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Thread: Poetry and Creative writing

  1. #61
    Senior Member dazza's Avatar
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    A prize on the docks.


    Kitty's Amelia, a cable fastened to the quayside,
    A rope, rough-fibred, and arched to a mooring post,
    The strain 'eaved through the yellow stone copings,
    golden they sat regally over the dock's kiln-fired bricks,

    Factory mills spun cotton shirts for African princes,
    glass beads, cuttlasses, fine wines, spirits and guns,
    Weeks of provisioning, water line rising over copper,
    Commodities themselves innocent until next port,

    Sun sets starboard, misery beyond the bow spirit,
    Inequitable imbalance, a market sale of humanity,
    White castles, white sands, white sails, black ivory,
    A dark, rolling prison, dusty shafts of light, stench,

    The passage, groaning, sickness, death, salt spray,
    The West Indies, a paradise, yes...but sadly lost,
    Fear the hold, tis a dreaded place, cargo for a cargo,
    Homeward bound, privateer's clear, profits in sight.





    [The Kitty's Amelia was the last slave ship to leave Liverpool on 27th July, 1807. She was also a 'prize ship' ie: captured by another. In this case by the ship Kitty. The Amelia was then renamed Kitty's Amelia as part of her new owners claim.]
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."... ... ... Mark Twain.

  2. #62
    Captain Kong captain kong's Avatar
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    Here is one I found in the magazine, Ships, author unknown.

    "I shall acknowledge old age
    when the call of the far wild seas
    no longer stir my blood.
    When I shall not see as a boy would see
    the beauty of a homeward bound ship
    harbouring on the flood.

    Only then will I sit in the lee of the Harbour wall
    conjuring up dreams from the River`s mist.
    Only then will I weep an old man`s tears
    for times that I have known,
    and for lips that I have left unkissed,

  3. #63
    Senior Member brian daley's Avatar
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    Dazza,

    Stunning,each word crafted wih lapidarian skill;a shining jewel of a poem with a very barbed message. I read this at an opportune moment;just started to read The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill. It opens with this clerihew by Jonathan Swift :-

    So geographers, in Afric maps,
    With savage-pictures fill their gaps;
    And o'er uninhabitable downs
    Place elephants for want of towns.
    --- Jonathan Swift
    BrianD

  4. #64
    Captain Kong captain kong's Avatar
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    Talking of Africa here is a poem about a young lady in Apapa Nigeria who some of us have actually met, Miss Tombo Mary.
    unfortunately I cant remebmer who wrote it


    On the coast of Africa where tourists never tour,

    The bar was Tombo Mary's where she ruled the roost all day,

    Customers were seafarers - keen to spend their pay.


    In this one-roomed shanty, with hard mud for a floor,

    (Palm fronds on the thatched roof and canvas for a door),

    Our black mama Mary - a wondrous female sight,

    Would choose a handy sailor for her carnal joys at night.


    Raised up on a dias just behind the bar,

    (The centre of attention from here to Calabar),

    Was a huge four poster bed with linen and fine lace,

    Imported from some far off land and taking pride of place.


    It`s where Mary held her lover-boy for a torrid night of fun.

    Piccaninnies and the bar staff - at the setting of the sun -

    Would sleep below this raft of love,with tassels hanging red,

    While the sailor did his duty - in Tombo Mary's bed.

  5. #65
    Senior Member dazza's Avatar
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    Thanks Brian, great encouragement. I haven't read Hill's The Book of Negroes yet. Another to add to my wish list of must read classics.

    I love Swift's first two lines:

    "So geographers, in Afric maps,
    With savage-pictures fill their gaps"


    ...which goes to prove that the greatest fears live in unchartered places.
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."... ... ... Mark Twain.

  6. #66
    Senior Member dazza's Avatar
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    Well done Ken, excellent work. I too was in the water after reading that. It has to be the greatest fear of most people - to die by drowning. And not only that...

    A black night, with icy waters, abandoned...what could be worse? And to think so many sailors must have suffered this fate.

    Thanks for posting,

    Daz
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."... ... ... Mark Twain.

  7. #67
    Captain Kong captain kong's Avatar
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    Another excellent poem, Ken.

    I experienced drowning once.

