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Sunday, 29 November 2015

Insomnious Rambling

To make this post a little different, I will here and there add applicable verse, though I will be taking liberties at times choosing verse to match the narrative! I will not name the author of  each verse, I wonder how many you can get?

I took to my bed early, but my usual insomnia coupled with a cough now in its twelfth week kept me from sleeping, so getting up and heading out for a night time walk seemed a good idea.
The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea
The plowman homeward plods his weary way
And leaves the world to darkness and to me
 
I take the path into the churchyard
 
Then not sure which path to take, I decided on this one
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair.
 
In the undergrowth I spotted someone sleeping, and wary of using the flash in case I aroused him or her from their slumbers, I struggled to take a photograph. I had to tinker with it on the computer to come up with this rather poor pic. I don't know where the lights came from, they were not there when I took the pic. 
What if you slept
And what if
In your sleep
You dreamed
And what if
In your dream
You went to heaven
And there picked a beautiful flower
And what if
When you awoke
You had that flower in your hand
Ah, what then?
 
A dog sat by the sleeping person, again I took a rather poor photo due to lack of light.
And a dreadful thing from the cliff did spring
And its wild bark thrilled around
His eyes had the glow of the fires below
Twas the form of the Spectre Hound
 
I have a wander around God's Acre
 
As I pass the church, the security light automatically turns on
I make my way out of the churchyard, leaving the rough sleeper and the more permanent occupiers of the graveyard to their slumbers.
Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade,
Where heaves the turf  in many a mould'ring heap,
Each in narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
 
On reaching the road, I watch a somewhat inebriated man walked into the gin saloon sign - and then apologise to it!
Ho! Ho! Ho To the bottle I go
To heal my heart and drown my woe.
 
I decide to head for quieter parts, a twenty minute walk finds me on the track leading to the river. I am mindful that several muggings have taken place recently in this area, but surely all self respecting muggers will be safely tucked up in bed by now!
 
It was under this bridge that a woman's body was pulled out of the river. The poor woman could not cope with her troubled mind, she ended things in this river. Very, very sad.
The bleak wind of March made her tremble and shiver;
But not the dark arch, or the black flowing river;
Mad from life's history, glad to death's mystery,
Swift to be hurl'd - anywhere, anywhere out of this world. 
 
The lockkeepers cottage looks pretty with its welcoming lights
 
 
As I pass by the boats at their moorings, I hope the camera flash will not wake the river dwellers from their sleep. The only noise is the low hum of a boats generator, someone is quite literarily burning the midnight oil!
 
In the dark my eyesight is not so good, neither is my balance, I trip over one these mooring ropes and nearly end up in the river
 
I think it prudent to leave the river (after nearly drowning in my youth, I never did learn to swim). Just then I notice a boat making way slowly down the river, there are lights on the boat, but no red navigation light showing from the port side as there should be when the boat is under way. The story of the Mary Celeste comes into my mind!
I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky.
(Where this boat will end up if it keeps drifting)
 
I climb a fence and find myself in a wood, I find my way through the trees and the undergrowth and end up in a field.
 
 In the dark I hear something coming towards me, he turns out to be friendly and lets me scratch his head.
I've never seen a purple cow,
I never hope to see one,
but I can tell you anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one!
(I did say at the beginning that I would be taking liberties linking verse to narrative!)
 
Time to move on, I take the long walk into town. On the outskirts, food is still being served at 4.45am
 
I pass this pretty Christmas tree
 
Town is nearly deserted
 
 
Due to the poor photo, I was in two minds as to if I should include it in my blog. I was touched so deeply by this girl, that I feel compelled to use it here. The young woman is homeless, all her possessions are in the bags she has with her. I give her some money for her breakfast. A woman living on the streets is especially vulnerable - her dogs will protect her. 
Draped in a blind cloak of tomorrows sorrow,
The invisible Homeless,
Dead to the world, left to soak, beg and borrow,
The invisible Homeless
Skeletal, yet boneless,
The invisible Homeless,
Floating by, weightless, invisible Homeless
 
