pain of your passing,
Eases but slightly.
And remains forever.
Spent most of the day
He's our fine fir.
Resplendent in silver and gold.
Decked out in red and green
He's the finest Christmas tree
That you have ever seen.
With his twinkly lights
And his silly songs
That just seem to go on and on.
Carols too, are sung by the dozen
About the time when the land is frozen.
And people full of food
Are by roaring fires dozing.
They are not always
That I feel
On the down days
I try very hard to tell you
Just how it is
I spend my day.
But you always go and shoot me
Down in burning flames
By constantly putting your mouth
Before you start engaging
Too late in life
I began listening
To the blind man
Singing songs to the sea and trees.
Started to watch
The eagle fly high
In an ever emptying sky
Filling with darkening clouds.
I didn't stop to think
I just bought you chocolates
Did I stop to think but once,
How fat they might make you?
The thought never entered my head.
I just anticipated the pleasure
That they would give you instead.
It's a grey day
And the sun ain't shinin'
It's a grey day
And the sun isn't shining on me.
It's a grey day
And the sun isn't shining for sure.
Just feel like crying
Feel like I am dying
Certainly won't be
Just gonna sit here.
It's a grey day
Turning black by the minute
And there's no turning back.
Why don't you weep?
When I hurt you.
Why don't you cry?
When I cut you,
With my hard words.
You don't weep.
And I can see
That the anger that you feel,
Only builds up inside.
In the corner of
a white room with
stands the stranger
speaking in syllables
I could not pronounce.
'Twas the fly on the wall
missed by us all
coming in the moonlight
and leaving on the mists
of the daybreak of dawn.
Loads of logwood lumber
where whittled into spittlesticks
and burnt on the bonfire
of our profanities
What a wanker!
I remember a time in my secondary
school days, if that is the proper
grammar, for the establishment
that I attended all those years ago.
silly action, keeping a daily
diary, say it, I couldn't even
spell it, let alone do what
your right hand's for
being ambidextrous was
a problem though nowadays
you can come anywhere
you don't even have to be
very tall no top shelves
for today's youth
they have the internet
television cinema etc
to keep a tight grip on things
having wet dreams over
the convent girls were they
really getting nun of the
practical lessons in love
like copping a handful
of tit or the smell of fishy
fingers from the more
free spirited amongst
the likes of the secondary
modern scrubbers high
on the surrounding hills.
Public concern about
People's complaints over the
Political correctness of a
Previous convictions in
Public court by
Pressing charges made by
Presenting claims that
Private cars were
Parked carelessly turning them into
Petty criminals being stored on
Girl's Night Out
Will it be a date
Or a night to forget?
Alcohol can make
all the difference.
So they found
That Friday night.
to a fun night out.
With ex-mates from work.
Been a long time
since they'd last done this.
Clubbing and pubbing
don't easily fit
into a mother's days.
The time is usually taken up
in more humdrum ways.
What can I tell you
In your grief
That you don't already know?
How can I tell you
That it will be alright
When you know it isn't so?
The pale rider sits side-saddle,
as the raven soars high overhead.
And only the dwellers of the crumbled ruins
Know the true pain of poverty.
While the ghosts of many bygones past,
Are still dancing in the moonlight.
The dead sit feasting at the table of iniquity
Love you bear me, I beg you,
Send a message for me.
A raven if you can.
A rider if not.
You must build a castle
Out of wooden blocks once.
There beside the door
You will never know
How sick it looked,
As Lady Genna drew him
From the solar.
No white flag
I never said,
I'd show no quarter.
I just took no prisoners;
But I never planned that I would.
Most, just upped,
And walked away.
Prepared to do battle another day.
Some, fought me.
Where they stood.
The pace is slow, in Akenfield.
The stream does flow, in Akenfield.
And sunsets glow, in Akenfield.
The air is clean, in Akenfield.
And I am told, although frosts there are very cold,
Butterflies are to be seen, in Akenfield.
I don't know the meanings,
I just feel the feelings;
And I love you.
Everybody needs somebody.
Someone to love.
For if they have no-one,
Then they have nothing.
And all life would be,
Just a total waste of time.
Three Long Hours
Three long hours,
Before I see you again.
Three long hours,
I need your arms around me,
I need your loving touch.
For it's when I'm down, like this;
That I need you most, so much.
The Traveller's Request
(In the manner of Robert Frost)
Just another stop,
On a long and winding road.
I have been on tramp,
For many a wearisome mile;
But I have still far to travel.
My boots are dusty and hobnailed,
My gait is ragged;
My clothes are torn.
Testaments to the thickets,
I have passed on the way.
Suffer me not,
To enter your house;
For my manners may offend you.
Merely offer me a penny,
That ere night falls;
Some charitable almshouse,
May provide some small comfort.
For my tired body.
In the dark.
The room illuminated
By a single flame.
From the gas fire.
Your arms forming,
A secure yoke.
And a pillow,
For my head.
The sound of a casual car,
Taped music vibrates up,
Through the floor.
We are alone.
We are one.
