Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Dark And Deep

Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.   

He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.   

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.

Robert Frost

Caught, Again.

If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them. They’re quite touchy about anything like that, especially my father.

The Catcher in the Rye. J.D. Sallinger

Mark Chapman

Mark David Chapman was born on May 10, 1955. He shot dead John Lennon, a founding member of The Beatles, in the entrance to the Dakota apartment building (New York) on December 8th 1980.

He had developed a series of obsessions, including artwork, The Catcher in the Rye, music and the musician John Lennon. In September 1980, he wrote a letter to a friend, Lynda Irish, in which he stated, “I’m going nuts.” He signed the letter, “The Catcher in the Rye.” Chapman had no criminal convictions prior to his trip to New York City to kill Lennon.

He is still in prison.


When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy’s been swinging them.
But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay
As ice-storms do. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun’s warmth makes them shed crystal shells
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust—
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You’d think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
So low for long, they never right themselves:
You may see their trunks arching in the woods
Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.
But I was going to say when Truth broke in
With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm
I should prefer to have some boy bend them
As he went out and in to fetch the cows—
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
Whose only play was what he found himself,
Summer or winter, and could play alone.
One by one he subdued his father’s trees
By riding them down over and over again
Until he took the stiffness out of them,
And not one but hung limp, not one was left
For him to conquer. He learned all there was
To learn about not launching out too soon
And so not carrying the tree away
Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise
To the top branches, climbing carefully
With the same pains you use to fill a cup
Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,
Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.
So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.
It’s when I’m weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig’s having lashed across it open.
I’d like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth’s the right place for love:
I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.
I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

Robert Frost


I wander thro’ each charter’d street, 
Near where the charter’d Thames does flow. 
And mark in every face I meet 
Marks of weakness, marks of woe. 

In every cry of every Man, 
In every Infants cry of fear, 
In every voice: in every ban, 
The mind-forg’d manacles I hear 

How the Chimney-sweepers cry 
Every blackning Church appalls, 
And the hapless Soldiers sigh 
Runs in blood down Palace walls 

But most thro’ midnight streets I hear 
How the youthful Harlots curse 
Blasts the new-born Infants tear 
And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse 

William Blake


Remember me when I am gone away, 
         Gone far away into the silent land; 
         When you can no more hold me by the hand, 
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay. 
Remember me when no more day by day 
         You tell me of our future that you plann’d: 
         Only remember me; you understand 
It will be late to counsel then or pray. 
Yet if you should forget me for a while 
         And afterwards remember, do not grieve: 
         For if the darkness and corruption leave 
         A vestige of the thoughts that once I had, 
Better by far you should forget and smile 
         Than that you should remember and be sad.

Christina Rossetti

Just loved this poem when reading it to sixth-formers the other day.

Recycling Old Tips

New Year Tips For Lovers …


The Kama Sutra is an ancient Indian Hindu text written by Vātsyāyana. It is widely considered to be the standard work on human sexual behaviour in Sanskrit literature. A portion of the work consists of practical advice on sexual intercourse. Wikipedia

My blogs have often been accused of lacking any true advice; the kind that ordinary people (couples) can use to enhance their life experiences. I have steered away from the mundane in order to focus on the mental. It has been an unwritten policy that I have followed to the letter.

But today that all changes. 

Tips For Lovers is my attempt at becoming a super-blogger, one whom people turn to in times of need, one who dishes out wholesome help in times of need, one who triples the ether with everlasting notes of hope.

Christmas is a time for hope. When I was child it was full of hope, but delivered very little in the way of solutions. My prayers for a Leeds United football kit were answered with a royal blue of Chelsea. I have for most of my life now been a fan of Manchester United and I think that I can trace that back to my mother’s oversight. Manchester Unitedare hated by Leeds United and currently an ex-manager of Chelsea is running Manchester United. The fickle fingers of Fate, eh? Or just the soccer swinging merry go round?  And in recent seasons the ‘noisy neighbours’ have been popping around to ‘do one’ on us in our very own home (Man City for the disinterested). Which leads me on to my present gift to you readers.

