Saturday, 9 September 2017

For In That Sleep...

...of death, what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil
Must give us pause - there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.

Those lines are from the famous 'To be or not to be' soliloquy as spoken by the famous Hamlet in the play written by the famous Shakespeare of course. More of which later.

First, I want to tell you about Thursday evening, because a funny thing happened on the way to the Dead Good Poets open mic night. We arrived at the venue (a very pleasant bar in Lytham St Annes that has been our regular haunt for some several months) only to find it all shut up and with a sign saying 'closed due to illness'. There had been no fore-warning, which in these days of global connectivity was a bit of a surprise. Hurried mobile phone calls to the owners bounced straight through to a message box. A bunch (a declamation? is there a collective noun?) of disconsolate poets and their entourages milled unhappily on the pavement outside. Expectation and disappointment mingled in the air; plus, it was turning cold and wet. What to do?

Fortunately for us, a nearby Greek taverna was experiencing something of a quiet Thursday evening and we cajoled them into giving us a performance space in the back half room of their restaurant, in return for our trade (much Mythos, Demestica and meze was consumed). Poetry At The Greek, of necessity, was different from anything we've done before - interesting to perform with the strains of bouzouki music in the background - but a great time was had by all and a huge thank you goes to the staff of Flame Greek Taverna for being so accommodating. Flame is well worth a visit, good people, even when there is no poetry on the menu. By a spooky slice of serendipity, Adele and I are off to Kos next week for some mid-September Mediterranean sun, so this was an excellent taster.

Back on theme with a bump, Hamlet's dilemma (good Greek word) about whether or not to commit suicide hinged partly on his fear about what form a possible afterlife (if any) might take, the worry being that it might be worse than the life he was living; (i.e. Hell might welcome one who took his own life).

Many of the world's major civilizations and religions have propounded the belief that death on this earthly, temporal plane is not the end. The Egyptians believed in reincarnation as do Buddhists; the Greeks in recycling (with memory wiped clean), Christians in Heaven and Hell (and resurrection). You know all this stuff and I'm no authority on the subject, so I won't tread on ground I'm not sure of.

Suffice it to say that no one knows for certain what may befall hereafter, if anything. Many believe and as many are sceptical. My own father, a devoutly religious man, told me when he was dying that he had no fear of death as he looked forward to meeting his God and being reunited with my mother (who had died nearly 20 years earlier). I was happy for him in his unwavering conviction. I'm sure it gave him strength to face that particular rite of passage; I'm not sure my mother would have been so happy (because of the snoring - but that's another story).

Accounts from 'flatliners', those who have 'died' for some minutes and been resuscitated, often retell an experience of going down a dark tunnel towards a bright light, but clinical evidence suggests it is an entirely temporal, physiological manifestation, an effect of the brain shutting down as it is starved of oxygen. If you know me, or have been reading the blogs for any length of time, you could probably hazard a guess that I would hazard a guess that once the spark of life has died there is nothing left of us or for us as entities. Our metaphorical sleep is of necessity a dreamless one.

I didn't feel inclined to write a poem on the subject of death/afterlife but I do have one about the living dream state of sleeping beauty (in what I assume must have been a coma), inspired by this rather fine painting.



Sleeping Beauty
She's going through a bad spell,
Sweet Cicely,
Bewitched, benumbed, benighted
Beside a brackish inky stream
Upon a bed of crushed spring flowers
Deep in the haunted dell
Of thwarted desire.

Who'd be a Sorcerer's daughter?
Such a thankless lot.

Sweet Cicely promised her heart
To one of whom her father disapproved.
She chose defiance and lost.
Angry magic has her in remorseless grip,
Immobilised; the retribution
Of parental ire for wishes crossed.

Such unnatural cruelty
Visited upon a favourite daughter
Might be expected to abate in short order
Excepting this:

For in that sleep her dreams are still of love
Of the bold soul who'll have the power
To break sorcery's rigid hold
And free her from the tyranny
Of comatose repose
Upon the forest floor
Before the rotting leaves of autumn
And harsh winter frosts
Blight this golden flower.

