Trust is delicate as a flower,
and as easily crushed.
A foolish young boy for a dare
Crept into the lair of a bear.
The bear, tired of meats,
Took the boy’s bag of sweets:
Bah, humbug! – the mints made him swear.
The bear held its cheek in regret
For its tooth badly needed a vet.
Not-a-one who would dare
Pull the tooth of a bear:
So don’t try keeping one as a pet.
Now the boy thought he knew just the thing:
Tied the tooth, closed the door with a swing.
The bear was relieved,
The boy was reprieved.
And the bear slumbered on until spring.
* * *
This week’s 100wcgu: Bah, Humbug!
Wishing you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Spring had its moment of sunshine and mirth;
We witnessed the wonder of nature’s rebirth.
Summer was splendid, we laughed and we danced
In squares and on beaches from Finland to France.
For glorious Autumn did nature explode
In radiant colours: scarlet and gold.
Now the leaves have all fallen, the skies turned to gray,
We can hardly remember a bright summer’s day.
Spirits are drooping as nature grows stark,
Nighttime comes early, and morning is dark.
But be not despondent and winter will bring
Christmas and snowflakes, skating, and spring.
* * *
Jake’s Sunday Challenge: City.
Sing a song of sunshine,
A pocket of delight
To last us through the seasons
Of artificial light.
When the winter’s over
And birds begin to sing,
Won’t it be a joy to see
The harbingers of spring?
I owe the idea of rerhyming Mother Goose to Melody Lowes.
This week’s Travel Theme challenge from Wheresmybackpack: Foliage. Who could resist a challenge involving trees?
I am sure the current WP writing challenge will spark a shower of poignant stories on family heirlooms, balding teddies, gifts from lost loves, and other memorabilia. Which possessions do I most treasure? An album of childhood photos with my mother’s drawings in it, perhaps? A flying wooden seagull my sister gave me years ago?
It dawns on me that, sitting on my coffee table, I have a little bird sculpture. Perhaps this bird and its cousin, the broken fish, are my favourite possessions. They were my first experiments with soapstone – opus n°4 and opus n°1, respectively – and they made me understand the truth of the old story:
The famous artist <insert name here> is asked how to create beautiful sculptures, like this lion here. The artist replies, “It’s easy. You take a block of stone and chip away everything that’s not part of the lion.”
When I made these figurines, I did indeed puzzle over what could be hidden in the stone. And carving these creatures did feel strangely like setting them free.
But their status as favourites probably isn’t due to these memories. Rather, they are two of only very few pieces I’ve created in any medium that I’m truly happy with. (Well, the fish was a bit fragile. Lesson learnt: make soapstone figurines have a minimum thickness of 1cm everywhere.) I wonder how “real” artists deal with this. Do they keep their secret favourites? Or can they let them go because they are confident of being able to produce more work as good, or even better?
We need to let things go, to make room for the new. Not just in our homes, but in our heads. Yet we hang on to the old because it holds our identity. I know that the self and identity are fictions. Yet they feel so real. I know that by defining myself through my past, I am holding myself back. Nevertheless I’m proud of having carved this bird. I know we need to learn to loosen our bonds to this world and to everthing in it, if we are to die at peace. But the love of life and all it contains pulls at our heartstrings. Relentlessly.
We are drops of spray
Cast up by the surf.
We fly through the air
In the sunlight,
Meeting other droplets,
And parting again.
We revel in our freedom
Look at me:
My shape, my path,
Look, how fast I am going,
How high I can fly!
And as we are
To the ocean below,
We fear losing
Our unique self,
We will become
Once again one
With the deep blue sea.
There was an old lady who lived in a shoe
But her sister’s tale, do you know that too?
A charming old lady she was and so free
Towards all and sundry with biscuits and tea.
You might call her eccentric: believe it or not
She so loved her tea that she lived in a pot.
But take foibles too far, and there’s danger about
When you see what it is, it is too late to shout.
For one day when the water was boiling and hot
She forgot to go out, so she stewed in the pot.
O, that strange English habit of naming the eras for sovereigns
– Who knows when they reigned, with reigns of irregular lengths –
Like furlongs and Fahrenheit, barrels and sea-miles and guineas,
In a trunk full of memorabilia gathering dust.
So this is the age of Elizabeth, too, not-the-virgin,
With her handbag, her hat, and her signature pair of white gloves,
Her eyes straight ahead, turned away from her family’s follies,
Remote from the world of today, maybe sovereign, but lost.
A Chesterton figure, dignified, ancient, and quaint,
Who says “Lost? …but I’m here!”
Or maybe: “Where else would I be?”
This week’s 100wcgu was to write a poem prompted by the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Our eyes may calmly look upon this earth
Perceive its beauty, and admire its wonder,
And wander fitfully around its girth
Dividing elements and parts asunder.
For all that we behold we seek to name,
To understand. We always want to know
What’s different, similar, and what’s the same,
Why mountains bulge and whither rivers flow.
But as we grasp the world, our own ideas
Stand in the way of what our eyes can see.
Our stories, superstitions, hopes and fears
Do not allow our judgement to be free.
Know this and your vision will be clearer:
The world’s but your reflection in a mirror.
The latest 100wcgu challenge is to write a sonnet, possibly including St.George. I gave poor old George a miss. Conversion-at-dragon-point is not really my cup of tea, and I rather like dragons anyway, see an Elizabethan dragon, and it’s clan.
I don’t like painting eggs, I want to go home,
Said the girl with the curls to the little blue gnome.
But I need these eggs painted, the gnome wept its plea.
If they’re not done tomorrow, I’ll never be free!
There are too many eggs, there’s no way we can paint
them all by tomorrow! The gnome fell in faint.
But the girl didn’t panic, she knew just what to do,
She called to her friend, with thing one and thing two.
With little cats A – Z and the voom
Hat-cat got those eggs painted, and lifted the gloom.
You cannot know what hardship is, you live a life of ease.
Your birth’s no effort of your own, your smile is sure to please.
My kind and I we have to fight to see the light of day,
Persuade a maker we’re just right and let them have their way.
And if we’re sketched out on a page, our struggle isn’t done.
For those who’ve made it safe thus far, the fight has just begun.
For each idea that makes it through, a thousand, maybe more
Have ended screwed up in a ball and thrown down on the floor.
Queen Petra’s challenge. Coming up: 4. Crisis.
I was writing some nonsense-verse earlier this week, and thought, why not go on?
What was the rabbit late for, wondered Alice,
I never did find out. I wonder why?
I’ll try to say this kindly, without malice,
But really, said the peacock, you should try
To pay some more attention as you travel
To what your senses, eyes, and ears, and nose
Try very hard to tell you through the dazzle
Of surfaces, on which way the wind blows.
The rabbit has a watch, and what’s unpleasant,
A watch he looks at fifty times a day.
It keeps the rabbit’s thoughts outside the present:
That makes him late for life in every way.
The 1oo-word challenge for grown-ups at Julia’s Place. This week’s prompt was my first line.
And for the undaunted: T. Mastgrave’s prompt this week is “Demons”.