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Monday, 29 October 2012

"My Woods"

Buzzard flies over
The woodland that I planted
Oh to see his view

Copyright ©  Res JFB 29th October 2012

My Sister, Brother-in-Law and I drove past
here last Friday. I lost these woods over 10
years ago in a nasty divorce case. I am now
barred from visiting the woodland that I 
planted over 30 years. I was always waiting
for the trees to be tall enough for Buzzards
to nest in them. I was told, the year after I
left that Buzzards were then nesting in my

This is the closest I have been to the woodland
that I planted for over 10 years. 

Tuesday, 23 October 2012


Sweet little Lola
Mardi Gras Queen of the West
Her Mother's darling

Copyright © Res JFB  23rd October 2012
Photo by kind permission of Ms Eve Elliott

Monday, 22 October 2012

"Such Eyes"

She had such eyes
You could drown in... and here's me
Just learning to swim

Copyright © Res JFB 22nd October 2012

Sunday, 21 October 2012

"Blue Eyes"

She had oceans
In her blue eyes... and left me
With salt tears in mine

Copyright © Res JFB 21st October 2012

Saturday, 20 October 2012

"Here Be Dragons"

In the morning sky
I thought I saw a dragon
Heaven's messenger

Copyright © Res JFB 20th October 2012

Inspired by Gabi San of

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

"Angry Sea"

The wind brings the sea
Angry now into the Bay
Autumn storms dying

Copyright © Res JFB 17th October 2012

"International Day for the Eradication of Poverty"

17th October

Day for the Eradication
Of Poverty... Aum

Copyright © Res JFB 17th Octo0ber 2012

Tuesday, 16 October 2012


A telephone call
Do I want my medals engraved?
49 years late

They were not so keen
To hand out decorations
When the sh*t hit the fan

Just in time to go
On the lid of my coffin
My grateful country

At least HM the Queen
Sends me my pocket money

Bless Her

Copyright © Res JFB 17th October 2012

"Hungry Jackdaw" Haiku(ish)

The bamboo is battered
And the jackdaw is hungry
Cool autumn sunshine

Copyright © Res JFB 16th October 2012

Monday, 15 October 2012

"A Postcard from Kuching"

A postcard arrived here today
From a land that James Brooke cried for
That took me back to the rifles crack,
And the land I almost died for!
To the rivers and seas, the jungle trees,
And the island of Borneo,
And a dirty little war and so much more
Fifty long years ago!

I was twenty-one and just one day,
‘Twas time I earned my shilling!*
A silver ‘plane carried me away
Judged old enough for killing!
Little I knew, as away we flew
They’d sent me to Sarawak.
And over the years, through smiles and tears
That land still calls me back!

James Brooke had been the Rajah there,
His rule was fair but stern.
You could feel his hand upon that land
At almost every turn.
The people had loved him dearly
And his rule had stood the test
And now many years later
The land was different to the rest!

Bung ‘Karno* sent his troops raiding
Far and wide across the border.
Attacking defenceless people
So we went to bring back order!
We went because we had to,
But what was unexpected,
Was how much we came to love,
Those dear people we protected.

Jungle longhouse, kampong, town,
Back at Police HQ
From the people of that blessed land
Kindness was all we knew!
Though force of arms protected
The friendly people on our side
In the end what really mattered,
‘Twas “Hearts and Minds” that turned the tide.

Now as this postcard reaches me,
Time and distance calls me back,
Is it to sweat and blood, the bloody mud,
Or the whip-lash rifles crack?
No, it’s laughing eyes so deep you’d drown,
And voices that would say
“We love you, love you, love you here,
Oh won’t you, won’t you stay?”

We were always welcomed back,
People hugged us and they kissed us
From jungle swamp or mountain track.
They told us they had missed us,
Long-house base or back in town
Gave us fruit and sat us down.

Then we’d eat and drink so hearty
Every meeting was a party!
Be it song or poem to entertain
Christian Hindu Taoist Jain
Everyone would do their party pieces!
For there we had brothers uncles nieces!

Never a thought of racial strife
Would mar these peaceful peoples life.
Whether we slept ‘neath trophy heads,
Or cool on silk on Chinese Beds,
We’d friends in the market, thick as thieves,
We ate fried rice off banana leaves.

I remember well the wind in palms,
The friendly market places,
The clasp of silky dusky arms,
The beauty in their faces.
I remember all the kindnesses,
The words and touch of love,
And oh! Those magic tropic skies,
And the dawns that bloomed above.

Only a simple postcard, fifty cents or so
And satu ringgit* postage to days so long ago
And there it sat on my mat as if ‘twas yesterday,
When kit and gun, and me so young, once again away!
But that is just a fancy of an old man’s mind,
But how I yearn once more to turn to those people kind.

I still sometimes smell the markets there,
But no Mee Hoon Soup for many a year.
But it’s little things that call my heart a-while,
The loving words that taught me how to smile.

Even today, people say, Sarawak is different, through and through,
And those of us whom Sarawak touched, we are all different too!