    We were in East London, in the Eastern Cape in South Africa in 1953 on the New Zealand Star.
    Sunday 13 December 1953. The Mission Man took us and some of the Mission girls to Bonza Bay for a picnic.
    Ken Hignet SOS aged 20,of Mill Cottage, 1, Mill Road, Birkenhead couldnt swim and got into difficulties with the strong current and was swept away. I went to assist him and we were both swept out to sea.
    The big Cape rollers got bigger and bigger,I was hanging on to him trying to get back to the beach, it was like being inside a washing machine, We were gulping water down and coughing our lungs up as we tried to surface before the next big sea hit us and forced us under again. It was a battle for survival, then Ken died and I lost his body, His last words were just "Help, Help, Help." then he was gone.The cramps started to go into my legs and then my arms, I was in a no survive situation as my vision started to go, just being swirled around in the raging sea.and then blackness.
    Meanwhile a South African lad, David Brinton had seen it happening and he swam out with a life buoy on a line, he got me and I was towed unconcious, back to the beach.they gave me some rescusitation and the mission man took me to hospital where I was put to bed to recover. I came out two days later and taken back to the ship, we sailed to Durban and then to New Zealand. I never knew who had saved my life. Ken was washed up five days later and buried in the East Cemetery in East London.
    48 years later as I was getting older I decided to find the lad who saved me to thank him before it was too late. In 2001, I went to East London to try and find him and also Kens grave. I found the grave, that was another experience, for a later date. he was there.
    I had asked to Salvation Army if they could help to trace David Brinton,
    When I got home The Salvation Army phoned me to say they had found him, He was living in Stranraer in Scotland after living in the Cape then Rhodesia and then Zimbabwe. Then one day the phone rang and it was Esther Rantzen of the BBC, TV, asking me to go on her show. So on 14 February, 2002, I went on the show at the TV Studio in London and she introduced me to David Brinton, what a wonderful feeling it was to be able to thank him after more than 48 years. We still keep in touch, what a brave lad he was.
    I wrote a poem about it, not very good but the best I could do.


    BONZA BAY.

    In December, 1953 on the New Zealand Star
    In East London we did stay
    but Ken Hignett and I
    didn`t know he would die
    on some beach called Bonza Bay.

    The story began
    when the Mission Man
    said he would take us away for the day
    so all of us went off on his bus
    to a beach called Bonza Bay

    When Ken jumped in
    he just couldn`t swim
    and the tide soon carried him away.
    Though I struggled and tried
    Ken drowned and then died
    near a beach called Bonza Bay

    Then I was seen on a wave
    by a lad named Dave
    who swam out to get me away
    and through struggle and strife
    that lad saved my life
    on a beach called Bonza Bay

    When Ken washed ashore
    his life was no more
    Five days since he got swept away
    and he lay all alone
    on the the sand and the stone
    on a beach called Bonza Bay

    So they buried Ken in a Sailors grave
    at a place where the palm trees sway,
    on a foreign strand
    in a far off land
    near a beach called Bonza Bay

    It`s been 50 years
    since the grief and the tears
    and in the time that I was away
    I found Ken`s Grave
    and the man named Dave
    near a beach called Bonza Bay
    .


    1, The Rescue, 2, Ken`s grave in East London 2001. and 3, Ken, Me and below Mo Riley AB. 7 days before on Sunday 6 December 1953 in Cape Town.
    Attached Thumbnails


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  8. #68
    Senior Member dazza's Avatar
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    What a traumatic experience to have lived through Brian. You're lucky to come out of the other side of it, thanks to your rescuer. Something like this, I imagine, must change your life, or at least make you question your life's purpose? It was good that you got an opportunity to see his grave in East London and pay your respects.

    Thanks for the poem and photos.

    Daz
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."... ... ... Mark Twain.

  9. #69
    Senior Member Samsette's Avatar
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    Terrific, Ken. I am glad I decided to check in again. I will hang around a little longer (with Father Time's cooperation.)

  10. #70
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    Poem...`Heed me boy` !


    Heed me boy !

    Here`s a boy, face full of hope,
    first time away to a sea.
    Eyes shining with wonder and pride,
    heart bursting with ecstacy.

    Home far behind, folks out of mind,
    since this ship sailed away from a quay.
    Head filled up with a great wide world,
    eyes filled up with a sea.