I have owned a copy of the Kama Sutra for many decades. I bought it as a young and adventurous poet as I thought it would suit my projection of myself. I have, once or twice flicked through the pages, but never really taken note of it. It used to command a rather prominent  position on my bookshelf in the days when I posted tomes for the sole purpose of displaying my worldly knowledge. Since then, I tend to read all the books I buy. But not the Kama Sutra. 

And now, after much prevarication, I am at an age of years and wisdom to feel confident enough to share what I think I know.

My wife and I have been married for almost twenty years now and we are a rare species in that we have been married to the same person throughout that span of years. Like most married couples, we have our ups and downs. We fall out. We struggle through life’s yearly toils and then we go on holiday.

Where is this possibly going?

To the TIPS!

WE love the run-up to Christmas. We actually enjoy Christmas Day, especially if we have not ruined the meal. This year, instead of turkey (a bland bird that even refuses the advances of curry spices) we opted for something new. We wanted something a little less showy, a little more sophisticated, not one that prostituted its own demise each and every advent. So we chose a goose. It ended up being perfectly cooked and satisfied us in the extreme.

TIP Number 1: Add a little novelty (but with taste).

So Christmas came and Christmas went and New Year came and New Year went (the latter is not quite true as it is still here unless something has happened that nobody has thought fit to tell me about). And then the return of the mundane. We decided to spice things up a little, but not in the innocuous fashion of turkey left-overs.

“We need to offload,” my darling wife whispered.

I nodded. I may have winked. I wholeheartedly agreed.

TIP Number 2; Don’t be afraid to offload.

We decided to use the car for this. It’s a big car with lots and lots of space in the back. Ideal for our purposes.

Before long, we were busy stuffing things in. The dried out Christmas tree was first. I took it outside, said goodbye, thanked it in a manner that a Sioux would thank that buffalo he had just killed, failed to eat its liver (as Christmas Trees are rather odd in this respect), and then set about sawing away with a certain manic fervour. The neighbours were watching through peek blinds and I inhaled the joy of another adventure still to come.

TIP Number 3: If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing publicly.

A short time later, the back of the vehicle was crammed full of unwanted Yuletide rubbish. We pushed and pushed until it could take no more and when the time arrived we set off on our post-advent adventure. When we arrived, we found that lots of other couples had had the same yearning. It was with joy that we entered the council-run recycling plant and with consummate completion that we emptied ourselves of all of that which had built up over Christmas. Our burden will now become somebody else’s problem.

I almost forgot about the football kit. 

The Chelsea football kit did not enjoy a long life. Only a few weeks had gone by when I slipped and slid into a huge pile of toxic dog-shit which caused such an odious stench that my mother refused to wash it. She threw it out. In those days, there was not such a thing as recycling.  It simply went to landfill and is probably now the proud father of a healthy growth of tomatoes.

The Karma Sutra? I believe that that still resides somewhere within my book collection, but not so obviously on view as it had been before. These days, I do not like to advertise my well-informed credentials.

TOP TIPS; Take your pick:



Happy January, 


Christmas Of Yore…Cross-Dressing And Story-Telling

And One And All…

Read After Burnout

images-195The Pagan celebration of Winter Solstice (also known as Yule) is one of the oldest winter celebrations in the world.

Ancient people were hunters and spent most of their time outdoors. The seasons and weather played a very important part in their lives. Because of this many ancient people had a great reverence for, and even worshipped the sun. The Norsemen of Northern Europe saw the sun as a wheel that changed the seasons. It was from the word for this wheel, houl, that the word yule is thought to have come. At mid-winter the Norsemen lit bonfires, told stories and drank sweet ale.

The ancient Romans also held a festival to celebrate the rebirth of the year. Saturnalia ran for seven days from the 17th of December. It was a time when the ordinary rules were turned upside down. Men dressed as women and masters dressed as servants…

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