Daft Old Hills

Back Monday afternoon from a very blustery, wet weekend in the Lakes (Derwent Water, near Keswick). A surprising number of folk did not let the weather put them off, and like ourselves, braved Cat Bells on Sunday to get the views from the ridge top, clinging on when we emerged from the lee side of the hill into the (dis)-gusting winds. There was an age range represented of over 70 years, from myself to a baby snuggled (?) in a papoose carrier. So, that’s from a bit too old to very much too young!

The previous day we had walked/sloshed/waded near Castlerigg stone circle, Keswick’s mini-Stonehenge, leading me to write a Lakeland lament.

Daft Old Hills

Our walking weekend’s always been tried and trusted,

but not anymore, ‘cos my glasses have rusted.

We’ve tramped and we’ve trudged whilst the hill sheep all sheltered

and the wind lashed the trees and down the rain pelted.

We’ve squished and we’ve squelched and we’ve queued up for stiles

and repressed the impulse to ask, “How many miles

before we get back to HF’s haven and showers,

though there’s basil in the gin and it’s a bit Fawlty Towers?”

My specs don’t have wipers, so the views were all blurred

and without hearing aids, all the chat went unheard.

In St. John’s-in-the-Vale, we ate lunch and were warm.

Well, what’s that old saying? “Any porch in a storm!”

Please don’t get the impression I’ve not had a good time.

I’m a natural moaner, especially in rhyme.

Our walk leaders were brilliant, that’s Colin and Rose.

No-one got lost, no-one drowned and few came to blows.

Morale stayed quite high. There was real esprit-de corps.

If the sun shows its face, we’ll be back out for more.

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National Poetry Day: Freedom

Last Thursday, 28th. September was National Poetry Day with “Freedom” being this year’s theme. Four poems of mine sprang to mind which touch on this subject, albeit tangentially: “Resistance is Futile?” was posted here on  January 6th., 2016; and the other 3 happen to be about seabirds or our hamster, Bev. “Seascape with Gulls” is in the “Eric Bloodaxe? And Other Verse” collection; and the two others are “Beverage Almond  Gnawwood Cleansetail”; and “Barnacle Geese: On a Wing and a Prayer”,  juxtaposed by chance in “Seconds Out”.

NB. I should mention that Bev was Hugo’s hamster and the name derives loosely from his impressive moniker (Hugo Armand Norwood Kensdale).

Beverage Almond Gnawwood Cleansetail

Our hamster’s in an awful rage.

She sits and fumes inside her cage.

She thinks this time we’ve gone too far,

our furry prisoner at the bar.

 

For every evening on the dot,

she exercises on the plot

comprised of landing, hall and stairs,

pausing to groom beneath the chairs.

 

It’s then she leaves her fur-lined nest

(about the time we get undressed)

her ears erect, her nose a-twitch,

(but first to soothe that nagging itch).

 

From time to time, we have a scare.

We glance away. She isn’t there.

For hours we scour the kitchen round,

anxious for the slightest sound.

 

If, like tonight, we are not there,

she’ll stare and think or simply stare,

or pull and tug her tatty cover,

yearn wistfully for hamster lover.

 

Some days she doesn’t sleep too well.

We’re noisy neighbours sent from Hell,

diurnal strange insomniacs

who wait for night-time to relax.

 

A self-respecting vertebrate

knows when it’s time to activate

once sun has dipped and darkness falls

and shadows steal along the walls.

 

By day she dreams a cunning plan

for Rodent victory over Man :

draw up petition which with paw would

be marked Cleansetail, Beverage Gnawwood ;

 

or (unhinged, alone and barmy)

Hamster Liberation Army,

with Foxy beret à la Che

or balaclava (IRA)

 

sit on haunches, raise clenched paw:

Today the hall. Tonight the door.

Tomorrow, so her reasoning goes,

… a noise disturbs rebellious doze…

 

… go placard-waving down the street :

“GIVE EVERY HAMSTER MORE TO EAT.”

“LET’S TURN THE TABLES, NOT THE WHEEL.”

“MINIMUM CHOW IS ONE SQUARE MEAL.”

 

“WE WON’T WAIT FOR EVOLUTION.

THE PET SHOP GIRLS WANT REVOLUTION.”

“STOP CHANGING CAGES TWICE A WEEK.

A LIBERTY ? A BLOODY CHEEK.”

 

But then again, all snug and warm,

she sees the case for slow reform

and, as she slips back into trance,

decides to give us one more chance.