As an aural bonus, not so much an inspiration, more a complement, here's a beautiful Jimi Hendrix song born out of a dream. Play it loud: One Rainy Wish

Thanks for reading. Have yourselves a good couple of weeks, S ;-)

Friday, 8 September 2017

What Dreams Are Made Of

Good evening. Well, I've taken all day to come up with some ideas for this week. If truth be told it's the first opportunity I've had to sit and reflect, as once more my life is topsy turvy. I have few days to myself, and those are packed full and pretty hectic.

I have vivid dreams every night. Sometimes I remember those dreams and other times they've disappeared into the ether. I often awaken feeling weary because of the depth and intensity of my night time 'sojourns '. At least twice a month I awaken with tears in my eyes because of the reality of my dreams. So I have to cast these depressing thoughts aside. Sensible really, for as the days progress I forget that which upset me.

It's strange that sometimes I return to school or college days...."Help, I haven't done my homework!" What a nightmare! My parents often feature too. They remain young and active .I am a child again.   My favourite dreams are in colour, often featuring flying. So that must be why I so enjoy flying and would like to participate in other ' flying'  type sports.

In my dreams I am skating again. I'm jumping, spinning, gliding...and it feels so good...free, exhilarating and perfect!


At one time I'd write down what occurred in my dreams..but not any more. Sometimes I have marvellous ideas ...like inventions. Now I often do recall these. They say " Sleep on it." And that's true. Problems may be solved, questions answered. Morning brings a new light and a new day. No good dwelling on dreams, for that's exactly what they are...they are not real: despite the reality of the dreams. Let them remain dreams.....

Today's poem was written a couple of years ago.

I Had The Key

I had the key - so privileged , so lucky
To have the key
Safely in my jacket pocket.
The key to the back door,
And I could go alone
      For I had the key.

Once inside the smell hit me-
Quite unique, distinct, never forgotten.
I'd switch on the overhead lights--
Clank, clank, clank.
To see the mist rolling, rising
From the stark, cold surface.
      For I had the key.

Fastening my boots tightly
I'd step onto the virgin ice.
Practice, practice, practice to perfection.
Figures of eight-changes of edge.
The mist parting as I glide.
My feet barely visible as I moved.
      I had the key.

A record on the turntable.
Making tracings this way and that.
Living the music, loving the moment.
A jump here, a spin there, a spiral.
Blades crunching, breaking the ice -
Virgin no more,like flying!
       I had the key.

And now I dream of jumping-
Two revolutions for a double Salchow,
One and a half revolutions for an Axel.
I see myself soaring in slow motion
Arms tucked in, body upright,
Landing on a running edge- perfect !
      Yes, I used to have the key.


Thank you for reading this, Kath.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

What Dreams May Come - For Branwell, With Love


I can’t remember much of last night’s dream. Vivid though it was, it faded into nothing by the time I was ready for the day and I blamed it on the amount of chocolate I’d eaten just before bedtime. Dreams are nothing more than wishes, it is said. Hopes and dreams of both the attainable and the unreachable, we can only wait and see. I would love to retire to my chosen place in Scotland, eventually.  If that dream doesn’t come true, I’ll have to cope with a compromise and increase my regular visits instead.