Dylan came to see me
Dylan came to see me last night,
Said he was here for a concert;
Thought he'd just drop by, to see how I was doing.
I said I was doing fine, so is he;
But ain't he always?
So we rapped a few lies,
Him telling 'em, me listenin'
We went on thru the early hours;
Then I woke up!
Youth has always
Had all the cards
In the pack.
Only with Age,
can one learn
To deal them.
people need not fear,
Those of us who sit here.
For we have only come,
To watch as they do.
Not for always,
Will the time be right;
Only on this, a special night.
Then your young men
Shall see visions;
Your young women
Will dream vivid dreams.
The fires will burn brightly,
In the neon sky.
And peace will come to all.
Then Xandrata will rule,
In all his glory.
The necrophilliac hordes,
Will reign supreme.
Eyeballs aching in their orbs,
heads will be full of hazes;
Born of tempestuous beginnings,
The age of reasoning will have waned.
The age of knowing will have arrived.
The goal of all our aims;
That we for long have striven
Will be achieved.
With God on Our Side
With God on our side, who need we fear?
Are they tensions that we feel ?
Are they strains, are they human aches?
Or merely mortal pains?
But we have God on our side, don't we?
Or is that only what they would have you think/
I believe that only some other deity,
To these depths would sink.
I will make it.
I may not.
I do not want
At my passing.
will not miss me
We were not together in life.
Death should make no difference.
Pissed-off PC blues
They tell me it's techno-crap
Be it personal computer
Or political correctness.
Band Practise - it isn't!
" This is not a rehearsal, forget the notes, play the music "
All are carrying secrets, they dare not share.
All have our personal crosses, that we have to bear.
We are all prisoners of the past.
And our parole is in the present.
We all live our own lives.
Some are satisfied,
To be mere nine to five.
Others march to the beat
Of a different drummer.
You must measure your life
In your own peculiar meter.
To stand on the side
Will only cause you to teeter
'The Birth of a Writer'
The first in maybe a series of essays.
*Singing Songs set in a Single Solitary Voice*
It’s day seven of this year’s NoNoWriMo, I feel like I am repeating myself. I had much the same sort of situation back in 2013. I had spent the first week writing what was going to be a biographic autobiography. I attempted to start writing it the year previous. That had been my first entry into the realms of attempting to write a novel.
I have spent the better part of the last close on fifty years writing poetry. I am proud of the fact that I am a Poet. In this day and age where most people are trying to write novels, it’s good to be able to say that you specialise. In fact the very essence of NaNo is to encourage people to write a novel/story in 30 days. I was discussing this back in 2013 with my muse, Martha. As she told me then that word counts were not my game, I have spent many years honing my craft , in order to be able to tell a story that a prose writer would take probably ten thousand or more words to tell, I attempt (and most times get away with!) telling in fifty lines maximum.
So the ethos of writing fifty thousand words is alien to me. This is why until now those story ideas for novels have not been developed to any serious degree previously.
It is now my intention to rectify this matter over the probable next few years, as it’ll probably take me that long to do the actually typing involved in the production of said novels.
I tell all and sundry, (and anyone else who will care to listen!) that I am a one-fingered typist. I have and most still do, write my stuff down in notebooks, or any scrap of paper that is handy at the time of the conception of an idea. I have had long discussions now with one of my colleagues from the Stevenage Writers Group with which I am involved about writing practise. He posed the question as told the frequency and style in which people wrote. He was genuinely shocked would not be too strong a word to discover that myself and several others saying that we wrote whenever the muse showed any interest, and made copious notes of any gems or sparks of inspiration came into our heads.
His approach was that writing should be a planned and polished piece of writing in all cases. Complete with self –editing and review of sentences at every point. When several of us commented on the value of spontaneous creativity. Like getting down as many words onto the actual page in one session, and reviewing and editing at a later date. His flabber was as they say, gasted.
And I have to admit to being guilty of the offences mentioned by myself here. This is a new concept for me, sitting here, just writing whatever is coming into my head. As I said, I am a one-fingered typist, and thereby I have to spell or space out every single word that I write.
Hence now attempting to try and ignore the want to spell every word correctly, and rectify any spelling mistake when I make one (I have only put one L in that last spelling) and watching how the page is becoming literally littered with the red and green colourings to tell me that I have misspelt or used the wrong grammar is a new experience in my writing.
But I now know that needs must, in order to complete the physical task of completing fifty thousand words to be written.
I have as I say been struggling, like many of my fellow writers, in trying to ‘think on my feet’ as it were, whilst writing the story. But I have come to appreciate that with two plays, a blog site to feed, several articles, possibly some pep talks, posts on the various threads on the regional page. Coupled with the fact that I am a self-confessed NaNo Rebel, I really don’t know now what I was worrying about in my attempt to complete fifty thousand words in the time allotted, i.e. the next thirty four days, including today. I look at the clock on my laptop and see that it is 17.25 pm and that I have now been writing for the last twenty or so minutes. I then look at the word count for this particular piece of writing and note that I have completed some seven hundred and seventy words at this point. In fact make that closer to ninety.
