Poetry

1. The Drums Of War

2. A Call Of Duty


3. Howdy's Reprise


4. I Miss Those Days


5. Now & Then (...& Now Again)

 

6. The Peas Lasted Longer Than Our Relationship Did

 

7. And Still, They Rise...




I would in no way refer to myself as being a poet as I’ve only ever written a handful of poems. If my output ever increases ten-fold, then maybe, but till then, I’m just a Visual StoryTeller.

Below are excerpts from seven poems which I’ve written. Some speak of times past, others have a relevancy that is universal. Anyway, feel free to give them a read and decide for yourself.



1. The Drums Of War

“How interesting it would be to write the story of the experiences in this life of a man who killed himself in his previous life; how he now stumbles against the very demands which had offered themselves before, until he arrives at the realisation that he must fulfil those demands...
The deeds of the preceding life give direction to the present life.”
Tolstoy

I had been working on this poem for a while (since early 2011), putting it together with a series of sketches in the hope of eventually releasing it as a book.

What is it? Well, it’s an epic poem called The Drums Of War, speaking of the call to arms that appears to be inherent in all men. A soldier speaks of this, his hopes for a life beyond the battlefield as well as the realisation that although his life may indeed be his to give, the recipient may not be his intended...

The cover for the proposed book of the poem, The Drums Of War.


The Drums Of War page 1 Epitaph.


WWI Trenches


The 54th Mass. Regiment of the American Civil War.


The Drums Of War delves into this, allowing us to come to the understanding that conflict is not only a primal force within man (being active and awaiting since before our inception), but is at the very heart of Creation itself. Volcanoes, tornadoes, earthquakes… from these emerges something new, a hybrid even. Even though what’s left in its wake is complete devastation. Such are the forces of nature, such are the Drums Of War, bowing to no will except their own. Laying waste to all in their path.

The Drums Of War is as much a poem about love as it is a poem about conflict, which is something which precedes us. As this race of beings referred to as ‘humanity’, this we must face; this we must endure; this we must overcome. ‘Lest We Forget’ and become consumed by the primal force that creeps and dwells within. The force referred to here as, The Drums Of War…!


THE DRUMS OF WAR - [In part 19 verses]

Come hither my Love and lay thee down,
And for the last time, cry no more.
My heart shall forever beat strong for thee
But for now, 'tis the Drums of War.


'Tis the Drums of War that beckon now,
To ev'ry man that planteth, pulleth plow,
And sit in comfort, writing books,
That soweth yarn and cast their hooks.
Or sup their ale till bellies full
With songs and tales that egos pull;
As they chant along to the pounding Drum
Which echoes deep of the War to come.


Since first I cast mine eyes on you,
My beating heart was split in two.
Divided, torn asunder, rocked,
As if t'were ripped by musket shot.
And since that time I've pledged my life,
In hope one day you'd be my wife
And we'd in love forever be,
Then start ourselves a family.


I'd hunt the hurricane's wrestled skies
To see love sparkle in thine eyes.
And deflect lightning's violent birth,
As it hurried down to scorch the earth.
I'd tame the oceans with a whip
And 'cross a thousand lifetimes, slip.
These things I'd do, the earth I'd move,
To see thy face and my love prove.


All through my youth I searched for you,
So I could share a love so true.
Across Time's sea, ten thousand years,
I waited, held my breath in fear
That I would miss you, lose my chance,
And have to wait on Time's advance.
Ten thousand more would I accept,
Refuse to blink, in case I slept.
Refuse to eat or quench my thirst,
If in next life you'd choose me first.
I'd rage through fire's burning heat
Till it submitted in defeat.
All this I'd do, and surely more,
Till beckoned by the Drums of War.

©A. DEE – (April 2011)





2. A Call Of Duty

I wrote this as a dedication to Donald Simpson Bell, VC, a teacher, soldier and professional footballer who served in the First World War about whom I was originally asked to paint a portrait. Whilst conducting my research for the project (thanks initially to the efforts of Edward Nicholl), I became captivated by this humble man who was not only an inspiration to those of his time with whom he worked, played and served, but he serves also as an inspiration to us today, reminding us that it is not through wealth and power that one becomes great but through the embodiment, practising and promoting of those virtues for which we were created. Those virtues which, in reality, are supposed to make us human.

2nd Lt. Donald Simpson Bell, VC, was the first English professional footballer to enlist for active duty in November 1914 and remains the only professional footballer to be awarded the Victoria Cross. An extraordinary feat in itself, but one made all the more remarkable considering the media portrayal of the exploits (and paycheques!) of modern day professional footballers.

