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Poems by T. C. Hudson

 

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CELEBRATION (V.E. DAY MAY 8TH 1945)

I could not on that day in May

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A MASTERTEAM MISS

Admitting her reluctance, she

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CELEBRATION (THE SHERLOCK HOLMES CENTENARY)

The cover, faded blue, depicts

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CHRISTMAS 1940

’Twas a week before Christmas in an

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THE RIDING SCHOOL PASSES

Clip-clop, clip-clop,

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THE BERLIN WALL

It stands, its cruel concrete face

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THE BOLSHOI BALLET AT BATTERSEA

The curtains part, the group ethereal

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A CHRISTENING AT ALL SAINTS (FRESHWATER)

The atmosphere, well charged

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THE GAP CLOSES

At billiards in a village club,

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PAID HANDS (CIRCA 1928)

With frothy pints in hardened hands,

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THE SEMI-FINALIST

She failed to reach the final test,

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ACADEMY PICTURE

With patience and protractor’s aid

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VALSHEDA

Unheralded she came, returning to

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PICTURESQUE COTTAGE (CIRCA 1890)

“How idyllic,” they zays, as they zees

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MEMORIAL TO MY MOTHER

She died at forty-six.

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CAVE-IN AT VENTNOR

Presumably he knew the risk

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FLAT DWELLERS

Although she lives and eats alone,

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CHRISTMAS CALENDAR

The calendar arrived by post.

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YORK STREET SCHOOL DEMOLISHED

My mother told of schooldays spent

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WELL PLAYED, SIR!

Eighteen eighty-two, remark it,

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RUSKIN WRITES TO KATE GREENAWAY

If kisses, penned, meant naught,

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EXPOSURE

How long before I hear again

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TO MARION IN HER KITCHEN

No Valentine in all my days

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THE SEASONS

When poets through the ages all have sung

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NEW FOREST EXODUS

Picturesque? But would artistic

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BACHELOR’S CHRISTMAS

Reclusive, old, he sits alone.

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MECCA FOR MORONS

With Lennon, cynic, bunkum’s graduate,

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BEYOND ’84

Long since, Cassandra-like, we cried, “Beware!”

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LIGHTNING STRIKES YORK MINSTER

The controversy waxes, wanes,

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CHRISTMAS PANTOMIME (CIRCA 1922)

For hours, it seemed, they reminisced,

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YOUTHFUL FOLLY

Why do they, to themselves untrue,

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TATTOO

The anaconda caught my eye,

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WINTER DEPRESSION

The draggled day had drawn

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LIMERICKS

There climbed to the Long Stone a queue

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CLERIHEWS

Robert Runcie, indiscreet,

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REVELATION

I heard wise men debate

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FALKLAND FATALITY

No danger gloomed his Dorset sky

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DILEMMA

We, who lived through ‘red alerts’,

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RIVAL ATTRACTION

A morning haze obscures

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YOUNG MOTHER

Beside me on the bus

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UNEXPECTED ENCOUNTER

You came in unexpectedly –

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FLASH-BACK ON FOLLY

The guide-book did it – woke

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A RENT IN THE TAPESTRY

She lured him from a line of kings.

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PARVENU

Though one of four, her bulk

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BIRTHPLACE

It looks a happy house;

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SCHOOL-TEACHER

We pass the time of day,

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I DESTROY THE EVIDENCE

A letter to his mother from

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I DANCED WITH A RELATIVE’S MISTRESS

For bitterness she’d caused –

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CRYSTAL WEDDING

For fifteen years since walking down the aisle

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LILLIE (Inspired by the TV performance of Francesca Annis)

Where other, more proficient pens,

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WALK SLOWLY HOME

Walk slowly home –

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BACHELOR’S REVERIE

I lay relaxed, my mood attuned

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FROM MICHAEL, ON ACTIVE SERVICE