Then I shall follow the classic line of tell rather than show and inform you all that I intend to make a cup of coffee at this point of the proceedings. See you in a short. Coupled with the fact that I now need to save this section before my mouse goes into sleep mode, and on moving it, losing all this precious copy.
Having just said that, I note that my faithful hound and companion on many of my adventures, plus the source of much of my inspiration, is lying asleep over my feet. So in order not disturb him at this point, I shall carry on writing. Because when I do now eventually stop it will necessitate me taking him for his evening walk, and actually as this point in time it is both raining with a fine mist, and it being the Saturday after the fifth, people are having firework parties in the distance.
I am indeed fortunate in that respect that in him being a pedigree Labrador, the noise doesn’t seem to worry him too much. The actual lights of the sky-bound fireworks are of course a different matter entirely. And as I am also ‘babysitting ‘ my son’s whippet/collie crossbred, Buster, whilst his family and my wife attend the owners end of season party in Jaywick , I could be in for a bumpy night as he dislikes fireworks vehemently in any form, both for their noise and light disturbances to his ordered life.
Having now finding myself in considerable discomfort at needing the toilet facilities, coupled with increasing thirst and the need to quell such. I shall have to stop writing at this point, so I shall return when I have in fact taken both dogs for their evening walk. Looking at the word count I see I am fast approaching eleven hundred and that the fact that the current time is 17.56pm.
“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans” – John Winston Lennon
Back in two thousand and twelve, when I first attempted NaNoWriMo, I was what am now referred to as Planner. I’d had some previous thoughts about the direction I wanted to take my story in; and I had planned to wait until the first of November till I wrote an actual word. In the early part of October that year a close family friend and neighbour of some thirty odd year’s acquaintance; had a slight pain in her groin. She made an appointment to see a doctor at our local surgery. Or should I say, she attempted to make an appointment. Such was the situation then, and it has in fact worsened over the last couple of years, that the earliest date she could be offered there was some two weeks later. Hence she accepted an appointment at the sister practise to ours. Some three miles away in a very rural location with poor local transport services on which see was dependent ; as she did not herself drive. When she finally arrived at that surgery, the usual doctor had gone sick and patients were being seen by a locum. It might also be somewhat important to add at this point; that my neighbour was a very shy and private woman; and had for many years now only been seen by a female doctor on the rare occasions that she could be coaxed into even making an appointment.
She thereby found it distressing to find that the locum was male, and the pain being high in her groin area had required an intimate examination that she at that time found to be a stressful experience in itself. To find that the locum was referring her to the local hospital with immediate effect really only served to heighten her distress. The news that she was indeed suffering from inoperable terminal cancer and had three months at best left to live absolutely devastated her.
As I have said, this was in mid-October and she had celebrated her fifty-ninth birthday in early/mid September. Just several days before her first (and very likely to be her only grandson had been born). She had two sons; one being gay and thereby not the greatest of chance of offspring. The other being the father of her grandson. Sadly his conception had been an accident, in that it only goes to prove the old adage about other medications affecting the safety and effectiveness of oral contraception tablets. His wife, whose religious beliefs prevented her from even considering a termination, did not carry the child well during her pregnancy; suffering firstly prolonged and severe morning sickness, followed by anaemia and eventually septicaemia after the actual birth. Hence as I have intimated this was probably destined to be her only grandchild. Hence she was planning her future to absolutely ‘spoil him rotten’ in her own words when she got the news concerning her cancer.
As I intimated earlier; we had been friends and near neighbours for many years, even after her husband, her childhood sweetheart, left her for a much younger ‘new’ model shortly before Christmas, nineteen ninety nine. The usual festive celebrations at that time were shattered and the arrival of the new millennium a week later didn’t exactly fill her with happiness and hope for the future that prevailed in people’s general demeanour at the time.
Hence for the close on thirteen years that had passed since that sad time, we had been the saving grace on many occasions. Thereby it was automatically taken for granted on my part that a hospital appointment, tests, scans, examinations, and diagnoses’ would of course be accompanied by me, in a supportive role.
Those appointments took up much of the October/November period that year; so my entry into the two thousand and twelve Nano went by the book.
Last year, two thousand and thirteen, I had planned to resurrect my original manuscript and dedicate it in her memory. I have said elsewhere that my own forte is as a Poet rather than an actual Novelist, I even wrote a poem commemorating the sad affair of the year previous; and was going to use it in the front piece, but then again as Lennon said, ‘Life’ is what happens ... and along came the St.Jude’s storm last November and friends were badly damaged generally throughout their farm. The stable’s roof was a serious casualty of the action and powerful forces of Mother Gaia; thereby they needed ‘all hands to the pumps’ literally. Then I was heavily involved with some serious fund-raising activities for the Children in Need appeal last year that again ate into my time available for writing; so I only eventually ended up with a word count in excess of thirty-five thousand words (which I did not validate!)