2nd Lt. Donald Simpson Bell, VC was killed in action in Contalmaison on 10th July 1916 at the Somme, repeating the same action that earned him his VC (Victoria Cross) only a mere 5 days before. Had he succeeded, he would most probably have been awarded a 2nd VC (VC and Bar), something which has only been achieved by 2 others in the line of duty; both of whom were surgeons.

Dedications


Lieutenant Colonel H.G. Holmes, Commanding the 9th Battalion of The Yorkshire Regiment, wrote to Bell's parents: “He was a great example, given at a time it was most needed, and in his honour, the spot where he now lies and which is now a redoubt, has officially been named: 'Bell's Redoubt.”

"He was about 6 feet tall and when fit about 13 stone 8 lbs. With it all he was most gentle. He played many fine games for our team. At Nottingham against Notts County he played grandly but the best of games was that against the Wolves, when he completely eclipsed Brooks and Co."
T E Maley, Secretary Bradford Park Avenue FC, 1913



"He is a great loss to the Battalion and also to me personally, and I consider him one of the finest officers I have ever seen.”
Lt Col H G Holmes. Commanding, 9th Battalion of The Yorkshire Regiment, 1916



"He knew no fear. He had the courage of a lion, and always seemed to be on the lookout for ways and means of making things easier for his comrades. He was ready to risk his life many times over if only he could lessen the risk to his men and brother officers."
A brother officer, 1916



"It may interest you to know that I am living in a dugout about 50 yards from the spot where 2nd Lieutenant Don Bell VC was killed.  He is buried there and his grave is the brightest spot in the vicinity. Over it is erected a wooden cross and around it neat railings..... His helmet rests on the grave....... It will be so comforting to Don's friends to know what loving care his grave has been tended."
Sapper Tom Enderby, 1916

Perhaps the most moving letter was written by Bell's batman, Private John W Byers to Mrs Rhoda Bell, his wife of only five weeks.

".... I sit down and write these few lines in deepest regret, believe me I am most sorry that it should be so. I would to God that my late master and friend had still been with us, or, better still, been at home with you.... The men worshipped him in their simple, wholehearted way and so they ought, he saved the lot of us from being completely wiped out by his heroic act..... The last time we were on the Somme, some of the lads came across Mr Bell's grave and they told me that it was being well cared for and that there is a cross erected over it.... "


A CALL OF DUTY

He led the charge from football fields
The day we went to war.
His soldier's heart would never yield,
What's a Call of Duty for?


He challenged first the battlefield
Of classrooms, hearts and minds.
Defending those with Truth his shield
He left not one behind.
You'd find him every Saturday
On turf, where boots he'd don,
For Bradford Park Ave. Boys he'd play
They seldom lost, but won.


But then there came that fateful day
With others, he took the Shilling.
For 'King and Country' was the way
To show that you were willing.
When called to arms he made a stand,
Not one to take the bench.
With lion's heart he took command
All the way to Horse Shoe Trench.


Over the top he led them
Inspiring heroes to the fore.
His acts of bravery fed them,
Making victory more assured.
Their blazing bullets missed him,
But not all his fortune bore.
It seemed that Fate she kissed him
Earning place in history's lore.


The V.C. was awarded
To be pinned upon his chest.
The one percent rewarded
That endured when put to test.
The second charge he made
It claimed his life but not his name.
As with the Charging Light Brigade
We'd ne'er be the same.


And so he lay to rest in France
At peace, his body covered.
His name kept up with Time's advance
Through history, rediscovered.
We can but learn the sacrifice
That those before us made.
Whether fore/against when roll the dice,
Is choice we owe, when played.


Some say, "'Tis luck and life, my lad"
The price we pay for war.
Some say, "It shows humanity's mad!"
And question, all the more.
"If you believe in Freedom, sir,
Oh why then, go to war?"
"I'm duty bound, you must concur,
What's a Call of Duty for?"


He led the charge from football fields
On Britain's glorious shore.
His lion's heart would never yield,
Like Heroes from before.
I'm telling it like it is, my friend,
Not glorifying a war.
If those like him do not defend,
What's a Call of Duty for?


If we repeat our past mistakes
Well I think you know the score,
If men consign us to this fate
And create an ash-filled shore,
If we forget the Mystery Men
Then we're shameful, nothing more.
If we don't learn from History, then,
What's the Call of Duty for?

©A. DEE – (May 2013)





3. Howdy's Reprise

This serves not so much as an introduction to the theme of Howdy’s Reprise, as it does a tale from another dimension.

In time, all will be revealed….


