Tag Archives: my sunday poem

My Sunday Poem … # 26

My Sunday Poem … # 26

I live in a cottage on the South Ayrshire coast just a few miles from the small harbour town of Girvan. I very recently discovered the work of the painter and illustrator Alex Cubie (1911-1995) who was best known for his drawings of Rupert Bear. He succeeded Alfred Bestall on the strip in the Daily Express in 1965 and continued the comic with writer Freddie Chaplin until 1978, when John Harrold took over. He also illustrated the Rupert annuals between 1974 and 1978. He lived in Girvan for a part of his life.

“Girvan by Moonlight” – Alex Cubie (c1980)

I wrote this poem only yesterday and it was inspired by this painting. We visit Girvan frequently. The small island on the right side is called Aisla Craig.

At Girvan

The boats in the harbour are silent this night
The boats in the sky sail free
And the moon she paints her silver light
Upon the canvas sea my love
Upon the canvas sea

And in the world that lovers go
There lies a path that’s true
For every step I take I know
I walk along with you my love
I walk along with you

My Sunday poem … #24

My Sunday poem … #24

I wrote this while I was living near the New Forest in Hampshire. 

Song of the Forest Leaves

Are we the faded flags of glory past
Or early guests at Winter’s icy dance,
Or Summer’s orphans dressed in rags
All huddled now in ditch and dell.
Or are we perhaps the dreams of fallen heroes
Or the tears of fallen saints,
Or the prayers of silent troopers
Trudging Frontwards in the rain.
Or are we simply forests leaves
Consigned to play a part,
Each tumbling through eternity
Towards the central Heart ?

My Sunday Poem … #23

My Sunday Poem … #23

Some weeks ago I published a two verse poem on here called At Turnebyry in Starlight. It was inspired by the current debate over Scottish Independence. Seeming incomplete, I have since lengthened the poem to five verses. It can be set to the ancient tune of Slane, as in the hymn ‘Be Thou My Vision’. Hopefully it will journey far and wide. Scotland will prevail, independent or no. May hope always dwell in peaceful hearts.

At Turnebyry in Starlight

At Turnebyry in starlight a warrior stood,
A King for all Scotland, a soldier for good.
With eyes looking landwards, his thoughts they did turn
To Freedom won dearly at yon Bannockburn.

Would I have the courage to stand in his stead,
Where hundreds have fallen and thousands have bled.
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Fair Caledonia, the bravest of all.

The pipes they are calling to the beat o the drum,
Play on with your music, play on til I’m done.
My spirit is steadfast, my way it is sure,
With friends close beside me and heroes afore.

Tho’ streams they may wander and wind without care,
No borders are broken that love won’t repair.
My harbour my haven my anchor my hold,
No stranger forsaken, no creed left untold.

So sing ye of glory from mountain to glen,
Raise high every banner o Scotland again.
The hope of our Nation, forever to see,
Scotland our homeland, united and free.

C.M.White 2017

(Turnbyry is the ancient name for Turnberry)

  1. The ‘warrior’ is Robert the Bruce. He was born at Turnnberry Castle in 1274 and rose to become the King of Scotland. I imagined him returning to his childhood home some time after his victory at Bannockburn.
  2. The ‘streams’ refers to a stream that flows close by my cottage known locally as the Milton Wynd. It flows down to the sea from here. At low tide it cuts across Turnberry Beach and you have to cross it to reach the sea. At high tide it is covered and becomes one with the sea. Either way, it is always there.
  3. The 3rd line of the second verse is taken from Be Thou My Vision. It just seemed to be asking to go there.

My Sunday Poem … # 22

My Sunday Poem … # 22

Hello folks. Today’s poem is brand new and fresh out of the bag. The other day my lovely wife gave me the most marvellous gift of a brand new Panama hat. So I wrote this in celebration of my good fortune. It is very loosely based on a Bob Dylan song called “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” from his 1966 album Blonde on Blonde.

My brand new Panama hat

I woke up this morning with a feeling that
I’d take a walk to the beach and back
Take a real slow walk to the beach and back
Just me in my brand new Panama hat

I tripped on down with a feeling that
I’m the prince of cool I’m a Persian cat
I could easily pass as an aristocrat
Just me in my brand new Panama hat

I got to the shore with a feeling that
God and the angels know where it’s at
Yeah God and his angels know where’s it’s at
They want my brand new Panama hat

My Sunday Poem … #21

My Sunday Poem … # 21

Some years ago I remember walking along the beach at Brancaster in Norfolk when I chanced upon an old fisherman’s hut. It was long abandoned and the interior open to the elements. It made me think on a time when it would have been new and probably in daily use.

It also coincided with me having recently read a wonderful poem by William Butler Yeats called The Lake Isle of Innisfree. It began:

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee loud glade.

I was thus later inspired to write The House of Stones …

I will build myself a house of stones
And dwell there by and by,
Close to the wild sea shore
And the seagulls’ cry.

And if,
In time to come,
My house becomes a hollow
For the wind’s lamenting song,
A temple for the moon and stars
To gaze upon,
Then chance may guide
Some weary traveller to my door.

Perhaps,
In thoughts of me,
He may brush away the passing years
And make a fire
Of all the empty wordless days.
This man of dreams
This man of clay.