That brings us to this year’s shenanigans, now again I had a vague idea about what the subject for this year’s project might be. Then on the twenty-seventh of last month, October, a friend of forty-five years standing finally died. I have actually used my ability as a poet to write a couple of poems about him; that I have incorporated into my writing efforts. The problem will be that he no longer has many other living friends and someone will need to make and carry out the funeral arrangements. He was a very successful DJ in his long career; ending up doing two shows a week on the Internet radio station RGW. His failing health had prevented him from actually performing ‘live’ as it were for the last couple of months but he religiously made up recorded shows each week that could be broadcasted on air.
Whilst I am on the subject, Dave turned sixty-two in mid-September, like many of us of that age era, I myself am a couple of years older than him, ‘back in the day’ we took what work we could. And back then society thought nothing of asbestos. I remember that Dave spent a long time labouring for a firm that was contracted to demolish and site clear the old Prefabs that were put up after the Second World War because of the then housing shortage caused by the bombings over the South East of England and London. Only in later years have we discovered the dangers of that material. Dave sadly suffered from serious lung damage from the effects of it. Coupled with the other then popular habit of smoking. Dave smoked Marlborough, ‘the mark of a man’ cigarettes for many years in vast quantities, more often than not maybe a hundred or more a day. And of course his other vice was the hard drinking of copious volumes of scotch. These habits and medical condition all served to create the fact that for many of his last years on this mortal coil, one of his lungs had a maximum capacity for oxygen of only eight per cent; hence his other less-damaged lung basically had to work overtime to compensate. This finally gave up the ghost the other week. And as I have said; It now really behoves to me to organise the arrangements for his funeral. I already know that it will be a turn-out the likes of his now home town have not experienced probably in a long time, if ever. Such is or should I now say was his popularity.
It’s early December,
The days are getting so damn dark.
But the nights are worse though,
It’s eight years to the day.
Since that stupid accident
Ended my career as a mailman.
Put me on crutches
For more than a month.
Halfway thru that time,
We heard the news that my father was dying;
And wasn’t being expected,
To make the night out.
But such was his love for life,
He lasted a full further week.
We got the grandkids,
Staying for the weekend.
Word is their ma has upped and left.
Really not lookin’ forward
To bein’ the one breakin’ that news.
Reminds me of the time,
Way back now;
When the same thing happened,
To my young ‘uns.
But then they were so much younger.
Barely babes in arms.
So they didn’t feel the pain,
That’s gonna be the lot
Of these here other twos.
So is it any wonder
That I’ve decided to call
This here poem.....
‘Talking Blues’? ...
I have a secret.
I am the last of my race.
We existed in peace and harmony for many eons of millennia
Even before the first formation of the Order of Jedi Knights
Then the Emperor ordered the testing of the Death Star.
The rest is history......
"This is one in a series of Radio Plays I am attempting to write under the group title of 'Play for Today'
(A Play for Radio)
Ser (e) n ‘dpiti
The Cambridge Dictionary defines serendipity as ‘the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.’
*The fact of finding interesting or valuable things by chance * (Noun)
*Reading should be an adventure, a personal experience full of serendipitous surprises *. (Adjective)
Androgynous remarks: “One of us, sweetie, is an angel ...”
An Introduction by the Author
“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” – Hebrews ch.13. v.2
Very little is known with reference to angels. Many humans know of them: but very few know about them. Their lifestyle is probably very similar in a way to that of a writer. Long periods of study of their material as it were. Working for the most part on ‘projects’ in isolation. ‘Secretive’ about the results of their labours. Each carrying on dutifully doing the task allocated to them by Divine decree without recourse to any other.
Therefore I would like you to consider the situation that could possibly arise if two such beings should meet at a point in time, both being totally unaware of each other’s true vocation or existence.
And thereby hangs a tale .......
Act One - PROLOGUE
A hallway echoes with the sound of a telephone ringing. The sounds of hastily running footsteps, hard breathing: a bunch of keys being rattled and fumbled with, seemingly being searched for the correct one to open the oaken entrance door leading from the outside driveway. Then the metallic sound of a key being entered into lock barrel, turned, and the opening of the door, more quickened footsteps and the telephone receiver being hastily snatched up.
“Colisland 59,” said a man’s voice, breathless.
“Is that The Manse, Newmills?” spoke a voice from the ear-piece.
“Yes, this is The Manse, who is that?”
“This is Clutterby’s, the book shop, North Walsingham; the book that you requested us to order has arrived, and is ready for your collection.”
“Oh, thank you. Please excuse my tardiness in answering, I was in the Garden. I’ll come and collect it later today, if that is suitable.”
“That will be fine, look forward to seeing you then. Good day.”
Random Ramblings & Reflections on the Events of Westminster on Wednesday
On a day when we should have been discussing dialogue,
In the Dun Cow in the evening.
I found the makings of a monologue.
I heard Richard wants us to have a 'jolly' in June
To the British Library.
In order to maybe find some 'inspiration' for our writing.
But what 'writer' needs it,
When real life is happening all the time around us?
Maybe that is why the 'College Green Spy' and I
Will never probably really see eye to eye.