With a heavy heart I move on. I wander round the side streets deep in thought
 
It is along one of these streets I pass the oldest pub in Oxford
When chapmen billies leave the street,
And drouthy neibors, neibors meet,
As market days are wearing late,
An' folk begin to tak the gate;
While we sit bousing at the nappy,
getting fou and unco happy,
We think na on the long Scots miles,
The mosses, waters, slaps and styles,
That lie between us and our hame,
Where sits our sulky sullen dame,
gathering her brows like gathering storm,
Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.
Tam O' Shanter is a fantastic poem about what happened to a soul who had drunk too much, and what befell him on his horse ride home. It is worth reading the complete poem. I had to learn the complete poem as a thirteen year old  attending an Edinburgh school.
 
At the coach station, the London coach waits for early passengers
 
I start walking home and see an offer almost too good to ignore
 
Half way home and I see blue flashing lights. A fireman tells me that burnt toast had set a smoke alarm off - a false alarm
 
Dawn
And down the long and silent street,
The dawn with silver-sandaled feet,
Crept like a frightened girl.
 
Whilst on my walk I watched two drug deals going down, and passed a lady of the night plying her trade. I thought it best not to photograph either - though I was tempted!
 
As I come to the end of this posting, I hear the wind howling and the rain pelting against the window, and I cannot help but think of those sleeping rough, of the people on the street with no home to give them shelter on a night such as this. I say a silent prayer for them.
My mind drifts back many years, to a time when I for a while I slept rough with no home.
 
So, we'll go no more a roving
So late in the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,
And the moon still be as bright.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 



8 comments:

Marie Smith said...

I am intrigued and saddened by this post. The poems were great, I only knew three and should have know Tolkien. I was intrigued enough to look up the others, all so well selected. You know your poetry.

The young woman on the street like that is heart breaking as is the man in the graveyard. We have so many homeless already and now there are many refugees looking for homes too. I don't know what the solution is but I wish there was one. The dogs with both people were good to help keep them safe but they have to be fed as well.

Your night adventure was potentially dangerous. I would never do such a thing. Do you think you would venture out again? How did the adventure affect you?

Marie

sousca said...

Well Marie, I have been around people with problems such as alcoholism, drug addiction and mental illnesses on and off for many years. But some people end up homeless through bad luck and in some instances turn to drugs to help them cope.
I often go for night walks, but never feel overly worried about my safety, though I am fairly street wise.
When I was younger things did not affect me so much, but as I get older things do affect me, such as when I met the homeless girl. But as I say, I am used to mixing with all sorts of people, so in a way I am used to it.

Marie Smith said...

i often wonder about all the students I had over the years. What became of them? Are any homeless? They didn't begin with that prospect in mind for sure. That is the way for all of them I guess. Addiction is a huge problem here and mental illness is so misunderstood.

The poetry was great. Loved the challenge of this post on many levels.

sousca said...

I also wonder what has happened to people I have known in the past, more so with those I have only known briefly, perhaps people I have met whilst traveling about, people who have helped me, or I have helped them.
As for poetry, I have loved it from being a young child and indeed still do.
You mention students, did you teach?

Marie Smith said...

I was an educator for thirty years, in various capacities. The last few years were tough when I didn't have the same energy level as when I was young. I loved the work though and was glad for the opportunity to work with young people.

Tess Johnson said...

It looks like a most interesting walk, not one I would attempt.
Imagine if it had turned out be a bull in the field!

sousca said...

As it approached me I was hoping it would not turn out to be a bull, or that if it was a bull it would not be a cross bull! But it wasn't a bull and it let me scratch it's head.

Shammickite said...

If I'm having trouble sleeping, I'm more likely to get up and read a book, or answer emails, or maybe even wash the kitchen floor or clean the oven, but I wouldn't attempt to walk through the local graveyard! You are braver than me. The homeless girl made me very sad. She was once a little baby, loved by a mum and a dad, how did she get to this point in life? Her dog is very important to her.... for security and for companionship and for love.