When I see you so wise and cool,

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FASTNET TRAGEDY

“The only challenge left,” a yachtsman said,

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REPEAT PERFORMANCE

It happened, says Herodotus, some years

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THE SHOT

The light was soft that afternoon,

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THE LAST ANTIQUE

You’ll take my ‘blue-dash’ charger,

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MIDNIGHT SERVICE

The lych-gate glistens, moonlit, in the rime,

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ISLANDS

To be enisled – a dream of youth

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AN ALCOHOLIC GOES SHOPPING

Quite sober now, Amanda halts

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PRELUDE TO UNKNOWN PLAYS

An empty stage awaits a spate of words,

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AT THE BUS STOP

Five in a queue,

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IMPERSONALITIES – ROBIN DAY

On Wednesday, when calls are made

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IMPERSONALITIES – PETER DULAY

They’re often caught, the victim of his ploys,

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IMPERSONALITIES – ROY PLOMLEY

What has this man become, to whom there clings

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IMPERSONALITIES – HUGHIE GREEN

We marvel at this talented performer,

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A PIG IS A PIG

Once, Bulgar hogs devoured their fare

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LUGGAGE IN A WAITING-ROOM

The cases did it – stirred that blood

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TO LYDIA (A villanelle)

If love should discipline my pen

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THE MERRY WIDOW (East Cowes Town Hall, March 1975)

Filling our hearts with unwonted elation,

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CHINA HEIRLOOM

A jug with a serpentine handle –

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THE FIRST MASTER REMEMBERED (LA PIETA, ROME)

The crimson damask, deeper dyed

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VILLETTE REVISITED

We, too, have tried and, in succeeding, failed:

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TV, D.V.

The belt of Time encinctures history;

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SENTINELS

Dumb, the scarecrow leans,

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MICHAELMAS TERM BEGINS

Evening on Solent’s now indolent tide;

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COCKLETON LANE

It dips between the rising fields,

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IMPROMPTU TO ALAUDA A. A.

Ethereal bird, in rapture raising

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MURALS BY RENOIR

Aphrodites by the dozen –

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PORTRAITS IN THE PARK

19th Century

Along the walk Priscilla poses

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THE ODYSSEY UNREAD

Deckle-edged, twelve decades old, the pages lie,

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PRIVATE VIEW (Ryde Gallery, 1977)

Form and colour, challenging

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WRITING ON THE WALL

No gunfire fills the air with awe-inspiring sound.

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ST BONIFACE DOWN

Within its shadow, it is said,

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VIEW FROM NORTHWOOD PARK

It was not wise to sit and face,

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EVENING ON GURNARD MARSH

A sluice-gate bridge, a June-calm sea,

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FOOTPATH

‘The Stiles’ we called that narrow way

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NORTHWOOD CRICKET CLUB

Refusal to admit my limitations was absurd

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NORTHWOOD GUN-SITE

The wind athwart the marsh is cold,

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CALLISTO AT NUNWELL HOUSE

By Nunwell’s limpid pool she broods,

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RELIEF ROAD THROUGH SHAMBLER’S COPSE

The logs, a wayside pile, lie stripped,

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THE COMMODORE’S HOUSE, COWES

Since William Three and Mary reigned,

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COWES WEEK (CIRCA 1925)

At ease in basket-chairs, red cushioned, set

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COWES WEEK (CIRCA 1939)

The scene of garb grotesque and odd attire,

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OFF-SEA BREEZE

The wind athwart the marsh is cold,

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COMPTON WYNYATES

The warmth-absorbing brickwork throws

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THREE-PART FORFEIT

It was one of those games in which forfeits are paid,

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BRIDGE OVER THE ITCHEN

Learning I’d not seen the bridge, my driver

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AUTUMN AFTERNOON

There was goose-talk behind the hedge,

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THE WORD

Predestined by a current trend,

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AEGOSPOTAMI

Seize and tow the triremes!

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AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION (Royal Court Theatre, 1965)

To lowest yet, abysmal depth,

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CHAPTER’S END (1923)

Home-proofed against December’s chill

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NOCTUARY

The night enfolds, emboldens me

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CINEMA INTO SUPERMARKET

A gaping hole in front;

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CHARACTER CHANGE

What folly is this in our High Street,

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GRAND CANYON

A mule and its master,

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A TRAIN PASSES

Along the highroad, looking down

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AUTHOR’S FRIEND

For the life that I lived by your kindness –

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LOCAL HAZARD (Cowes Week, 1969)

Acres of Terylene, flapping and filling,

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POSTER AND PASSENGER

The French Maid – quite so!