My Sunday Poem … # 19

My Sunday Poem … # 19

Dingle, Tingle and Shingle

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my sunday poem … # 18

my sunday poem … # 18

spells & shells

Here is a silly wee verse I wrote way back in the summer of 1969 when I was all of 17. Me and my best pal Charlie Parker spent a couple of weeks down in Devon and Cornwall. We tried our hand at surfing off Minehead beach and chatting up girls. We were rubbish at both.

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My Sunday Poem … # 16

My Sunday Poem … # 16

The Ruins at Castle Acre

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Castle Acre is a village in Norfolk, England. Just outside the present day village are the ruins of a castle and priory built in 1089 soon after the Norman Conquest. I used to visit them sometimes during the 1970s. This is a poem I wrote shortly after one such visit.

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my sunday poem … # 12

my sunday poem … # 12

I wrote this poem in January 1977 while I was living in Norfolk.
It could get pretty bleak there in winter when the cold wind blew straight across from Siberia like a breath of ice and the hard frosts could almost freeze your bones. It was the price you paid for such stunningly beautiful landscapes.

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The Winter Gallery

I had a winter gallery
Set in deep woods and wild fields.
And there I would linger
Among the portraits and glass-flower images
Until the last glimmering rays of sun
Had left pale-red rivers in the darkening sky
And the twilight world was cold and still.

I would wander in the moonlit garden
And find myself an avenue
Lined with white-tinsel trees
Etched with the mystic silence
Of a thousand half-held dreams
That lay beyond the garden wall.

Walking through the frozen fields
The air so crisp and still.
The evening lights stood out
All glistening stars of ice and fire
Each holding in their distant gleam
A promise of the coming spring.

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my sunday poem … # 11

my sunday poem … # 11

Drummer

drummerboy

My poem this week was inspired in part by a true story I came across recently.

In Napoleonic times when the prison ships used to be docked at Plymouth it was general practice to march the French prisoners of war across Dartmoor to Princetown. All of these prison details were accompanied by a military escort for obvious reasons. The journey was long and arduous but was made even harder in the winter as sudden snowstorms would often blow across the moor, catching the soldiers and prisoners in the open.

One such party were caught when a storm struck. Within minutes the snow blanketed the moor and the white-out brought the visibility down to a few feet. The party knew they were somewhere near to what was then the small village of Princetown and its formidable prison but exactly where it was impossible to say.  By now the prisoners in their flimsy clothes were beginning to freeze and so the soldiers led them to the shelter of a small gully which afforded some shelter from the winter onslaught. It soon become clear that this was no passing storm and the blizzard had well and truly set in. So those soldiers on horseback were sent to try and find the prison and return with a rescue party. In order for any rescue party to find the stranded travellers, a little drummer boy was told to remain in the gully and to keep drumming a tattoo so the sound of the drum would lead the rescuers back to the refuge.

As night approached the French prisoners and the few remaining guards began to despair, the relentless snows swirled around the gully but the brave little drummer boy continued to beat out his call for rescue.

It soon became obvious that for whatever reason the rescue party was not going to come in time, two prisoners had already frozen to death and the rest were near to exhaustion. The remaining soldiers decided that as the prisoners were in such a weak condition they were not going to try to escape which meant they too could try to reach Princetown and summon help. Once again the little drummer boy was ordered to remain with the Frenchmen and continue beating out his call. By now his little fingers were blue with cold but bravely he continued with his rhythmic drumming. The last thing the soldiers heard as the curtain of snow swallowed them up was the steady rat-a-tat-tat of the brave drummer’s drum beats.

When the snow storm eventually abated the rescue party was finally dispatched from the prison to find the young boy and his French charges. Eventually the gully was found and the rescuers was faced with the pitiful sight of a huddled bunch of frozen French corpses, just to one side was the pathetic remains of the brave little drummer boy, his body stiff and icy. The poor lad still held his drumsticks in his tiny , ice-blue hands as if he had bravely drummed right up to the final seconds of life – above and beyond the normal call of duty.

Drummer

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His face and fingers numb with cold
Drummer trudges from the town
Lost in the stars and the drifting snow
Fears and fancies all around

Ill chance found Drummer thus that night
A friendless homeless orphan child
Alone and driven in his plight
To seek the comfort of the wild

Though fresh and young as early spring
There is an inner wintering
A wisdom born of suffering
That only need and hardship bring

And through the thickly falling snow
He marked each weary pace
Until at last all effort spent
He tumbled into empty space

When he awoke or seeming so
For truth would cry he was asleep
Before him lay on every side
A forest strangely dark and deep

The moon shone silver through the trees
And diamond-decked the even snow
As if the stars had fallen down
To glisten on the earth below

Through the crisp and silent air
He saw a steady flame
And heard a soft and gentle voice
That called him by his name

Drummer have you come this far
To huddle in the snow
Drummer come and walk with me
Safe in my lantern’s glow

I am the shepherd of all men
Come down this winter’s night
So stay you close beside me
For I am the Lord of Light

And in his dream the shepherd knelt
To lift him from the snow
And Drummer saw his kindly face
Shine in the lantern’s glow

Over fields of mantled white
And streams of standing silver bright
The Angel and the orphan
Winged their way into the night

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