HOWDY'S REPRISE - [In part - 11 verses]

The path to enlightenment is slow, not swift
And goals are reached with wits and gifts
And trials and wisdom passed on down
Like Family Heirloom's minted crown.


Time ticks and twists its wringing hands
As we proceed 'cross burning sands
Towards our Death, the hour glass
Is emptying still, approaching fast.
We feel it scorch beneath our feet
Old habits lost we will repeat.
To err is human, not divine
Whose god do you speak of, yours or mine?
The path to enlightenment is slow, not swift
And goals are reached with wits and gifts.
Where Life and Death toss for the throne
But watch and wait, from realms unknown.


I cannot say what my name is,
I cannot say and that's because
I do not know, it has been taken,
Stolen, kidnapped, ripped, forsaken.
Along with this my former shell
Now 'cased in wood I'm forced to dwell
Just like a cursed plaything's toy
Repulsed I am, just null and void.
I must retrace my steps, this first
To save my mind, and lift this curse.
Where Life and Death toss for the throne
But watch and wait, from realms unknown.


My mind is strong, will this shell hold
Throughout the night and burning cold?
Across the urban landscape's face
I'm drawn to search and find my place
Amongst the ashes, rubble drawn
I feel compelled to walk alone
And draw my weapon, firm in hand
So I may know and understand
That like a god I can create
And through this knowledge know my fate.
Where Life and Death toss for the throne
But watch and wait, from realms unknown.

©A. DEE – (July 2010)




4. I Miss Those Days

I suppose this one can be seen as a sign of age — the reminiscing of ‘the good old days!’ when we remember our childhood through rose-tinted glasses. I suppose this is my contribution to that tradition.


I MISS THOSE DAYS - [In part7 verses]

I miss those days...
When the pendulum of clocks
Swung to the rhythm of tocks,
And the ticks were like snares of a drum.
Now timepieces all vibrate or hum.
I would stand there for hours
Just observing - like flowers
The passing of time all around.
Like the eye of a storm,
Or a hurricane, born,
I'd be still, and not make a sound.


I miss those days...
When vinegar had flavour,
Chips were wrapped in newspaper,
And the ketchup was tasty and thick.
Now they're 'French fries' and all look like sticks.
I would stand there for hours
Sucking sweets, that were sour
And passing the bag all around.
Lemon sherbets and chews,
With a quart kola cubes,
And 'lucky bags' littered the ground.


I miss those days...
When we played out till late,
You could leave your back gate
And your door open wide, on the latch.
Now we're too scared 'case kiddies get snatched.
If you gave elders some lip,
You'd be in for a clip
Or a slap and you'd take it fair's square.
There'd be no 'ChildLine',
No lawsuits or fines,
Names called got laughed off without care.

©A. DEE – (May 2011)




5. Now & Then (...& Now Again)

This is one of my more recent ones dealing with that all too familiar dreaded journey back to the home of an ex, to return their things when the love has grown cold.

I didn’t have anyone to talk to about what I was going through at the time, so on the journey there I just decided to put pen to paper and just ‘let it happen’. It was interesting therapy.


NOW & THEN (...& NOW AGAIN) - [In part - 12 verses]

It wasn't a trip that I wanted to make,
But for me, it was a cleansing.
My love and ev'rything she'd take,
And leave me, half depending ...on her.
But that was then.


Then, when she approached my fragile heart
And told me that she loved me.
Then, when she released the whole, not in part,
The passion, when she hugged me ...really tight.
But that was then.


Then, when she said what I'd waited to hear,
A family, and house in the country.
Then, when we'd supported each other's careers,
As my muse, I'd write her poetry ...it was good, too.
But that was then.


Then, when we'd talk late into the night,
She was my Soul-mate and I was her Angel.
Then, we'd make love, by candlelight,
Thoughts of parting, could be no stranger.
But that was then.


Then, we made plans and our future was set,
I'd learn to drive, get a mortgage, a job.
We talked about furniture, the pets that we'd get,
A garden to grow in, fave food on the hob.
But that was then.


Then, came the changes, the turn of the tide,
The unspoken thoughts like there's something to hide.
The nights without sleep, the cumbersome sex,
The thought of her ex's, me thinking, 'I'm next'.
Yes, that was then.

©A. DEE – (April 2011)

 

 

  

6. The Peas Lasted Longer Than Our Relationship Did

This was another poem based on the same theme as the previous one — Now & Then (...& Now Again).
It’s funny how the slightest thing can trigger thoughts of moments past, but then they do say, “It’s always the little things”.


