So tonight we open in Chesham with “The Unexpected Guest” by Agatha Christie.
I am playing a dreamy poetical Welsh police sergeant who is, naturally, investigating a mysterious murder. Aside from reading poetry (not the first time I’ve done that in a play recently) I am also caught writing it, but the audience is delivered no more than a couplet of this (fine?) poem.
I was given a challenge (by James of course) to finish the poem and I have done so in a way I think my character would have created it.
Of course, if you want to know who the murderer actually is…well you’ll have to see the show because I am certainly not going to tell you.
Tis misty in November
But seldom in December,
The fogs that fill the valleys soon disperse.
After the mists of midnight
They fade away in sunlight
Only to be replaced with something worse.
The deeds of men inspected
Too dark to be reflected
Are revealed to us when the fog has gone.
We seek the true solution
To give people resolution
And let the injured parties lives move on.
© Sergeant Cadwallader (CMB)
This poem was written for a very special lady. I had felt the need to write something anyway but when I learned that she too used to write poetry then it seemed even more important to put something into words.
When someone dies, the funeral is a chance to say goodbye. When it is the funeral of somebody you have never had the chance to meet, then goodbye becomes something more.
Today I have to say goodbye,
A life so precious has gone by.
I’ll meet folk they used to know,
Today goodbye means Hello.
I’m travelling to a far off city
Unknown to me, but quaint and pretty.
This is the place that they called home,
Today goodbye means Hello.
I’m learning now about their life
Poetess and devoted wife,
Friends who miss her kindness shown,
Today goodbye means Hello.
A lady I never got to meet
But who has shaped one close to me,
And so for their loss I will cry,
Today Hello must mean Goodbye.
I’ve always known of the Titanic, as long as I can remember and her fate has always moved me. Today, on the 102nd anniversary of her sinking I found myself inspired to write this poem.
Drowning In The Deep
Drowning in the cold deep ocean,
Falling, alone, into the dark,
Cut by a thousand daggers
I am frozen with cold.
My dreams are dying with me.
The future I might have known,
The life I should have led,
All lost to the sea.
Will you recall my name
When you look at the sea?
Remember my fear
Of this cold grave?
Will I live on
In your stories?
Can your memories
When you tell people that you’re visiting Belgium it seems most people reply with ‘Bruges is very nice’. When I replied that I was going to Antwerp and Ghent someone commented that the only thing they knew about Ghent was the poem “How They Brought The Good News From Ghent To Aix”. So, with profuse apologies to Robert Browning here is my tale of our adventure.
How We Took Ourselves To Ghent For Cake
We woke up one morning and started our day,
On train bound for Harrow we rumbled away;
Then dragging our cases we hurried along
To underground platforms with commuting throng;
Our line Metropolitan, we got on board
A slow train to London, through tunnels we roared.
At King’s Cross St Pancras we next disembarked,
The statue was shrouded in black we remarked;
With passports in hand, now security bound,
The Eurostar terminal easily found;
The train sped away and to Brussels we flew,
It would carry us there in an hour or two.
Our first stop in Belgium excited went we
Toward the Atomium eager to see;
Then later that evening we boarded a train
To take us to Antwerp for panto again,
Admiring the buildings without traffic jams
We happ’ly spent afternoon playing on trams.
Two nights we stopped then returned to the station,
To journey this time to our last destination;
Arrived at Gent Dampoort and damp it was too
But here as before we found plenty to do;
Espying a café towards it we went
The sign it said ‘pi’ we had found cake in Ghent.
Needless to say we found plenty of things to do in Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent (not just eating cake) and I’m sure I will post something more sensible about them all soon.
It’s National Poetry Day so I thought I should post a poem of my own.
This sonnet perhaps owes more to Lewis Carroll than to Shakespeare. It was written in honour of a spreadsheet wizard of my acquaintance. I hope it amuses, but there is no prize for solving my not very subtle riddle.
Sonnet VI – The Wizard
His fingers swiftly o’er the keyboard move,
To fill each cell with number, word or sign,
To calculate an answer and to prove
The hidden meaning stored in every line.
So often overlooked the tricks he plays
With formulae to make them do his will.
Takes data some have puzzled o’er for days
And then transforms it with unequalled skill.
A wizard he, in everyday disguise,
Behind the scenes serenely casts his spells.
He conjures images before your eyes,
There is no question now that he excels.
Now take J1, E4 and D10 too
And see this wizard thus revealed to you.
It started, as these things are wont to do, with a completely innocent conversation. It started with sonnets and somehow moved onto other poetry.
“All nursery rhymes are poems but not all poems are nursery rhymes” was the sentence that caught my attention as my imagination invariably started drawing a Venn diagram. Next, my mind added “Sonnets” into the picture which left the obvious question. Was there anything in the intersection? Is ?
There are several ways to answer this question but my solution is to attempt to fill the intersection by writing the following:
Sonnet IV – Humpty’s Fall
When Humpty Dumpty seated was on high
Upon a wall of bricks so wide and tall,
So unexpected did things go awry
And Humpty thus did fall from off the wall.
Fair rapidly he tumbled to the ground
Impacting with a most almighty crash,
With tiny pieces scattered all around
The ground was littered when his shell did smash.
Now to his aid did men and horses run
Sent by the king to help this needy soul.
Alas, assistance could they give him none,
They couldst not succour him nor make him whole.
So endeth Humpty Dumpty’s tragic tale
Which have I here the honour to regale.
Possibly a little silly but it was fun to try and make it work. What do you think?
The weather has been highly unseasonable recently so I went out for a snowy walk which inspired this poem and the photograph I took to go with it.
Sonnet II – The Snowy Field
My footfalls soft upon the snowy ground
Alone, the field is empty and too still.
I sought for springtime warmth, what have I found?
Lips numbed by biting wind, hands white and chill.
The stream in icy spate still rushes on
Past head-bowed flowers weighted down with snow.
The ice encrusted buds; their joy has gone,
They struggle ‘gainst this cold unbidden foe.
The sky is overcast and leaden grey,
From hedgerow now the bird’s song sounds forlorn.
He sings alone – who should have mate today,
Too cold to woo, his hopes have died stillborn.
I thought that spring had warmed my heart but then,
Cold winter’s hand hath frozen all again.