*Earned my shilling = Taking the Kings (or Queens) Shilling = Joining the Army or Navy and possibly Air Force, (though they’d have wanted more than a shilling!)
*Bung ‘Karno = Brother ‘Karno = President Soekarno of Indonesia.
*Satu ringgit = One Malaysian Dollar.

Words Copyright © Res JFB 16th October 2012
Top photo Copyright © Albert Teo 2000
Middle and Bottom poto Copyright © Anna Photo Kuching
With thanks for the Postcard to my dear friend Michelle Sim, a lovely lady from Bau, Sarawak, Malaysia.

"My Beauty Of The Low Lands"

The caves in the cliff at Matala

She was small and beautiful
A youthful bloom seemed to shine
From beneath her sun tanned skin
Her blonde hair like corn silk
Framing her exquisite face
And she was my companion
For the bumpy bus ride
From Matala on the south coast of Crete
Over the mountains to Iráklion

We had talked a time or two
In the taverna society of Matala.
Danced a time or two at the Mermaid Café
Not knowing how famous it would become
From Joni Mitchell’s ‘Carey’.
But she was too beautiful 
For a tired old soldier like me to pursue
And she was always surrounded
By those wanting to share her beauty
Or her body! While the wind 
Carried  the smell of African dust
As we danced in the night.

When she talked to you
She had a habit of stepping closer
Right into one’s personal space
And looking directly up into your eyes
With those eyes so deep blue 
They were almost violet.
And although she was surrounded
By admirers,
For those brief moments of conversation
It was as though we were quite alone in the world.
She had a calm, often serious, beauty
But when she smiled at you
The smile not only lit up her lovely face
It seemed to light up one's life as well.

Now tired from the farewell parties
We shared a seat on the bus.
Her bare arm touching mine
As we talked about our mutual friends
And acquaintances among the freaks
And draft dodgers, deserters and ex-soldiers
That made up the floating population 
Of Matala in those days.
She told me her name was Helena
Which, she said, meant light,
A perfect name for this shining beauty.
Gradually she grew sleepy
Her head nodding until it rested
Upon my delighted shoulder.

I hardly moved for the rest of the journey
For fear of waking her.
I could smell the clean perfume of her hair
Feel the softness of her skin
Where her cheek rested on my arm.
See the beguiling white Vee 
Where her suntan faded
Between her perfect breasts.
My breathing slowed as almost
In a state of meditation I sat there
Loving the trust and closeness,
The warmth and the beauty
Of Lovely Helena  from the Low Countries.
And while the Greeks around us
Fervently crossed themselves 
At every roadside cross and shrine
Commemorating every fatal accident
On that twisty mountain road
I sat there wishing the journey
Would go on forever.

Eventually we rattled down 
From the mountains into Iráklion.
I bought a ticket on the Ferry
With the money I had received
From ‘selling’ my cave on
To it’s next occupant.
That was the way on leaving Matala.
You always ‘sold’ your cave for the price
Of the bus fare over the mountains
And the Ferry ride back to the mainland.

We shared the Ferry ride
Helena and I, across the Aegean Sea to Piraeus
Athens’ seaport, busy bustling and earthy.
We took a room together in a cheap hotel.
It was only when I went to the bathroom
And spied girls standing in the dim doorways
Of their rooms that I realised that
We had taken a room in what served
Piraeus as a Brothel! Complete with
Government Rules and Regulations
Printed behind the doors.
I made sure that I accompanied my
Beautiful friend to and from the bathroom
After that! But we both found it funny,
And perhaps it added a little to our passion,
But none to the tenderness that grew 
Between us that night.

Tenderness like a balm to my old wounds.
It was there I learned she had deliberately
Chosen to travel alone with me,
Away from the competition of her attendants!
She could switch from Dutch to German,
To English to French, easier than I could
Change hats! But she said, “French is the 
Language of Love, mon chéri”
“Rather than the gutteral language of my own country!”

She said she had always collected 
Injured birds and animals,
That was why she wanted to become a 
Veterinary Surgeon.
I asked her, “Is that what I am to you
An injured bird?”
“Mais non, mon chéri, but I have always
Had a way with injuries! To me you are
An injured horse, non? Like the knights
Used to ride!” She didn’t know that
My Chinese Horoscope sign 
Was the Horse.
“Now you must learn to let
Your scars dance, just as we did
At the Mermaid Café!” And we danced
Naked, to a tinny radio in a Brothel
In salty earthy Piraeus.

Next day we took  the lovely wooden tram
Up the line to Athens.
There to go our separate ways.
She to join friends for the overland journey
Across Albania and Yugosolavia to Austria.
I, forbidden that route by my Government,
Unwilling to allow the secrets I still carried
In my head, to venture behind the Iron Curtain,
Was forced to remain in Athens. 
Sleeping on a camp bed on the roof of a Hotel
In the centre of the city.
Waiting for a cheap passage on a *Gastarbeiter bum boat
Carrying poor Greeks across the Ionian Sea
To Brindisi in Italy and thence overland
To a life of servitude in Germany.