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TERMINAL

They enter, hearty clowns, and rip the hoop

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THE RED SHADOW SPEAKS

In spite of what cacophonists may say

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ON WINNING A CUP AT 61

Poised on ebon plinth,

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IN PRAISE OF RADIO

A quiet home, impoverished of sounds

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PRELUDE TO DEFEAT

When high on the Acropolis,

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THE LAST OF THE ‘WESTERNS’

The bar-keep ducks no more from flying lead,

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THE TALL SHIPS RACE 1972

I dreamt of tall ships sailing

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LEST THE TAPESTRY FADE

We loved him ere his shoulders

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PARTIR C’EST MOURIR

A vacant room: its fast-shut door

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THE TRAMP POET

He writes his poems out of doors,

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JESUS 1971

“We’ve in the studio a man,”

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THANK YOU, MISS DOLITTLE

‘Authentic’ – that’s the word

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SPLEEN

I’m like a dynast set in rain-curst ruth,

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THE BRIDLE PATH TO WENDENS AMBO

I shall not take the bridle path

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WEDDING RING (November 1973)

Mined in the Cymric hills,

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JUNIOR WANTS TO KNOW

A paradox at Christmas;

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PASSING OF YOUTH (A waterfront reverie)

What happiness my musings bring

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SUMMER OUT OF SEASON

There’s summer in old bathing trunks,

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THE BONNET

She wore an Army bonnet,

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GREENHOUSE BLUES

My cacti bloom in every room,

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WINTER BEAUTY

I think no more of winds that chill,

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SNOW SCENE

Burdened boughs in fear depending,

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SNOW SCENE (later version printed in Reflections)

Burdened boughs, white-weighted, bend,

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CONTRASTS

Youth in a painting,

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THE ANGLER

The sun is strong: his dexter side

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HOLIDAY ALTERNATIVE

A name, a lodestone charged and strong

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STEERING MARK

There’s a spot I know,

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INVITATION TO ADVENTURE

Who is game for a cruise in the old hard way,

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MORNING HYMN

Tho’ dark-winged evil stalked our world,

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RESIGNATION

Why chafe and sigh for bygone days

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THE SALON

Hushed the silken susurration –

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DUMPING GROUND

Winter-stripped, the elm has showered

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THE LOST PEOPLE

Ancient Mayan temples stand:

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JANUARY APPELLANT

O Golden Hero, glowing-targed and brave,

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EXILE FROM TRISTAN DA CUNHA

Now take me again to my island,

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MISTLETOE KISSES

Yvonne and Jean,

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FROM PRISON

From inside a prison wall I write;

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THE KING’S BIRTHDAY

Before the castle there, they stand

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MODERN TIMES, MR CHAPLIN!

When your daughter does the can-can,

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ANNIVERSARY

She eighty-nine: he ninety-three:

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FREIGHTER FROM CHINA

What bring you from the mystic East,

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POPPET AND PUPPET

“Walk,” says Linda. “You are slow,

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CLOVE ISLAND

Zanzibar, Zanzibar, scented with cloves,

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ESTERIFICATION

She called my nature highly hygroscopic,

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EXPERIENCE COUNTS

He has not left a ‘Palace’ job

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JUPITER PLUVIUS? NO – JUST RAIN

Through tear-streaked panes the landscape mourns,

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THE BABY-SITTER

At two his blond and curly hair

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PENELOPE ANN

Penelope Ann, Penelope Ann,

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UNRESERVED SEATS

Ma’s knitting has been dropped awhile,

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JAIPUR TREASURE

Environed in sunshine and despotism,

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OFF THE RECORD

I’m playing records – your request:

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SPACE MEN

A cosmonaut plans

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THE SEA AND I

The green is bruised in purple troughs,

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THE BENT ROD

The Greaser told the Fifth on watch,

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OAF LOAFING

I am bored, man, y’ see,

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LAGOON REFLECTION

There’s a cargo now to choose,

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BOUNDER IN SPRING

Up and down the path he frolics;