    Look hard boy, take it all in,
    dream while you have the chance.
    Before you`re through with this sea of yours,
    she`ll lead you a merry dance.

    Gaze at your far horizons,
    feel like a lord of the earth.
    Before you`re done, this sea you crave,
    will make you prove your worth.

    See your visions, dream your dreams,
    feel high and free and fine.
    Steer your ship `cross oceans wide,
    take her `across a line`.

    But heed me boy and know for sure,
    you will not dream for long.
    This sea you`re on has varied ways,
    and can sing many a different song.

    Just now she`s quiet and gentle,
    and weaves around you her spell.
    But give her time, she`ll change her tune,
    and you`ll think you`ve arrived at Hell.

    Wait for shrieking storm and raging sea`s,
    wait for tumult all around.
    A violent heaving pitching world,
    mind battered with thunderous sound.

    Wait `till you`re picked up by a sea
    and carried hard against a rail.
    Or swept struggling along a heaving deck,
    when all your efforts fail.

    Wait `till you know touch of scorching steel,
    wait `till you feel searing cold.
    There`ll be times when you melt in sweltering heat,
    and times when the ice takes hold.

    You`ll taste fear, you`ll know despair,
    you`ll feel you`re on your own.
    A lonely speck upon an endless sea,
    a boy far away from home.

    See your visions, dream your dreams,
    take it easy while you can.
    Take a long hard look at this sea of yours,
    for she`ll make a boy a man.

    So heed me boy, listen hard,
    and take in what I say.
    Know for sure these things will come,
    so dream now whilst you may.


    Copyright !

  11. #71
    Captain Kong captain kong's Avatar
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    Excellent, that says it as it is, very true.
    Thanks for the memory.

  12. #72
    Newbie Brian Okie's Avatar
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    Brian Jacques:

    Once upon a time, back in those sweltering days before the flood
    When children's ideas of fun and games were shaped by Hollywood
    A ragged band of Cowboys and Indians crossed the great divide
    From Lambeth Road they swaggered and strode and soon were safe inside
    Stanley Park, the home of bowling greens, orderly gardens, lakes and ducks and mud
    A young boy stood and looked up at the red sandstone wall
    And from somewhere far away a siren voice began to call
    A world of creatures great and small began to form in his imagination
    An artist's palette of colours gave him an inspiration
    And a talent to amuse and educate became his life's vocation

    I wrote this for my old friend 'Jake' a few years back. Cheers, Brian Okie

  13. #73
    Senior Member lindylou's Avatar
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    Thanks for your post. It's a very nice poem.

    Brian Jacques is missed.

  14. #74
    Senior Member ChrisGeorge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Okie View Post
    Brian Jacques:

    Once upon a time, back in those sweltering days before the flood
    When children's ideas of fun and games were shaped by Hollywood
    A ragged band of Cowboys and Indians crossed the great divide
    From Lambeth Road they swaggered and strode and soon were safe inside
    Stanley Park, the home of bowling greens, orderly gardens, lakes and ducks and mud
    A young boy stood and looked up at the red sandstone wall
    And from somewhere far away a siren voice began to call
    A world of creatures great and small began to form in his imagination
    An artist's palette of colours gave him an inspiration
    And a talent to amuse and educate became his life's vocation

    I wrote this for my old friend 'Jake' a few years back. Cheers, Brian Okie
    Very nice, Brian. Thanks for sharing this with us. Brian Jacques is new to me as a writer. I am glad to learn about him and his writing.

    Chris
    Christopher T. George
    Editor, Ripperologist
    Editor, Loch Raven Review
    http://christophertgeorge.blogspot.com/
    Chris on Flickr and on MySpace

  15. #75
    Newbie Brian Okie's Avatar
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    Thanks lindylou and Chris. Here's another one:

    Fate:

    My dad came to Liverpool when he was just a lad
    On the boat from Ireland escaping from what was bad
    So it's him I have to thank for all I am today
    But still the nagging doubt remains
    That I'd have been a Yank if he'd sailed the other way....

  16. #76
    Senior Member lindylou's Avatar
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    Brian Jacques was a great Liverpool character - very entertaining to listen to him when he was on the radio every Sunday afternoon. He loved music as well as the written word, he had typical Liverpool wit. He used to visit schools for readings and poetry sessions. A really nice man.
    As I say, he is greatly missed.


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