Eleven-Eleven-Eighteen

My great-grandfather’s leaders took England to war,
They’d subdued the Zulu, Sepoys and the Boer,
Plucky Belgians frustrated Von Schlieffen for weeks,
Time enough to recruit and to shake an iron fist,
Backed up by those men fit enough to enlist.

Balkan intrigues threw a spark in the dry, dry tinder…

All be over by Christmas, that is what was said,
Four years later it ended and so many were dead,
Those whose wounds did not kill them contracted the Flu,
Which spread to schools, homes and factories too.
As if the War to End All Wars was not enough…

The Four Horsemen were busy in those days.

Claiming the souls of the weak and the strong,
The talented, gifted, Muse and mundane
The rich and the poor; Death took them all.
So we had The Great Flu and we had the Great War.

Never again, never again, never… until the next time.

Ben A Harvey

August 2018

(C) Gogwit’s Blog, all rights Reserved

Araucaria, A New Poem.

…The Chile Pine put down its roots and grew;
The Monkey Puzzle watches; and is growing still.

Araucaria


You were there when my mother was a child,
In the horsey people’s forecourt up the hill.
She looked at you and
Wondered what you were,
Where you came from and
What you were doing here.

While it is very plain
To see you are a tree,
You are a tree unlike
The others all around.
So very tall and straight,
Your branches at the crown,
Not meant for kids to climb
Unlike the others in the town.

You were there when I was a little boy.
Outside the maisonette block up the hill.
I looked at you and
I wondered why
You were called a Chile Pine,
Araucaria, the Monkey Puzzle Tree.

Maybe it was just a saying,
Or a legend.
Or the exotic, twisted seed pods – not cones,
More like those finger traps
Of fakirs and magicians,
Perplexing monkeys
In the far off forests where
Your ancestors had grown.

You were there, a novelty in the garden of the gentry,
Before my mother ever saw you, as a child.
You were there outside the flats
Where that garden had once been,
As I walked up that hill to school,
A boy in grey serge shorts forty summers on.

No horsey lady, now, rings in the New Year.
In her smock at 12 o’clock with her handbell.
Marching up and down the hill
With her tidings of goodwill,
Bringing merriment and cheer
For the twelve-month yet to come.
The Chile Pine put down its roots and grew;
The Monkey Puzzle watches; and is growing still.

 


Ben A Harvey,

2 November 2018.
(C) Gogwit’s Blog (Ben A Harvey), 2018 – all rights reserved.

New Verse for Easter

A visit to an East Kent churchyard on Easter Sunday rewarded me with a surprising sight, one which sparked ideas which are set out on this page. I have never before seen a thick, healthy, leafy rosemary bush growing upon a grave.

It made quite an impression on me and suggested the theme of my second piece of verse in this current creative spell.

Rosemary Adorns My Grave.

Rosemary adorns my grave.

Profuse cut flowers by many hands marked
My final resting place; fewer and less frequently
As time passed on and by.
Hues pure and funerary fade, vanish into earth,

Even as have I.

And left behind is mottled stone and the green
Of the thriving bush, which grew from the sprig
That struck and took so many years ago.
Plucked in sorrow from my own back garden
Planted, in love, by a solitary hand.

Whether, by chance, you visit me or your presence
Here is by design, run your fingers through
My leaves, rub one and sense
The earthy herb, this shrub, my bower,

Relict, in memoriam.

Rosemary adorns my grave.

Ben A Harvey
Easter 2018

(c) 2018, All Rights Reserved.

St Paul’s Square, B3.

This is the first sustained creative work I have delivered since 2015, I believe.

It came to life on the X14 bus on my way to visit my dentist, Dr Jalif, and was finalised on my return journey, by train, from Selly Oak to Sutton Coldfield.

I hope that you enjoy reading this work. I enjoyed writing it.

St Paul’s Square, B3.

Open field hemmed in by buildings
Workshops, forges, manufactories.
Parts of these turned into houses
For the owners wealth and riches,
For the craftsmen leather breeches,
Tools and ale and most of all
A bed and roof over their head.

Simple people with religion
Men and women all of God.
They raised a splendid place of worship
Visible from house and workshop,
Visible from home and tavern,
Reminding them of place and duty
By then the open field was gone.

Wooden box pews, songs of praise
Hymns ancient and modern.
Blight and blitz and times of plenty
Baptise, confirm, marry, bury,
Offices of life and death,
The churchyard is a garden now
To take the place of field and heath.

Ben A Harvey
24 March 2018

(C) 2018, All rights reserved.

Childish Song, No.5 – without refrain.

Where fragrant blossoms lit up the day,
Now dried out dead head sticks decay.
Once vibrant reds and golds and hues
Are now but fifty shades of brown.
Those bright blue skies with fluffy clouds
Are grey and muddled, dull as death,
And rain falls down like bitter tears
My dreams and hopes to drown.

Where warmth and light made our joy,
Now half-light dank and damp deploy.
Once loud and happy songs of birds
Are now a whisper or a hush.
Those sun filled days without a care
Are choked with mud, and with despair,
And my tears commingle with the flood
My heart and soul to crush.

Ben A Harvey
February 2014.

© Ben A Harvey. All rights reserved.

A new addition to my occasional collection of Childish Songs. I hope you find it of interest.
Gogwit.

Childish Song, No. 3 – without refrain.

Chalky alkaline blues
and pale pastel pinks
Acid reds and yellows
And every shade of green.
Every hue in nature
The spectrum and creation
Side by side, together
In the Garden I have seen.
 
Ovate, Palmate, Pinnate
Lanceolate, Digitate
Simple leaves and compound leaves
And shapes of every kind.
Every form conceivable
In endless combination,
Side by side, together
In the Garden I will find.
 
(C) Ben A Harvey
July 2013CE.

Two New Verses.

Childish Song, No.2 – without refrain.

If you ever meet somebody,
Somebody you fall in love with,
When you meet that somebody,
Surely you must tell them;

Tell them that you really love them,
Love them and adore them only:

Or however will they ever know,
Know just how you feel toward them?
How will they know that it’s alright,
Alright that they feel this way too?

Ben A Harvey
May 2013.

© Ben A Harvey. All rights reserved

Real Men: A Lament.

Real men have no manners.
Real men have no grace.
Real men never say ‘please’ or ‘thank you.’
Such things simply have no place
In a real man’s world.

Real men do not sit by bedsides.
Real men do not stay to hold your hand.
Real men’s eyes never brim with tears.
Such things – such things – have no place
In a real man’s world.

Real men go on expeditions.
Real men return after you have died.
Real men place lilies on your grave.
‘To have and to hold’ has no place
In a real man’s world.

Real men will start a charity.
Real men will raise money in your name.
Real men will say it is what you’d have wanted;
But what you wanted had no place
In a real man’s world.

Ben A Harvey
May 2013.

© Ben A Harvey. All rights reserved.