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MAY MOURNING

Ye men of Oxford, harken,

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L’HOMME ROUGE (Henri de Lespinasse de Bournazel)

Riffs, by Allah’s law abiding,

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PUNCH AND JUDO

The children, faces upturned, stand

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MATHEMATICAL MATTERS

If you’re hoping to plan your own rocket emprise,

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SIESTA

Deck-chair low-notched, now lunch-full I lie,

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HUNTING CROPPER

Hard riding-women, and hard-riding men,

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LAST POST

Another poet, and still no line

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AN ODE TO REVEALED CHARM

When tenderly your hands displace,

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THE QUEEN’S WAY

Leave Quebec with thoughts of Wolfe,

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TO ANN MELHUISH in “The Bartered Bride”

Danced she not as one who dances

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THE SEARCH

The you whose lips I press,

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THE MIRAGE

A mirage thou, amidst the sands of thought,

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A SCEPTIC AT CHRISTMAS

I hear the bells chime Noel through the night,

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NILE SCENE

In the aqueous depths of the far-flooding Nile,

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A MASQUE

From lucubration’s futile toil,

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THE ‘CAT’

It’s easy to talk about Justice,

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ARCHAEOLOGY IN THE ISLAND 1

We well may envy those who gaze

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TO DISCOVERED GENIUS

Sing on, O voice, thy notes inspire

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TYRIAEUM REVIEW

Hear the light-armed chanting,

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PHEIDIAS

On high the bronze Athene rears

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EMANCIPATION

Extract from life what joy you may,

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SONNET TO X

Within the boundless range of poet’s pen,

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THE AMARANTH

Spicy carnations of scarlet and cream,

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‘EAVIES (1914-1918)

When the dugout air’s made thick

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THE FLOATING BRIDGE

Do you never hear the call of the sea?

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THE KNIGHT OF THE BLUE BOAR

Inhaling perfumed evening air,

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IDYLL

Come, leave the tomes of stern finance

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FESTIVAL

Bid maidens fair bring rarest wine,

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AT THE CINEMA (an impression of Vaudeville)

In garish scenes to rhythmic sounds,

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REFLECTION

My thoughts of you are as the wing

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IN LIGHTER VEIN

When in fullness of time, by the Nation’s decrees,

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TO JEANETTE MACDONALD in “Bitter Sweet”

O bright-hued phantom, allied to a voice,

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TO ANNA

May the roses of virtue which bloom

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PASTORAL

I saw the laden hay-fork swing

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TO GEORGIANA (CIRCA 1775) (A translation from the French)

Enchantress, condescend to tell,

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BALLERINA (A tribute to Moira Shearer in “Red Shoes”)

O dance, and let thy steps create,

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AUTOGRAPH

Shall I aspire to reach the light,

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THE THREE WISHES

Whilst in a twilight reverie,

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CAPTIVES CONGENIAL

Virginia’s creation,

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TO SONG’S ENCHANTMENT (A tribute to Gwen Catley)

I sat enthralled, your voice arose,

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THE FIRST VISIT OF THE ‘QUEEN MARY’, 1936

About three hundred years ago

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MOONBEAMS ON THE LAKE

Gliding on moonbeams, the fairy feet,

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COURAGE

From the Conquest comes our culture,

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TO JAMES MASON

Mourn not actors passed away,

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THE DORMANT SPIRIT

I see the Sun triumphant rise,

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PORTRAIT OF A PROUD LADY

Thy gown, enchanting as the night,

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TO AN AMANUENSIS

Pleasing to the eye that comely form,

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THE VICTIM

What shameful deeds they perpetrate,

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THE FORBIDDEN KISS

A sacrifice at pagan shrine,

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WHEN DIANA SINGS (A TRIBUTE to GWEN CATLEY in ‘THE ELIXIR OF LOVE’)

O can it be that mortal voice,

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PRODUCTION

Thoughts of bonus set them smiling

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THE PENMEN

O would I’d been to Eton,

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ANTIDOTE FOR ENNUI

Sigh not if life withholds those things

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TO B.L.D.