Patrick Branwell Bronte couldn’t cope when his hopes and dreams came crashing down to shatter his heart and soul. My interests and studies of the Bronte family have brought me to believe that Branwell, as he was known, was every bit as talented as his sisters but never approved of his own efforts.  I wish he hadn’t obliterated himself from the family portrait he painted.  His lack of self-approval led to unsuccessful career appointments and eventual self-destruction, after the love of his life, Lydia Robinson nee Gisborne let him down. She was the wife of his last employer, the Rev. Edmund Robinson, a sick man close to the end of his life, who sent Branwell packing when he discovered what was going on. Such ‘goings on’ is shrouded in the uncertainty of whether there was an affair, or if it was Branwell’s fanciful infatuation. When Rev. Robinson passed away, Branwell expected to be reunited with Lydia, but it was not to be. According to Rev. Robinson’s Will, she would be cut off without a penny if Branwell was back in her life, so she distanced herself, married someone else, yet regularly sent money to Branwell. He was a broken man, haunted by unrequited love and seeking solace in alcohol and opium.  He was further disturbed by Lydia calling out to him in his dreams. He died aged 31, of tuberculosis aggravated by alcoholism and laudanum addiction.  For me, Sally Wainwright captured his character, and his sisters, perfectly in her drama To Walk Invisible.

 


I wrote this poem about him a few years ago.

 
Patrick Branwell Bronte
 

Poet and artist, your fallen talents go to waste

And are trapped within the torment of your mind.

Forbidden love, so heavenly to taste

Now haunts and disturbs; no beauty left to find.

The call of temptation and no wish to be chaste,

But to be drunk on the perfume of bodies entwined.

Oh Branwell! Your vision clouded by opium and gin

And the burdening weight of adulterous sin…

                                                    PMW

 

Branwell wrote this sonnet for Lydia –

 
Lydia Gisborne
 

On Ouse’s grassy banks - last Whitsuntide,

I sat, with fears and pleasures, in my soul

Commingled, as ‘it roamed without control’,

O’er present hours and through a future wide

Where love, methought, should keep my heart beside

Her, whose own prison home I looked upon:

But, as I looked, descended summer’s sun,

And did not its descent my hopes deride?

The sky though blue was soon to change to grey-

I, on that day, next year must own no smile -

And as those waves, to Humber far away,

Were gliding – so, though that hour might beguile

My Hopes they too, to woe’s far deeper sea,

Rolled past the shores of Joy’s now dim and distant isle.

 

Also by Patrick Branwell Bronte, The Doubter’s Hymn

 

Life is a passing sleep

Its deeds a troubled dream

And death the dread awakening

To daylight’s dawning beam.

 

We sleep without a thought

Of what is past and o’er

Without a glimpse of consciousness

Of aught that lies before

 

We dream and on our sight

A thousand visions rise

Some dark as Hell some heavenly bright

But all are fantasies

 

We wake and oh how fast

These mortal visions fly!

Forgot amid the wonders vast

Of immortality!

 

And oh! When we arise

With ‘wildered gaze to see

The aspect of those morning skies

Where will that waking be?

 

How will that Future seem?

What is Eternity?

Is Death the sleep? – Is Heaven the Dream?

Life the Reality?
 

Thanks for reading and may your dreams come true, Pam x 

Monday, 4 September 2017

What Dreams May Come

I have always been fascinated with the idea of dreams and what they actually mean. Sigmund Freud an Austrian neurologist believed that dreams were a reflection of our unconscious mind.

Surprisingly the meaning behind my dreams (according to the internet!) is normally spot on.

Recently my dreams have involved calm water which supposedly means tranquillity, new beginnings and self-renewal. I am starting university, I am in a new relationship and I am pretty darn happy at the moment!  Coincidence?

Then there is the idea of following your dreams…. No not the one about dancing naked in a sea of snakes.  Following your goals, aspirations and desires. The great thing about life is that you never know where your dreams will take you. It’s wonderful to have dreams, but I think we need to remember to live in the present. Modern society constantly rams unrealistic ‘dreams’ down our throats. Buy this diet pill to get your dream body. Wear this perfume to find your dream man. Purchase this car to live the perfect life.
 
 
Blue Eyed Perspective
How quickly your life can change.
New emotions arrive,
They come and go like the tide.
 
Friendship becomes love.
Love, becomes friendship.
One new person can change your world,
They can make you feel like the luckiest girl.
They cause your barriers to come crashing down,
With one sound,
With one word,
“You are not a nerd”.
 