Some details of the facts that have come out of yesterday's events
Prove sufficient subject material for reflection
And maybe further expansion.
It was announced yesterday by Easy Jet that from now on,
All laptops, tablets & electronic devices are to be stored in the hold;
Rather than in hand luggage for security reasons,
On flights from certain Middle Eastern countries.
Are they really sure that is a good idea?
It has come to light that three of the pedestrians who got injured,
Were policemen returning from a ceremony at New Scotland Yard;
Across the way to Westminster Palace.
Where they had just received commendations for bravery.
Another point to ponder upon is the fact that when the policeman who died
Left for work in the morning, he was was fully expecting to return home
To his family at the end of his shift.
I also see that President Trump in the infinite wisdom
Of his daily tweet to the World promises
That there will be 'Revenge' for the outrage.
And as I heard someone else comment;
Whether the atrocity was was the action of one man working alone,
Or if it was part of an organised action by a terrorist group.
It didn't matter to the victims, the results were just the same.
In a statement today,
The PM, Theresa May.
Said the perpetrator was well known
To our national security organisations
As an extremist, with radical views.
But that it was considered historic.
And he was no longer currently under observation
Act Two - August 2020
“There’s a fair few here today, to be sure”
“You can say that again,”
“I said, there’s a fair few here today, to be sure.”
“You ‘aving a larf?”
“I said, are you trying to taking the mick, with that repeating what you said?”
“Not at all! But being soft spoken and having a strong accent, many people don’t always understand what I say first time, so I’m used to having to repeat myself! I apologise. In the small village where I come from in County Sligo, we all talk this way. With the accent I mean.”
“So you’re Irish, then?”
“Can you no tell?”
“Well, to be honest, I’m really not sure about anything about you. Not to be rude, but are you really a girl, or are you a bloke or what?”
“That truly is being a bit of a personal question to by asking someone you have hardly met, let alone know, to be sure. Don’t you be thinking?”
“Well, wot wiv yer ‘andbag thing, the make-up, and the way you are dressed, you do look like a girl or young woman, should I say. But some of your mannerisms and the gravity of your voice, wiv an accent or not, I’d say you was one of those cross-dressers or wot do they call ‘em? ...Tranny’s?”
“To be fair, sir, you are very astute. I am awaiting my gender-changing operation, which will hopefully happen in the next couple of months. I’ve been having hormonal treatment for awhile now. Some people really are just born in the wrong bodies.”
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a problem to me, I really do believe that people can be how they like. I have probably embarrassed you now, and for that I am very sorry.”
“No offence taken, I’m used to people giving me strange looks or making remarks, it comes with the territory or so they say.”
“So what is your name, if you don’t mind me asking such a personal question? But I believe that’s how strangers end up becoming friends, don’t you? My name is Peter, but my friends call me Andy.”
“My birth name was Diego Neria Lejarraga, but I now like to be known now as Primrose, thank you.”
“Primrose. That’s a really nice name. I knew a girl called Primrose once in my youth. She was a strange girl too! Not that I’m at all inferring that YOU are in any way strange, you understand?”
“You seem to be digging a very deep hole for yourself.”
“Yeah, I do, don’t I? I’m sorry for going on like that again.”
“It really is fine, don’t you be going worrying yourself about it. Cephas or Kepha, eh?”
“Very few know that! There really is more to you than meets the eye, isn’t there? So where do you know those derivatives of the name from?”
“I read a lot. ‘Peter’, Latin – Petrus, Greek –Petros, Syriac or Aramaic – Kepa ‘rock’, Hebrew - Kepha (Apostle, preacher and martyr) Born Shimon or Simeon, (English – Simon), date unknown, in Bethsaida, Gaulani tis, (Galilee) Syria, Roman Empire. Brother Andrew, (also an apostle).Accredited Founder of the Early Christian Church. Accredited founder of the Church in Antioch and in Rome. The first Pope, ordained by Jesus as ‘Rock of my Church’ in his speech - Matthew ch.16 -18. His original occupation was as a fisherman. This is why the early church probably met under the auspices ‘the sign of the fish’. His papacy was from 30AD until 64 or 67AD when he was crucified on the orders of Nero Augustus Caesar. He was reported to have been crucified head downwards by choice ‘as he felt that he was not worthy to suffer in the same way as his Lord’. His saint’s day is celebrated the same day as St.Paul - June 29th.” The gospel of Mark is generally thought to show the influence of Peter’s preaching and eye witness memories. The English / German –Peter, French-Pierre, Italian-Pietro, Spanish/Portuguese-Pedro, Polish-Piotr, Russian-Pytor, Malayalam-Patros, Greek-Cephas, and Hebrew- Kepha are all derivatives of the name. He is depicted by most artists, Rubens, Caravaggio, Murillo, El Greco, to name but a few, as having a white beard and hair, such as yourself, and wearing the pallium.”