Accept these lines at random penned,

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WARNING

Heed not the drum’s inspiring note,

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THE CUTTY SARK

No more will wind-torn spray ascend,

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TO AN ESTIMATOR

Set high above on egotism’s pinnacle,

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A TRAGEDY IN SPACE

Aeons ago at flowing Time’s far source,

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LINES WRITTEN DURING THE PORTSMOUTH-TO-JOHANNESBURG AIR RACE 1936

From the Portsmouth ’drome in the dawn’s first light,

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THE ABDICATION OF EDWARD THE EIGHTH

If all the world is just a stage,

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TO ETON

Tranquil Eton, midst thy lasting calm;

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TO BERYL AT SEVENTEEN

At seventeen you symbolize

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VICTORIAN HARVEST

The corn is cut: its bounty spread

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ONE COLD CHRISTMAS EVE

There was music and laughter

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UNTO THE LEAST (Christmas 1920)

’Twas five and eighty years ago

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LIFE CLASS FOR AMATEURS

The urge to move, to scratch, becomes

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MISS MAKE-BELIEVE

That young and Eastern princess there,

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OLD AGE ASLEEP

Let him sleep, the day

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LETTER FROM M.T.S. ODYSSEUS

Your letter written while at sea

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A-HUNTING LET THEM GO

Clip-clop. Clip-clop.

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CLIPPER SHIP

Setting a record she cleaves the rough water,

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LINDA SWINGS

Busy the swing in describing its arc,

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RUSTIC SEAT

Two sturdy tree-trunk legs

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EMBROIDERED BOX

Inspired by love, it stands unique,

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THE LAUGHING CAVALIER

Is it humour or disdain

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BREAK UP

Not a kiss on the lips

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GOOD-NIGHT: OR PRELUDE TO ADVENTURE? (circa 1908)

Big Ben, long past the midnight hour,

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FALL FROM THE HIGH-WIRE (Sketch by E. J. Lewis 1863)

Poised high above the trapeze,

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END OF DAY

The hottest of this July’s days

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FOUR O’CLOCK DEPARTURE

A window frames the upper

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THE ROSE BOWER (Painted by Sir Edward Burne-Jones)

Aurora lies asleep, amid

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ON THE SPREE

Zechariah Jones, strolling up and down,

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MURAL BY AUGUSTE RENOIR

An Aphrodite generous in anatomical display

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MIDNIGHT PAS DE DEUX (CIRCA 1900)

The curtain has fallen, the house lights extinguished,

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VILLETTE REMEMBERED

We too have hoped and had our day-dreams

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PAX ROMANA

Across the road, where once in meadowland

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ILLUSTRATION BY MUCHA

Dream-created damozel,

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KITCHEN SCENE (BALI)

Chewing her betel, and bare to the waist,

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TIBETAN PRAYER WHEELS

Pass the wall, friend, on the left,

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FIGUREHEAD: A LION RAMPANT

Quaintest names, at least a score,

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J.S. – CAPTIVE

I guard no moat-infested gate,

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AESTHETES’ CHOICE

Examine golden trinkets from Mycenae,

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PERSIAN FRAGMENT

Tea? A final glass, and then a deal to settle:

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MODEL WITH LION

Hispanicized she stands:

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MARRIED MEN’S MECCA

When a man gets married

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APOCALYPSE PENDING

In this life, where in the slips

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THE WISER CHOICE

Our greatest Empire poet said

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DECLINE WITNESSED

In this life we daily see

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OPEN THOU OUR EYES

At Christmas, open Thou our eyes

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MARY TRANSFORMED

How oft did artists try and fail,

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DICKENSIAN CHRISTMAS EVE

Punch bowls on the table steaming,

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PIERROT IN PENSIVE MOOD

Contemplative by casement seated,

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THE PRICE

We note it in their reticence,

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THE VETERAN

Unseen out on an astral plain

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THE AFTERMATH

Back in the Roman barracks

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ST CATHERINE’S DOWN

The final stage, when tackled from the west,

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TEMPLE

Pseudo-Greek, superbly placed,

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MIDNIGHT SERVICE (CAROL)