Suddenly your heart flutters in your chest,
And you can only guess at what comes next.
I guess, we never truly know.
 
But I know this…time flies by.
It stops for no man.
But we can stop fearing the constant…
Tik Tok Tik Tok…
Instead we should dance,
To the rhythm of our own clock.

Thanks for reading my blog and poem, Helena Ascough.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

ESP

One more sparkling sunny summer Saturday in the jewel of the north, seagulls are spiralling happily, tomatoes are ripening on the vine and there's not a cloud on the horizon... except that I won't be going to watch my beloved Seasiders playing at home (as the ethical boycott of Blackpool FC by thousands of fans continues) and - oh, there is a weekly blog nagging to be written, all about ESP or extra-sensory perception.

I'm afraid I don't give ESP credence, being of a sceptical and rational nature and never having experienced it personally or even seen the remotest shred of credible evidence for it.

I don't believe in fortune-tellers, mediums or psychics. ("Is there anybody there? Knock once for yes and twice for no.") I don't believe people can see into the future or predict what is going to happen - except in the sense that anyone with intelligence can extrapolate and hypothesise.

I do believe that some people are more perceptive than others, some are even "hyper-sensitive" - but that doesn't equate to extra-sensory perception. As far as I'm concerned, this whole field is littered with a trail of charlatans and mountebanks, clever and cynical tricksters preying on people's gullibility, willingness to suspend disbelief and sheer want for ESP to be true.


I also believe in lucky guesses, coincidence and probability, the latter of which have sound bases in mathematical theory. Sorry if that sounds boring. (In reality it's quite fascinating.)

Having challenged the veracity of ESP, I heartily approve of it as an imaginative/literary device. You can't beat a good tale involving supernatural powers of perception - but never lose sight of the fact that we are doing nothing more than indulging in the thrill of a tall story.

There's no poem this week. I feel as though I've done enough damage already. I hope the prose passes muster.  Excuse me a minute, someone just knocked at the door - twice...
                                                                                                                                         ...but when I opened it there was no one there!

Thanks for reading. Keep an open mind, Steve ;-)

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

ESP - gift or a curse?

It doesn't matter whether you were raised under the eye of organised religion, were nurtured by a hippy earth mother or have a sound scientific background, at some time in your life you will have come to question your own belief in ESP (Extra Sensory Perception).  Psychologists have devised scientific experiments to try to prove or disprove the fabled ability to predict future events. 

From biblical prophets advised to prepare for impending doom by an unseen God, to Nostradamus who predicted virtually every natural and man made disaster that has ever or will ever happen, right through to Derek Akorah who claims to commune with the dead while visiting Britain's spookiest residences, we are all curious. We are all eager to know what lies ahead.

People, (especially women),  are drawn to have their fortune foretold by a gypsy for a small fee. Some venture into the realms of the supernatural seeking advice from Tarot cards or spiritual mediums. The death of a loved one can be devastating and it is perhaps understandable that vulnerable people often seek answers from those who might exploit them. Perhaps I am too cynical but if someone offers to speak to your dead relative when holding out their hand for payment, I would smell a rat.

Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle actually popularised spiritual medium-ship, publicising his own adventures and experiments with table-tapping and glass moving. During WW1, so many young men were killed that many bereft people turned to spirtualism to bring comfort. Tales were rife of the spirits of dead soldiers coming to sit among the living as the nation tried to cope with the enormity of the loss: Almost every family had lost someone to war by Armistace Day in 1918. Jeremy Deller tried to capture the effect with 'We are Here' , his 2016, living memorial to those killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme a hundred years earlier. It was a wonderful piece of street theatre in which I was honoured to participate.

Well then - do 21st Century Britons believe in ESP? We watch a heck of a lot of sci-fi. We read loads of dodgy information on the internet and we are entertained by movies like The Sixth Sense by M Night Shyalaman and The Others (starring Ms Kidman) in which people who don't know their post-mortem status, walk among the living. We have all seen Derren Brown, controlling people's minds on TV or perhaps on stage. He is a very intelligent man who has perfected manipulative techniques that could convince almost anyone that he has the power of second sight, that he can read minds, predict future events. 

