My house is my home And it goes where I roam And as I grow big So does it. It’s always my size Never too tight a fit Though I eat and I graze All night long. Though it’s comfy and warm And it keeps me from harm I never eat in; watch TV. So tonight I’ll eat out While the birds not about And I hope you won’t Mind little me.
Where dark skies glower o’er grey seas and greyer cliffs Daily they search the shingle and the rocks for signs of fossils Life which they say, once was; now gone; Once flesh and bone; now become stone. Following the shoreline, head bowed, sight funnelled As with blinders, focussed but without the peripheral The geologist scours the beach for proof of evolution. While here sit I, above the littoral; looking down and out to sea Along the coast of ancient rocks of times of my existence; Jurassic coast, where time bleeds into the beach. He sees his footprints in the sand, and I see mine; For here we meet across millennia; in this place; This earthly space where our soles show That both our souls; have touched Creation.
When I visited the Jurassic coast of Dorset, England, recently, it was grey and overcast, eerie and moon-like, as though primordial times still existed. I could not help but picture the dinosaurs which once roamed here and whose fossilised bones sometimes fall (bleed) onto the beach as proof of an existence we can hardly imagine. Footprints too have been found along the coast and so often, as with much of mature, it is a case of being able to recognise, see things, which otherwise we might walk past. I imagined that the dinosaurs were still present as if in another time or realm, for we both walked this land; we are both part of creation.
How does one deal with a brain that is blank No interest in anything: dead? How can one enthuse and react and excite When the vacancy hangs like a cloud? How can one exist in a life that seems full Yet a whirlpool of nothingness looms? How can one write when one’s mind can’t be found When the Muse shuts all doors with dull sound?
I’ll sit here awhile and I’ll tap the keyboard Try to shift torpor from my brain. I’ll struggle to share the Lethe I feel, Try to energise life from the depths; And if even that fails, at least I’ll have tried For my audience, a verse to provide.
There was a time when winters here were cold When snow and ice bit deep into the bone And frosted windows met us, rising, every morn When icy pavements meant we slipped and slid along. There was a time when summers were so warm The sun shone bright between the clouds And heat rose humid from the fields, Bright with wildflowers, buzzing insects And the heady scents of earth and farm. But then came now, and now it should be winter But the February temperature tells me no, For I feel the heat rise across both town and country See a clear blue unremitting glare upon the water And the butterflies awake and flit and start But it is winter or is winter summer now? For this thing called climate change has confused us all.
An iced fairy-cake, White Gothic structure Shining in the sun with Turrets, towers and chimneys Spires, like icing sugar Spiking heavenward, Brilliant against The dome of a blue sky. Castellations of legends And pointed, arched windows Full of intricate tracings. Paradise of imagination, Packed with curiosities In the collections of Walpole’s desires And eccentricities.
Strawberry Hill, London, is currently open to the public with an exhibition of some of the items collected by Horace Walpole (son of Britain’s first Prime Minister). He was an avid collector of art and curiosities, from fine art to armour and coins etc.
The house originally fronted onto the Thames, but the land in front has now been built upon and the site has been developed as part of Queen Mary’s University, London, in fact the students wander around the campus on the lawns outside and have lectures in the adjoining rooms.
Walpole designed this house together with his friends Richard Bentley and John Chute, as a ‘private retreat and a house for show, a place for study and for elaborate parties.’*
Not only is the exterior beautiful, but the interior has rooms or varying shapes, and sizes, ceilings which must be some of the best examples of Gothic revivalism known. There is a mirrored gallery, glitzy with gold and cream Gothic pinnacle ceiling and the prettiest library I remember ever seeing. Unfortunately I could not photograph the interior this time due to so many of the artefacts being on private loan.
It is well worth a visit though for those who like the Gothic style.