“Derived from the Roman pallium or palla, a woollen cloak, is an ecclesiastical vestment of the Catholic Church. It was originally peculiar to the pope, but for many centuries bestowed by him on metropolitans, and primates as a symbol of the jurisdiction delegated to them by the Holy See. It is a white woollen band placed around the shoulders and neck with a short tappet hanging from the front and back. It symbolises the bond between an archbishop and his Pope. The wearing of the pallium dates back to the fourth century, predating the miter and the crosier as Episcopal symbols. Back in two thousand and fifteen, Pope Francis decided that the archbishops would no longer receive their pallium at a formal ceremony in Rome on the feast of St.Peter and St.Paul, but should be vested in their own archdiocese. I myself met Pope Francis at the Vatican in two thousand and fifteen after having written him a letter.”
“Did you really?”
“Yes, I did. The meeting was held in his private quarters.”
“You couldn’t have been any age then. You look very young now.”
“I am living proof that looks can be deceptive!”
“That is indeed very true. While we seem to be on the subject of knowledge deemed from the pastime of reading, I’m sure I read somewhere an article in a magazine or maybe it was a book, I can’t exactly remember which, that purported that the angel that appeared to the shepherds at the time of Christ’s birth was androgynous.”
“Now that’s an interesting theory I’m sure.”
“So why ‘Primrose’, then?”
“From the genus, Oenothera. One of the most distinctive features of the flower is the ‘stigma’ which has four branches in a cross shape. Oenothera are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species. Oenothera flowers are pollinated by insects, such as moths and bees. Like most of the members of the Ocagraceae, however, the pollen grains are loosely held together by viscin threads, so only insects that are morphologically specialised to gather this pollen can effectively pollinate the flowers. Bees with typical scopia cannot hold it. Also the flowers open at a time when most bee species are inactive, so the bees that visit Oenothera are generally vespertive temporal specialists. Bees that forage in the evening. The seeds then ripen from late summer to autumn. Oenothera act as primary colonizers, quickly appearing in recently cleared areas. They germinate in disturbed soils, and can be found in habitats such as dunes, roadsides, railway embankments and waste areas. They are often casual and are eventually outcompeted by other species. Wiser now?”
“Yes, thank you, very serendipitous of you, I’m sure.”
“Now it’s your turn to be facetious, eh?”
“That certainly wasn’t the intention, I assure you. I’m being serious in my praise of your knowledge. A clever idea, holding a book auction in the Railway Station here. With it being high summer and all, all those general holiday makers and specialist sightseerers that come to see this specific station and railway line are an added bonus to the usual attendees of such events. Are you living locally?”
“No, I still live in Ireland. I read about this auction on the Internet, and have come here today with the intention of buying a specific book.”
“Would that be one of the Rodes collections? Perhaps one of his first editions or one of his original manuscripts, that is up for auction today. Maybe one of his numerous books of poetry? That is one of the reasons I am here myself. I’m considered as an expert on his works. He spent quite few years living and working all over Norfolk. He had homes in Heacham and Yarmouth, well, Scratby actually. He also spent a lot of time in Wells, just along the coast from here.”
“No, it not one of his works, although I know much of his work well, as he is one of my particular favourite poets. Actually it is a book that he once owned. ‘The Complete Plays of Bernard Shaw’ published in 1937. It is rather a rare book as only a few copies were actually published: as it was the subject of a new style of book publishing project at that time. Subscription only. His publishers at that time talked him into the deal. They had made an arrangement with a national newspaper group. And their angle was that you had to subscribe to their broadsheet weekly in order to be eligible to apply to own a copy. Because of this the book came handsomely bound in leather and printed on top quality vellum. This made the cost of owning the said volume of his works expensive, as not only was the actual volume costly to produce: but of course buyers needed to in addition to that to also subscribe themselves to the annual fee of receiving the broadsheet newspaper journal. Coupled to the scarcity of publication at the time, very few copies of it have survived well in the eighty-three years that have passed since that occasion.”
“So, you are a collector then of Shaw’s works, eh?”
“Again, I suppose you could describe my interest in that way. As you may be aware Shaw was an Irish playwright. I am in fact the Librarian/Curator of the Shaw Museum back in Ireland. When it came to our attention that this particular copy of the book was on the open market, the governing board, in their infinite wisdom decreed that no expense should be spared in our acquisition of said item. Hence I am here today, authorised to purchase the book, with a bottomless budget at my disposal.”
“Good for you! As it happens I know the book that you describe, and in fact the actual history of how Dusti acquired said volume in the first place. And that thought process has jogged my memory of where I read that bit about the angel. I must be getting older, my memory is getting to be shocking these days, I cannot remember much at all after a few minutes.”
“You’ll be telling me about your bus pass next!”
“You cheeky sod, bus pass indeed! How old do you think I am, then?”
“Well, to be honest you’re another one yourself, aren’t you? In some light, I’d say you were in your forties, but in others, you could have seen a thousand summers!”
“Thank you very much! I’ll have you know I’ve just turned forty-five! A thousand summers indeed!”
“Now it’s my turn to apologise, I suppose. I, like you, really have no intention of causing offence to yourself. But you did ask me my opinion.”