I like to tell people that I recently discovered that I am psychic - because it says medium on the label in my panties. That one always gets a laugh but I use it as a deflection. If I ever told you the truth...





Extra Special People

I believe we all have power to see
when travelling transcendentally.
I often venture – it sounds absurd
to witness events that have not occurred
I have, in the past, witnessed a crime
as if watching through holes in space and time
and journeyed to places unknown to me
to help right a wrong and give testimony.
I can’t intercede in my dreaming state
but my statements usually resonate.
I once approached, over someone’s shoulder
watching him observing a murder,
he shuddered, looked into my face afraid,
as if I had walked on top of his grave.

I once levitated, roused from sleep
by a child in white standing at my feet,
she beckoned to me but I wouldn’t go,
I was only nineteen and I didn’t know
what reason she had to visit me -
her attention,  a frightening novelty.
An angel, a spirit,  hallucination,
a figment of my imagination?
From that day, others appeared
and gradually I conquered my fears.
Sometimes I hear them but I am aware,
and when I see them, they like to share.
Often they ask me to clear up a mess,
bring others to justice and help them to rest.
 
Once or twice in lucid dreams
I’ve known exactly where I’ve been,
I note the signposts I am shown,
guided to places I’ve never known.
I dreamed I won twice on the lottery -
the very next week it happened to me.
On a sunbed, I had a flash premonition
showing a three vehicle collision,
Sadly the car in the middle was mine,
I couldn’t avoid it, I didn’t have time,
at the moment of impact I derived, 
that I was certain to survive.
I think I went back to a safer place,
my spirit set free by a moment of grace,
released from the wreckage without a scratch
amazing fire-fighters who saw the crash.
 
I once saw things, told people straight,
but now I wait, I cogitate,
if you knew what lay in store you, 
you might rearrange the things you do,
and cause a time anomaly,
impacting on others easily.   
I wouldn’t profit from ‘propheteering’,
I don’t do spiritual engineering,
but maybe if I saw a friend,
who could avoid a sticky end,
I might be moved to help them out,
I might just tell them to 'look out'.
But be careful – if I call on you,
it might be with the boys in blue.
I see dead people too.

Thanks for reading.  Adele

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

ESP - Second Sight


My mum called it ‘second sight’. She had inherited it from her mother and grandmother. It has come down the generations to me, though mine differs from theirs. The first time I encountered it was at our hotel on Central Promenade. I was a young teenager making myself useful by helping, or possibly hindering, the receptionist.  I was sent to fetch my mum to attend to a guest, a woman who was in great distress. I ran upstairs, along the corridor to our private rooms and found my mother on the settee, waking up from a nap. Before I had chance to speak, she said,

“Her son drowned in a boating accident. I just dreamt it.”

What struck me most was the calm, matter-of-fact way that she said it as she stood up, smoothed her skirt, popped her shoes on, combed her hair and checked her lipstick, all in two seconds before she was out of the door. Sadly, that’s exactly what had happened and the poor lady had just received the terrible news.

I am told that my great-grandmother sometimes dreamt names that matched horses in forthcoming races. I don’t know how lucrative it was for her, but it hasn’t come down the line to me, though I’m not into horse racing.

From an early age I knew that my Nanna could see absolutely everything and she knew what everyone was up to. Her eyes looked like she could see right inside a person’s thoughts. With her, everything and everybody was safe. Things came to her in dreams and sometimes she would sit, deep in thought then tell you what you wanted or did not want to hear, never less than honest and nothing ever ‘wrapped up’. I adored her.

I don’t tend to dream things, I just know, usually out of the blue. My sister was in the early stages of her second pregnancy. Very randomly I told her she was having a daughter and she would be born early, a bit poorly but she would be fine. I could even pin-point the date to either 31st October or 3rd November, which didn’t mean anything at the time.  My niece was born by Caesarean section on 31st October, 1988, spent a short time in the Special Care Baby Unit and has grown up into a beautiful young woman. My daughter was born on 3rd November, 1994.