North the wind that slows our progress

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MEDINA BASIN

An elongated skyscape fills with cumuli,

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TOPSAIL SCHOONER

Gamboge masts rear high and domineer

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AMIDST THE LOWING KINE

Housed amidst the lowing kine,

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ARTEFACT FROM BOWCOMBE

Of archaeology I sing, November excavation and

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SKETCHING ON ASHEY DOWN

From obeliscal shade the artist views

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CHRISTMAS PLEA

Bedded tho’ Thou art in straw,

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NORTHWOOD BRICKYARD RE-VISITED

Incorporal, decolourised,

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LOOKING TOWARDS LEPE

How near the forest seems today,

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HYPNOTIC AFTERNOON

The day was dream-like in perfection –

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R.Y.S. REGATTA

Viewed as a series of geometric patterns,

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LUMINOUS MORNING

Magic morn, a country lane,

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MARITIME MEMORIES

Cerulean blue, the Solent lies

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FIRST COMMODORE

Allowing for the fact that memoirs often tend

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MAY 1942

A perfect sunset paints the sky

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CRUCIFIXION

The scene as oft depicted

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FIESTA AT FIRESTONE COPSE

Had Autumn incandesced, its leaves

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WRITING ON THE WALL

No gunfire fills the air with awe-inspiring sound.

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HARVEST (circa 1900)

Balletic in their rhythmic swing

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SACRED SEAMARK

A white plane hides the weathered stone –

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AIR-RAID, MAY 1942

Hot were the guns that night,

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HARVEST METAPHOR

If at harvest time you’ve found

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BY THE TOWN QUAY

Epitome of summer, gracefully she rides,

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ARCHAEOLOGY IN THE ISLAND 2

We well may envy those who gaze

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NAMMET TIME (Circa 1890)

’Tis nammet time, the reapers rest

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ARTHUR COTTAGE RENOVATED

The swing has gone, but I, whose links

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EASTERS LONG AGO

I remember, oh so well,

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THE HOUNDS OF CRIDMORE

Adders in abundance: phantom hounds that

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DISTANT VIEW OF OSBORNE HOUSE

Italian square-topped towers rise above

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CHRISTMAS CHRONOLOGY

No stellar miracle that night,

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OCTOBER AFTERNOON

There was goose-talk behind the hedge,

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FLORA RESTORED

Your temple, we are told, was near

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CHRISTMAS REPRODUCTION

The fifth ‘Old Master’ – one more card

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TRIAL BY THE SANHEDRIN

Crowded to capacity the columned hall

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SUNSET OVER PARKHURST FOREST

A collar-up and scarf-to-chin day:

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ON PRINCE’S GREEN

She left the beach to play

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PENTECOST

Throughout the ages learned men

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WIZARD PRANG

“What did you do today, my boy,

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RITE OF SPRING

Now once again the Spring we see,

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LAID UP

Does she never hear the oceans call,

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LEE-RAIL AWASH

Lee-rail awash, and a full gale now taking her

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DECLINED INVITATION

“Elope with me,” you said, “and sail

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VAINLY WE STRIVE (A Rondeau)

Vainly we strive if star-crossed we were born,

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LARWOOD’S LEGACY

As long as cricket still is played

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GLOWING EMBERS

How elegant you were! Your legs

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A LANDLUBBER’S WAY TO FRANCE

No more a vessel’s yeasty wake

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ORESTEIA

Expressionless, the painted masks

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LE SPECTRE DE LA ROSE

Dream on, fair maid –

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FARM-HAND (circa 1900)

I bain’t no zort uv zcholar,

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JOHN RUSKIN REVIVIFIED

Saint Ursula asleep – precisely plied

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POEMS OR PERISPOMENONS

When Muses tug-of-war essay

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CANDIDA

I lay relaxed, my mind attuned

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GENIUS INTO JOKER

No longer does he synthesise

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PLEA

Say no wanton word –

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EVENING ON VICTORIA PIER (Circa 1924)

Above Ytene the setting sun

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MAXIE, R.N. RETIRED

They said he drank enough for three,

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ART AND ASININITY

Profoundly moved I looked upon

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INVITATION TO A WALTZ

“They play a waltz! Who now at leisure

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