THE PEAS LASTED LONGER THAN OUR RELATIONSHIP DID - [In part - 7 verses]

I open my eyes, then throw back my head,
There’s a cold spot coming from her space in the bed.
It’s empty now, a thing of the past,
Just the echo of her scent, her smile, her laugh.
The wardrobes and cupboards, her stuff it’s all gone,
Their bareness it echoes the fact I’m alone.
It all seems deserted, the freezer, the fridge,
But the peas lasted longer than our relationship did.

She came over in a taxi, with boxes and bags,
Whilst humming along to a tune by Boz Scaggs.
She wanted to carry the heavy stuff herself,
But I wouldn’t let her, insisting I helped.
I gave up my head-space, cleared shelves in my heart,
Reprogrammed my mindset… you know, a new start.
Do I wish I’d known the outcome back then? Just a bit,
Cos the peas lasted longer than our relationship did.

I remember when she bought them, from that supermarket chain,
We’d queued up f’r ages, like an M14 lane.
Or a highway interstate, right after a crash,
She had offered to pay, but I was quicker with cash.
They were placed in the freezer, back of our minds,
But then that was OK, we had love, we had time.
We had big plans and laughter, plus saved a few quid,
But the peas lasted longer than our relationship did.

There are so many things that we promised we’d do,
From renewing our passports, to fixing the loo.
I even made a list of them, but you know how it is,
When your relationship changes, ignorance ain’t such bliss.
But the peas didn’t change, stored frozen in time,
Suspended in animation, like a thought out of mind.
They just stayed at the back, like a shy old school friend,
Just waiting for the bell, to signal class end.

©A. DEE – (September 2011)




7. And Still, They Rise...

There is no direct ‘story’ in relation to this as it originated from a more visual image project. However, as with all my projects, there is a back-story. The origin of it is based on the premise that the Living Dead (a.k.a. zombies) have lived with us for millennia. Through various Government cock-ups and media exposés their existence has finally become known to the general public.

The following poem (in part) is from a character in the story that finds himself ‘returning’ after a spell in the grave.



AND STILL, THEY RISE... - [In part - 10 verses?…]

My life was cut short this past week
A fate which I despise.
For though I lay amongst the dead
I rot, yet still they rise.

What was it that made them cheat death
And crawl from out the earth?
'Twas said there's three-score and ten years
From Death back to man's birth.

Three-score and ten I doth repeat
To all that care to hear.
That if 'tis all the life we get
Then surely, Death is near.

What first caused them to quit the grave
And snatcheth back their lives?
To return to loved ones far and near,
To children, kin and wives?

Still they demand an equal share
Once they are back at home.
Their little jaunt off to the grave
Is seen as time alone.

Time to reflect on all of Life's
Injustices to the last.
And so they come back to retrieve
The memories of their past.

A past that cheated them they feel,
A past without a future.
A past that memories would reveal,
Uncaring, like a vulture.

©A. DEE – (November 2010 – Present...)




10 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. I've written some poetry too but I feel I wouldn't want anyone to read it as it is so personal to me, can you understand that?

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    2. Yes, I can understand that, totally. With me, I try to remember that in a world that seems to have an vast number of people in varying situations, that combination alone will produce what will seem to be an infinite number of emotions and responses to those situations. With such an outcome, how many of those people will be able to relate to what we're feeling and what we're going through? So I try to remember that and 'connect'. Almost as if I'm saying, "I may not know you, I may not even have met you, but here's another soul in the world who can relate to what you're going through". It's a bit like the last verse of the song, "Message in a Bottle", by The Police.

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  2. Looking forward to reading more of your poetry soon.

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    1. Thanks, I'll be posting the next one up this weekend.
      Just been busy updating my "Expressions" site, that's all.

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. Life can be so unkind......yet it is so precious and should be treasured......
    Any new poetry in the pipeline??

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    1. Hi,
      It’s been a while...
      ‘Life’, or people…?
      Personally, I would opt for the latter. Do I hear the sound of a fractured heart...? You are not obliged to answer that.
      That’s one of the beautifully sad things about Life. The greater the Love, the deeper the hole when it moves on.

      My own words are like teardrops in the rain when speaking of such things. I would prefer to have it said by someone far greater than I.
      Khalil Gibran – http://www.katsandogz.com/onlove.html

      Anyway, as for more poetry, who knows?

      I’ve been focussing on painting for the past 6 months, although I hope to get back to writing soon.

      In the meantime, my Best to you and your heart.

      A. Dee

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  6. My heart says thanks for those kind words and the hole that was there is slowly becoming whole again. Maybe people do care after all

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