There was an avalanche in the Alps at a time when people I knew were in the area. I was sure I’d heard something on the radio news, but it wasn’t on the next bulletin, no mention of it on teletext and nothing on the TV news, until the next day when it actually happened. The same thing happened with an earthquake.

I don’t know if it’s connected to ‘second sight’ or an entirely different phenomenon, but I have had ghostly encounters. There are many, but what always makes me smile is the Most Haunted episode featuring The Old Hall in Sandbach. We lived there for a short time when my father was licencee. I hated that move to Cheshire and I’ve mentioned it, not by name, in previous blogs. Yes, it had ‘occupants’, we quickly became aware, but none of our ghosts matched any of the findings in the programme. Strange.

     I found this poem. I can really relate to it.
 
 
    Conjugal Telepathy
    Have you ever noticed when you’re talking with your spouse?
    No matter if you’re out with friends or wandering round the house,
    That when you have a thought you think is worthy to express,
    You’ve scarcely uttered half of it before your thoughts digress,
    And you have quite forgotten what it was you wished to say,
    But there is no need to panic for your spouse will save the day,
    And without the need for prompting, and indeed without a pause,
    Your partial thought’s completed, with an extra thoughtful clause.
    My friends to whom I’ve spoken, and I’ve spoken to a few,
    Have noticed this phenomenon, and so perhaps it’s true,
    That when you live together an extended length of time,
    The need for speech reduces and there's more accent on mime.
    So perhaps there is no worry when your mind begins to go,
    For even out in company, no one really needs to know.
    There is a great incentive to always keep your cool,
    When your spouse's intervention stops you looking like a fool,
    For even if the utterance is not what you would say,
    It is best to grin and bear it and pretend so anyway.

                                                                           By Ian Smith

Thanks for reading, Pam x

 

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Lolita

Lancashire Dead Good Poets were approached last year by a Liverpool-based arts project that took Lolita as its theme and was looking to match poetry with photography in an exhibition exploring changing social and moral responses to the iconic 'Lolita' image and the concept of Lolita-ness.

I felt slightly uncomfortable about the premise (given it concerns the sexual precociousness of teenage girls) but Vladimir Nabokov, who wrote the novel in the mid '50s, remains one of my favourite authors - and one of the true literary masters - so I re-watched the original movie adaptation of the novel (having read the book at university some 40 years ago) and began working on a poem. I'm not sure the arts project ever materialised; the trail went cold.

There it would have ended apart from two things: the fact that I don't like leaving works unfinished and the resurfacing media attention given to the unacceptable practice of 'grooming' young girls in English towns.

Of his most famous novel, Nabokov had this to say: "Lolita is a special favourite of mine. It was my most difficult book - the book that treated of a theme that was so distant, so remote, from my own emotional life that it gave me a special pleasure to use my combinational talent to make it real. Of course she completely eclipsed my other works... but I cannot grudge her this. There is a queer, tender charm about that mythical nymphet."

Born in Russia, from whence his family fled in advance of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, Vladimir Nabokov grew up in exile in western Europe, studied modern languages at Trinity College, Cambridge and then became a novelist, writing first in Russian and then, following his move to the USA during the 2nd world war, in English. When he was writing Lolita, Nabokov was so concerned about how the book might be received that he even considered publishing it under a pseudonym, the appropriately anagrammatical Vivian Darkbloom.

When the novel appeared it was considered controversial, shocking even in its subject matter and acquired a reputation for being a risque book (especially by those who had not read it) but Lolita has gradually cemented its place among the finest works of fiction of the 20th century.