“Anyway, before I forget it again, that bit about the angel was from Dusti Rodes himself, when he was commenting on his poem ‘Poetic Licence’. I don’t know if you know the actual poem, but it goes something like this: ‘And an angel of the Lord appeared unto them, And they were sore afraid. Or in plain speech, Last time, we scared the s**t out of the shepherds, And we have never used the wings and sandals approach since.’ He said in his commentary that the angel had an androgynous appearance.”
“I do know that he had a thing about angels, they seem to appear in a lot of his writings”
“That’s because he is one himself, I suppose. The writing pundits always say you should write about what you know to get the best effects, don’t they?”
“What do you mean by that remark?”
“Which remark? The one about Dusti being an angel, or the best subjects to write about if you want to be a successful writer?”
“Let’s try the one about Dusti being an angel first.”
“Oh yeah, Dusti’s an angel alright. When was it now? This blinking memory thing! Oh, I remember! It was back in September, nineteen seventy-four. He had originally agreed to go on a boating holiday on the Broads. (Norfolk that is, well, just downs the road from here actually. Beccles, the Aston Boatyard there.) He and his friends, John and Diane, (she was John’s fiancée at the time,) had booked it up in the January in order to get a cut-price winter deal on the trip in late summer.(Remind me to tell you more sometime about the relationship between John, Diane and Dusti) Silly me, there I go again forgetting the fact that how Dusti originally met up with the ‘Heaven’s Angels’ is well-documented in his book, ‘The Best Man’s Speech’ isn’t it?. Of course at that time, Dusti was single himself. But that was all to change, wasn’t it, when in the March, whilst playing at a County darts match, he met June. They were soon ‘an item’ and they moved into that basement flat down in West Croydon together. Now then, as the story goes, June really wanted to get married, (or should I say her mother wanted her to have a ring on her finger, if you get my meaning!) Dusti wasn’t all that bothered either way as it happened, he originally thought that the arrangement was working OK, and as the old adage says, ‘If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it!’. So finally they did get married in the early August, and then between them all, it was agreed that the boating holiday would serve as a delayed honeymoon as well. As it happens the whole trip was quite a saga. But I’ll tell you more about that in a minute, if you don’t mind waiting. Just to go and ’point Percy at the porcelain’ if you get my drift? Do they have that phrase for it in Ireland?”
“Yes, they do. Now, as it happens, I could do with going to the toilet myself, it’s proving a long wait for this auction to start. So you lead the way, and I’ll be following you. I think I saw the sign for the Gents over that way to the right,”
“So you still use the Gents toilets then, do you?”
“Now I never said I would be doing that, did I? All of the toilets are over that way.”
“Sorry, Primrose, my mistake!”
*(Short Interlude, Bob Marley’s ‘Buffalo Soldier’ can be heard playing in the background)*
“Ahh, now I don’t know about you, but that certainly feels better for me. A load off my mind as they say. Listening to that bit of Bob Marley playing over the speakers while I was in doing the business, reminded me yet again of something I heard about Rodes. He knew an awful lot about Native Americans or Red Indians as they used to known as. Several of his collections had titles that had references to some of the tribes and their customs.”
“Yes, that is very true. Maybe I could tell you something you don’t know. As you say several of his collections had Indian connotations, ‘Sung on the Singing Stick’, As Told in the Tepees’, ‘Tales of the Cheyenne’, all reflected the story-telling aspects of how the Tribes histories, their traditions, their beliefs were carried down in cultures that did not have a written code. The singing stick for instance was a symbol of reverence, ornately carved en-bas with figures of animals that were held sacred, the raven, the bear, the wolf, the eagle, and of course the buffalo or bison. It was the duty and habit and task of the shaman or medicine man to relate the past history and the relevance to the future of the tribe through, what would be called today, the medium of narrative.”
“So what do you know about ‘buffalo soldiers?”
“The 10th Calvary unit of the United States Army were originally formed back in late September 1866 at Fort Leavenworth, in Kansas. It was the first unit to be made up of ‘black’ or’ negro’ soldiers. The nickname was given to them by the Indian tribes that they fought. Their reputation of fierceness of fighting came legendary in their campaigns against both the Cheyenne and the Comanche. Some stories say the tribes called them ‘buffalo soldiers’ because they had curly kinky hair,’like bison’s’. Other explanations said that they were like the herds of buffalo or bison that they hunted, and were not easily killed, mainly by the application of overwhelming odds, as with the bison.”
“I am impressed! And I expect Bob Marley would be too.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“As he says in the song, ‘If you knew your history, you’d know where you coming from ...’ and you certainly seem to know your history.”
“Thank you. You started telling me about Rodes being an angel. Do you want to tell me more? I am certainly intrigued by your statement.”
(* Since I only posted this on here late yesterday evening, I am delighted to have already received several compliments both by email and Tweets. I am currently working on this play and will post the results of Act Three, in due course! - Dusti)*
'Sailing on a Different Tack'
The Poetry of Dusti Rodes
Living with Lepers
If I were ...