We exchanged names and addresses
She writing hers on the flyleaf 
Of my copy of The Lord of the Rings
Still only part read despite six months in the Islands.
And so we parted! She, again surrounded
By admirers, but stepping away once more
Into my personal space for one last kiss,
As her attendants glowered behind her back!

It was a couple of months before I heard
Leonard Cohen sing ‘Sisters of Mercy’
On an LP in a bed-sit in Notting Hill.
And a year or two before I met the man himself.
But ‘Sisters of Mercy’ became
Always our song in my mind!
Lord of the Rings was washed to a pulp
As I hitch-hiked through the Alps
Her name and address dissolving into 
Wet sludge in the bottom of a rucksack pocket.

I did eventually buy another copy
But the name and address of lovely Helena
Was sadly absent from the flyleaf!
I did eventually finish Tolkien’s saga
But every mention of Hobbit Holes
Cast my mind back to when I too
Lived in a Hobbit Hole  on a Cretan cliff face
In the ancient land of the Minotaur. 
And on leaving spent two loving days
With the most beautiful girl in the world!

If I had known then what I know now………(Sigh)

Copyright © Res JFB 15th October 2012

* Gastarbeiter = Guest Worker, in Germany. In those days many poor Greeks took ship to Italy and then overland to Germany to make money as Labourers in Germany’s expanding economy. As a consequence of that, I learned more German in six months in Greece than I did in two years in Germany. The Germans spoke too good English to allow us to mutilate their language  by holding conversations with us in German!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

"Gold Earring"

This poem contains swearing
If you are likely to be offended
Don't read it!

I have long been enamoured
Of the Greek Sailor's belief
Of wearing a Gold Earring
In order to pay the ferryman
For the journey across the Styx
It seems to indicate a preparedness
To face one's death
As willingly as one's life.

Cut to Market Jew Street
In Penzance.
The Cornish swear it has
Nothing to do with Jews
But me and the Rabbi
Have our doubts!

I always walk up and down
That street
About three inches off the railings
So no one will expect 
An Old Gimpy like me
To leap out of their way!

One day a Wee Blister of a man
Charged the three inch gap
Kicking my walking stick
Out from under me
And almost knocking me over!

He stopped and glared
About twelve paces beyond me.
"You haven't got any f***ing right
To be on this f***ing pavement
Waving that f***ing walking stick about
Like a f***ing nancy boy!"
He shouted at me!

I whispered a little Taoist prayer
For all the sexes
Girls, boys and hairdressers!
"I'll show him!" I thought
And went straight down to Warfside
And got myself
A Greek Sailors Gold Earring!
I was very careful which ear
They put it in!

Just wait till I see Wee Blister again
I thought.
"Oi! F***wit!" I'll cry.
"Look at my f****ing earring!
That's on the heterosexual side!"

But I probably won't!
When you find some arse
Down in a hole
Covered in sh*t,
What's the point
Of jumping in there with him?

But at least I'm ready
To face the ferryman
And anything else
That life or death
Or any Wee Blister
May throw in my direction!

Copyright © Res JFB 14th October 2012
This is a true story.
Top Picture © Chloe Beth Graham
I don't usually wear the Tibetan Prayer Wheel
along with my earring but I thought it
would make the photo-shoot a
little more interesting.

Friday, 12 October 2012

"Duke Lang's Better Days. Vancouver Oo-op Radio"

A collection of Haiku(ish) Verses
about or inspired by
Duke Lang's Better Days Radio Show


Today's dawn chorus
Was Vancouver Radio
Duke Lang's late night show

Listen in the West
Post some Haiku in the South
The East still beckons

Duke Lang's Better Days
Waking the Penzance seagulls
For their morning piracy

I hear from Vancouver
Of Tokyo quakes... small world
In peril

Iris Dement
If you'd sing... I'd listen
Till the cows came home

Larry John Wilson
Gone now but not forgotten
Leaving us his songs

A fine singer pass'd 
With his laugh and his singing
Ringing in our ears

Listening in the night
Tuning into Vancouver 
Better days

Copyright Res JFB 12th October 2012

Anyone wishing to listen in to Duke Lang's Better Days Radio Programme
aired at 22.00 hrs Vancouver time every Thurdsay

should follow this link:-

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

"Ode to Eve Elliott"

Old Causewayhead just ain't the same
I don't know who is to blame
But the street has turned to a dreary mile
Without the sunshine of your smile

Nowhere to stop for a welcome kiss
I admit it's that I truly miss
No smile lighting up my day
Now that you have gone away

No wonder Penzance is in decline
All year round it's winter time
Ashes to ashes dust to dust
Perhaps I'll move out to St Just

Perhaps by bus or perhaps by car
I'll never more eat a Grizzly Bar

Copoyright © Res JFB 9th October 2012

Monday, 8 October 2012

"Window Guardians"

Window Guardians
Watch and wait so patiently
Lucky Cat beckons

Copyright © Res JFB 8th October 2012

" St Michael's Mount"

Autumn clouds rise slow
Reluctant to leave the arms
Of St Michael's Mount

Copyright © Res JFB 8th October 2012

"Autumn Mist"

Autumn mist
The Mount hides coyly
Above the clouds

Copyright © Res JFB 8th October 2012