I am not going to summarise the plot here, beyond saying that it concerns a middle-aged professor's unhealthy infatuation with Dolores Haze, the teenage daughter of his landlady. I recommend you to read the novel. Lolita, pictured below from Stanley Kubrick's 1962 film, was the pet name that Humbert gave to Dolores. The story of Lolita has been filmed twice, by Kubrick as mentioned and more recently by Adrian Lyne in 1997. It has also been adapted as a stage play and a ballet and is the subject of two operas.

Still from Stanley Kubrick's original 1962 movie of the novel
The protagonist of the novel claims he has hebephilia. I had to look it up. It's a fixation with pubescent girls (named after the Greek goddess Hebe, protector of youth if you wanted to know) and has been brought on in his case by an unfortunate event in his own younger life - so a form of mental illness (interestingly first 'diagnosed' by clinicians as Nabokov was planning the book). As such it is only one rung above paedophilia on the ladder of unacceptable sexual fixations. His predilection gets him into all sorts of trouble and yet such is Nabokov's talent as an author that there is sympathy even for the tormented professor.

Dolores Haze may or may not have been sexually precocious. Humbert may have been as much victim as predator, with genuine feeling for Lolita. You would need to read the novel and arrive at your own conclusion. The 1950s seems such an innocent decade in retrospect. It is telling, I think, that the Lolita of Lyne's 1997 movie was altogether more seductive and sophisticated than her earlier namesake.

Lolita remade, remodelled - innocence lost
It is perhaps understandable that young teenage girls want to look and act mature beyond their years, that they have a natural need to explore and understand their power to attract. A few may even exploit that power without appreciating the possible consequences. However, one thing is indisputable, I believe - that is the absolute moral responsibility of the adult not to take advantage of the child, no matter the extent of the opportunity or the provocation. If the Liverpool art project had come to fruition, it may have put that moral consideration into the public domain.

Here, at least, is the poem I wrote concerning Lolita. I don't quite know what I was trying to do with it (apart from somehow capturing the ambiguity inherent in the psyche of a hebephiliac) and I feel quite ambivalent about it - so your candid feedback is welcomed.

Nymphet
Nymphet, floret,
languid miss Dolores Haze,
pallid, unsullied temptress -
the mere thought
of your slender splendour
orchestrates a symphony in my head;
and though I dance to your tune,
my tight-budded flawless empress,
this manly madness is no mere lust.
My tender yearning
for your pure, demure young love
is such
that I could not betray your trust,
would never stoop to groom
or bruise the fruit of your bloom
even though your coyness flays me.


Thanks as ever for reading. Be good, S ;-)

Friday, 25 August 2017

Dolly Mop

Well , I've taken the bull by the horns today. I quickly wrote this at breakfast time and almost gave Don apoplexy when I read it to him... poor man. Seems to think it's the type of thing that is often read out at poetry evenings... and says no wonder those events are so popular !

Briefly.... Imagine Victorian London. No work for women , young or old, unless you were fortunate and went into service, apprenticeship, shop work, sewing and the like. No welfare state. Only the workhouse waiting . So meet " Dolly Mop" a teenage prostitute . Mature beyond her years. Keeping hunger at bay for herself and the family. Who exploited who ?          
         

                   
             Dolly Mop

            I have a stance beneath the arch
           Where the railway passes by.
           I lift my skirts, show a leg
           To gentlemen passing by.

           A carriage stops - a hand appears,
           Beckons for me to come near.
           A whispered question on his lips
           So I toss my undeveloped  hips.

           Clean , Sir ? I douched with carbolic yesterday.
           Call me Lizzie, call me Mabel, call me what you may.
           With a tot of gin, I'll climb within -
           Then we can begin....

           Now, it's sixpence for a blow job.
           All the way- now that's a bob.
           In the carriage ? In the alley ? I don't mind.
           A kiss upon my brow ! That's really very kind.

           Some men are rough and I've grown tough,
           For all my tender years.
           One day I'll say ," I've had enough ".
           'Til then I do shed tears.

           Tonight I'm yours for half an hour.
           Do with me as you desire -
           I can set your loins afire,
           Within this carriage bower.

