Place and Time: A New Original Post and Verse.

History, poetry. What more could one wish for?

Gogwit is pleased to share a new piece of original verse.

Actually, several pieces of verse combined into one, continuing my theme of places in my home city set slightly apart from time, from a viewpoint upon which all matters temporal converge.

When, if, the section “The Up Line” is read, it may be helpful to understand that Witton and Aston stations are still in use; Vauxhall and Duddeston station still has two platforms in use and is now called Duddeston. The Vauxhall platforms long abandoned, left derelict and buried below diverse weeds, flowers, shrubs and the fauna they support.

Nechells and Bloomsbury opened and closed in Victorian times and, look as I might, I have never satisfactorily seen trace of it.

Lawley Street was a later Victorian commuter station for a town – the city of 1000 trades – which grew voraciously enough to require the infrastructures of a city, which it eventually became in 1889. Lawley Street station is long, long since gone.

Curzon Street station, Banbury Street Ticket Platform and the Southern Approaches bear witness to the grand boom years of Victorian railway expansion. Of Curzon Street and Banbury Street all that remains is the elegant Booking Hall, due to receive a new lease of life when the HS2 high speed line runs there in the 2020s.

The Southern Approaches had narrow platforms set like refuges, between the insanely complex track and track junction pathways into the main station; all travellers into Birmingham New Street, formerly Grand Central Station, will have rattled, squealed, screeched, lurched and rattled over a million sets of points, between brick arches, walls and pillars, through pitch-black tunnels: The lasting legacy of the Southern Approaches.

Grand Central lives on as the name of the shopping and leisure mall built atop the main station recently, replacing the 60s concrete version. Now trains arrive and depart Birmingham New Street; up at street level the trams arrive and depart Grand Central.

That was the history lesson. Here is the verse.


Place and Time.

A38(M) – Aston Expressway.

I looked out from the highway
To the distance, on the right,
For a place, a school,
Where I had used to work.
Where was it now,
Where had it used to be?
Along the railway line –
Follow the railway line, of course.
Composite cladded steel obscured my view,
Yet a little further onward found
The building which I sought
Where it had always been
Since the beginning of its time.

Yew Tree Road, Witton B6.

In the playground of the school –
That school, where I had been
So happy in the dappled light filled
Grounds beneath the trees,
I looked out across the open fields
And Victorian terrace houses
To the place where was being built,
In concrete and in steel,
The elevated highway from horizon to horizon.
And In that instant locking eyes,
Over rooftops, distance, time;
Intuition left no doubt
That the eye beams were both mine.

Aston Railway Junction.

Between that school and the stilted concrete ribbon,
Beyond the Victorian terrace houses and the rails;
The weathered, time-stained rails of the railway line,
That railway line – which had always to be followed.
Radius curve merged with main line track of the up line,
Which ran always into Town, into Birmingham.

The Up Line.

“Witton, Aston,
Vauxhall and Duddeston,
Bloomsbury and Nechells, Lawley Street;
Curzon Street, Banbury Street, Southern Approaches,
Grand Central Station – All change! Alight here!
Change please at New Street for all onbound journeys.”

Birmingham, New Street Station.

Change here for everywhere, any place and any time –
For every destination that will take you far from here;
Board the express, or the stopping train, to promised time and place:
The remainder of your season until you return to clay.

Here, Now, Always.

But I digress; forgive the musings of mortal man
Who has looked across the rooftops, space and time
And locked gazes with
His younger self,
His older self;
Both time past and time future, perpetually now.


Ben A Harvey,

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

The image of Birmingham’s LNWR station, 1 June 1854, reproduced from The Illustrated London News of 3 June 1854 and is public domain, used here with gratitude.
In great appreciation of TS Eliot.
With great love to ….

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.

Church Street

Are you going to Ibiza?

Smart-casual bar disgorges
Tall, summer frock well-filled
And heels click-clack on to
The pavement.  Loud, confident,
Cultivated big girl’s voice, as fake
As her tan, as real as
The extra height her shoes afford.

Indistinct low muddy voice lost
In reply; no-one of importance.

Why not?” incredulous, contemptuous,
Supercilious, arched interrogatory
With plucked brows and painted
Expression of perpetual surprise.

Indistinct low muddy voice lost
In reply; no-one special, outclassed.

I do not need to stop, to look
Behind but laugh out loud
And continue on my walk.

Ben A Harvey,
July 2013

(c)

© Ben A Harvey. All rights reserved

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.