Modern Day Cowboy
Influences in my Life
In the Doldrums
A Rural Setting
“The Quality of Mercy Is Not Strained ....”
Living with Lepers
The dreams are too vivid
The nights are too long.
The pains are too real
The fear they bring
Some days are better than others.
Today is not a good day.
The pressure is pounding
Do you have a hole,
I can hide in?
If I were....
If I were flavoured crisps,
I would be plain.
If I were a colour,
I would be beige.
If I were a paint,
I would be dry.
If I were the moon,
I would fall out of the sky.
If I were a swimmer,
I would drown.
If I were a steeplechaser,
I would fall down.
Modern Day Cowboy
" But signor, if he is the best,
With the gun, and the knife;
Then with whom does he compete? "
“With Himself ...."
(Scene from the film - The Magnificent Seven)
Performing with puppets,
Plied from papier mache.
Scribbled from sketches.
Worked from wood.
Crafted from clay.
While leaving puddles
Of Plaster of Paris.
Working with words,
In a wonderful way.
That continues to paint
Framed in people's minds.
Painter and Poet.
Writer & raconteur,
Teller of tall tales.
Influences in my Life
The father of the modern computer,
Bill Gates, for giving us software.
Edward de Bono's
The Beatles, of course;
John Lennon in particular.
The woman at the bus stop;
The North American Indian culture.
David Carradine, for Kung Fu;
John Keating for the Dead Poets Society,
Melanie Safkta, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez,
John Denver, for just being themselves.
Zen Buddhism, Taoism, Confucius;
Plato, Socrates, Kipling;
Schizophrenia, for never leaving me on my own;
And a cast of thousands,
That has caused me
To write it all down.
In the Doldrums
Don't know if I canna'
Take much more.
Just sittin' 'ere.
Wiv 'n achin' 'ead.
They cannas feel the stress,
Ora sense the seethin' angi'
Thata is surgin' from wi'in mae,
I feel trapped ana troosed up
Ina mental cage.
I feel I ama slowly goanna mad;
Awning befir me,
Is a black crevasse;
To which there is no end.
I retire to tha inner sanctum
Ora mae solitude;
But wi' thir mindless, endless questions they intrude.
I feel asa thae fabric ofa mae mind,
Isa bein' rent ti'shreds.
Gain thru soma' reely a'heavi hee'd changes,
Blindin' rages ana seethin' furies;
Getting'sa screwed-up, ita hirts ta' think.
The ragin' fury theta dwells, ana erupts froma deep wit' in',
Canna scarce be contained bya mere skin.
Sun shinin' ina mae eyes,
Callin' outa fir mae spirit tae pla'
Feelin', tearin',ata mae viry fibres;
Atellin' mae tae git awae.
A Rural Setting
Seth sat rocking in his chair,
Gazing into the fast dying flames of the open fire;
Deep in thought.
Martha stood clearing the dishes
Left from their evening repast.
A passing gust of wind;
As if seeking shelter from the cold night,
Chanced to swirl down the chimney,
And fanned the glowing embers
Into life once again.
This sudden burst of unexpected activity,
Aroused Seth from his state of trance;
And he groped, wearily, for his pipe.
“‘Is little pleasure”, Martha called it.
“Times is ‘ard,” sez he, “But ‘here’s ‘hose as won’t forgit ‘heirs ‘umble beginnings.”
“Aye, ‘ere’s ‘at abou’ it, I supposes,” said she. “Don’t know wha’ we ’ave gotta worry abou’:
Fings ‘as allays bin loike ‘at ‘ere!” said Martha wearily wiping down the table.
“Don’t ‘ee go on so, fings is bad, I knows. But ‘ees got a roof o’wer ‘ead, ‘asn’t ‘ee?”
“’Eres somes aroun’ese ‘ere parts as duns’t ‘aves ‘at!”
“I ‘nows ‘at, but even oise’s roof needs amendin’ o’er scullery; an’'em rats is in corn bin, summat bad.” retorted Martha.
“We’ll gits a’boi, “says Seth. Carefully knocking out the ash from his pipe on the cast iron grate.
“We’ll gets a’boi.” Sez ‘e.
“THE QUALITY OF MERCY IS NOT STRAINED ......" (From 'The Merchant of Venice)
"OK, everybody, QUIET! on the set...."
'TALKING BLUES’..... (Take Six!)
The cry went out,
for people to post poetry.
On yet another group 'PAGE'
Set on here.
So I sent two of my own.
But under another name.
Comment came back
that they were alright
for an amateur,
but 'PROPER' poems
rhymed in lines
Two and Four.
I'd given up the 'rhyming couplets' approach
to poetry, back in the late Seventies.
And now my work was measured in a meter
of lines One, Nine, Seven, Eleven, Five and Three.
The reply came back,
"Sadly, a poet, I would never be..."
So it seems, or is that deems?
That after over forty-five years, in my quest,
to write poetry, at my very best.
It's back to the drawing-board for me!
"Thank you, everybody.... That's a wrap!"