          That's a shilling sir. I thank you kind.
          My family will feast -
          And you've not been a beast,
          If I might say so ? You don't mind ?

          Come again, sir. Find me always here,
          Every night from dusk to dawn,
          For I go home at break of morn.
          Mother thinks that I serve beer.

          She doesn't know my trade, you see
          T'would be a shock to her-
          The shame she could not bear.
          You've been very kind to me.

          I take my stance beneath the arch
          Where the railway passes by,
          And lift my skirts, show a leg,
          To gentlemen passing by.

Thanks for reading, Kath (Lady Curt).

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Lolita - 'thank heaven for little girls...'

Nobody has even suggested that this is an easy topic for a blog. There are so many current issues with child exploitation in the news.  It seems that most days, there are items about child sex abuse, grooming gangs or sex slavery. This is my country and I am right to be appalled. Unfortunately I have to say that although I am shocked at the frequency and number of these dreadful crimes - they are nothing new. I was first aware of the sexual exploitation of under-aged girls in Blackpool in the early 1970's. It was illegal then too.

Although the age of consent was sixteen in the 1970's there was still an innocence about under age sex. Our parents were unaware that through the coffee bar culture, school girls and older men came into un-chaperoned contact. Men in expensive cars often waited outside school gates for young, nubile girls. We knew who they were: Men who liked 'schoolies'.  The large influx of draft-dogging Italians in seaside towns in the 1970s added to the problem. Italian mommas kept tight reign on their daughters. British girls were the obvious choice for a charming, handsome, foreigner or a man whose faith encouraged him to exploit easier options.  I don't recall any prosecutions or news items.

When I was younger, I loved to watch musicals. My love of dance and romantic nature was nurtured by a father and Grandmother who were both very musical. I always wanted to dance with a boy, like Fred did with Ginger. I knew the words to every song in every musical by the time I was 6. Dad bought L.P's. My favourite film was Gigi.


Hang on a moment! Gigi was a film with a strange theme. A handsome man visits Gigi's mother regularly ... a character who is never seen ...but we are led to believe that she is an opera singer. The man then starts to be interested in Gigi, who is blossoming into a beautiful young woman. She tempts him, he succumbs, then he rejects her a 'just one of those things'. My favourite song from the show, 'Thank Heaven for Little Girls' sung by the ageing Maurice Chevalier was blatantly extolling their appeal to older men. Five years later, I would have recognised the character as someone my older sister would refer to as a 'dirty old man.'

With a reasonably long career in dance, I have met many men who willingly exploit young girls. I know women whose careers have stalled simply because they wouldn't sleep with a particular promoter. I was fortunate enough to lack the looks but to have both the talent and the brains to steer clear of them. I could tell some tales and spill a few beans. Often the young women involved were only too willing to dress up, daub on the make up and lead men on. There is no justification for under aged sexual exploitation. When my daughter was growing up, I had no illusions - I was a young girl once ...


The Gentleman

You were twenty-two and everything I dreamed,
Tall, dark and handsome,
In your uniform:
Charm and sophistication,
Bursting from the seams.

I was thirteen, articulate and agile,
Much older than my years
In my uniform:
Blossoming into woman-hood,
Brazenly, flirting with my eyes.

And when unexpectedly alone,
I called you - and you came to me,
Misreading my intentions:
Protective like a brother,
I wanted you as lover.

I didn’t feel the slightest shame,
I longed for your embrace,
I would have ruined your career,
And possibly my life
but you would not have been to blame.

An officer and gentleman,
You resisted my advances,
Put me firmly in my place,
It broke my heart when I saw anger
Sweep across your gentle face.

I waited all my teenage years
Ached for your return,
If you had said you wanted me
I would abandon everything,
I would have sailed the seven seas.

You were my very first love,  
I’ll always hold you in my heart,
I wait. I dream. I long for you,
If you should ever feel the same,
I haven’t changed my name.

Thanks for reading.  Adele