(Duc de Berry: Tres Riches Heures; December
she prefers turkey
( The ‘Abbey’ WyrdLight.com; Antony McCallum, 2007
transferred to Commons from Wikipaedia by Kurpfalzbilder)
At Painshill, absence rather than presence
is tangible. Arnold’s cottage now gone;
no Temple of Bacchus: at least, not yet
(so no iconographical message
from Apollo, Mercury, Venus, Zeus);
the Gothic Tower and Crystal Grotto closed-
the latter seems to have lost its sparkle;
the former lost its marbles long ago.
A middle-aged couple are unable
to have a sly snog behind a pillar,
as I appear on cue with a camera,
desecrating a Romantic landscape;
ready to immortalise an abbey
that never was….
…..I forgot to take note
of one of Europe’s most lofty cedars;
I managed to miss the Gianbologna;
was underwhelmed by the mausoleum’s
empty, uncommemorative niches.
I can’t say that I noticed the cork tree
and walked around a silver, ghost-like Mole,
but saw no gentlemen in silk breeches
pop myopic heads up from mounds of earth.
Even the hermit scarpered to the pub,
with his employer’s seven hundred quid
and Hamilton himself retired to Bath.
Smoke spiralled from branches that left bare stumps;
no doves hovered over The Chinese Bridge;
nomads had vacated the ornate tent
and pushchair-strolling mothers ignored me.
But though there was no fruit left on the vine
and there were no fish on the angler’s line;
the cascade was a desultory drip
and I trod on Canadian Goose shit,
yet the Genius of the Place reached out and
touched my heart with elegant green fingers.
(Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
25/8/06 Photo: Zhi Yong Lee Flickr)
My chin was resting on the narrow ledge
and my hand sensed where to find the button.
I pressed: the drama slowly evolved.
Small-headed ptarmigan; weasel, or stoat;
a Mountain Hare… Was there an Arctic Fox?
My memory is blurred, just as the light
gradually dimmed and a square of blackness
disconcertingly ensued. By magic,
or perhaps a further impatient press,
a non-existent stage curtain lifted
on the mise-en-scene and, where there had been
autumnal, russet fur and feathers; leaves
of crinkled beech, now there was dazzling white
and a sparkling winter wonderland, with
the taxidermied tableau now pristine,
like the snow in our back garden, before
I rushed to stamp my welly-prints in it.
There were only two seasons, I recall:
autumn and winter. There was no vernal;
no fresh, green meadows with two hares boxing.
There was no aestival, with growing young.
There only seemed to be approaching Death
and a brief, glittering transformation
before darkness set in.
It was not there.
I sought in vain for the diorama
when I made my last Glasgow pilgrimage;
no grandfather to hoist me up the steps.
The ’64’ Auchenshuggle bus- gone-
at least from its old Clydebank/ Partick route,
where it stopped at the grandiose facade
of a Santiago in red sandstone.
Like a ViewMaster, the shutter came down
on four years of study under the spire
of grimy, but Romantic Gilmorehill.
I ask where my springs and summers have gone.
I no longer need a hand to ascend;
can see in the mirror my auburn fade
and pure white winter begin to appear,
with growing sense of metamorphosis.
Camouflage did not help them to survive-
except in the memory of a child.
(Rock Ptarmigan (Norway) 28/5/10
Photo: Jan Frode Haugseth)
welcomed by a steward
from the cold.
the wife warms her knees,
sheep now penned.
you will ever be
you meet The May Queen
in your shade fair maids
Scythe the corn
while Poitiers enjoys
a rare peace.
a peasant’s backside
your fields protected
from the birds.
shakes acorns after
the Duke’s death.
where hounds savage boar:
(Portrait of John Ruskin by Sir John Everett Millais
Another poem lost in the archives, which might be
worth a re-blog…
They thought I was in contemplative mood
when I gazed at those lichens and bubbles.
In fact, non-consummation makes one brood.
Damned rain exacerbated our troubles.
Effie assiduously sewed red cloth,
her hair crowned with a garland of foxgloves,
while Everett circled her like a moth,
the pair of them billing like turtle doves.
You’d look like a hyena if your wife
was trailing around the Trossachs like that.
You’d feel that you could take a palette knife
to the one against whom she leant and sat
for hours, reading Dante, while he drew.
And, having him cooped up in that snuff box,
tickling her with fern- as if I misconstrue.
His doodles made me uncomfortable.
He’d come in damp from studying these rocks,
clutching his oils, sepia ink, sable
brushes, teasing her, calling her Countess.
She even trimmed his hair for him one night,
collecting the blonde curls on The Witness,
some Edinburgh newspaper, not quite
read by William, or myself. And his hand
was bandaged because the fool had injured
it, trying to make unstable stones stand
in the stream, for her to cross. I’d endured
enough by then. I watched the salmon leap
in Glenfinlas waterfall and pondered
what they were sowing and what they would reap.
They played battledore in the barn, wandered
the moors and bogs. He said chilly mountains
made him love soft, warm breathing bodies and
all the while it incessantly rained- rains!
Do they think because they are in Scotland
the normal marriage vows do not apply;
that they can shelter under a shared plaid
and return soaking with another lie?
The bubbles have all burst, I’m afraid.
I stand in the midst of this turbulence.
Passions, torrent roars: I counter silence.
More haiku to match the previous post!
Geese over the bay
curve through harboured boats’ masts, dark
against a full moon.
A firework’s flare
falls smoking over the bridge
where the daimyo passed.
People don’t notice
the moonbeams through transparent
petals of blossom.
In rain some wear capes
made of straw. Their parasols
point towards the wind.
The temple precinct
is ankle deep in crisp snow.
Pipes are lit at fires.
In a timber yard
Chows sniff each other: a tryst
beneath the lanterns.
Kimono hitched high,
a woman turns round to check
if her friends follow.
She is well balanced
on her little platform shoes
under louring skies.