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At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!

My blog nick-name is SIR HUGH. I'm not from the aristocracy - my middle name is Hugh which relates to the list of 282 hills in Scotland compiled by Sir Hugh Munro in 1891. I climbed my last one (Sgurr Mor) on 28th June 2009


Monday, 8 February 2021

Lockdown blues 2

Lockdown blues 2.

Back to my Sea Harrier.

Seating the pilot in his seat.

That seems a long time ago.

Two explorers waiting for take off.

He has watched with patience through all the engagements

And seen pleasure and frustration as well.

At last departure seemed nearer,

But fifty or so decals loom.

Many carry warnings: Ejector Seat, Danger, Keep clear.

Take-off  delayed, perhaps even cancelled.

Then RAF roundels speak of British grit.

But one gets damaged. A replacement arrives,

And yet another arrives to balance the formation.

Prolonging the progress to open skies.

The runway looks longer as we enter decal phase,

Would that the fifty were miles instead.

Derring-do for my pilot and new terrain for me,

Sights to discover, chance meetings, adventure,

And what’s round the next bend, and dare I hope,

A Hen Harrier in nature showing my Harrier cleverer tricks?

Ready for off.
 July 2014 when I walked from home for The Viking Way.


  1. Happy flying.
    That could be a good virtual way of doing some of those LDWs you have in your locker.

  2. If yuh gonna sing the blues, make things easier for yuhself - stick mainly to single-syllable words. If yuh find yuh need an extra in the line nothing's simpler: just add one! As a fr'instance: "yuh" becomes "you-uh"

    Here's one yuh know dang well. Better still it's "of uncertain origin".

    Folks, I'm goin' down to St. James Infirmary
    See my baby there
    She's stretched out on a long, white table
    She so sweet, so cold, so fair

    Let her go, let her go, God bless her
    Wherever she may be
    She will search this wide world over
    But she'll never find another sweet man like me

    Now when I die, bury me in my straight-leg britches
    Put on a box-back coat and a Stetson hat
    Put a twenty-dollar gold piece on my watch chain
    So you can let all th...

    But, I hear yuh say, some o' these words got more'n one syllable. I hear yuh. So just break um up and give the bits equal value. Just like this:

    In - firm - mah - ree

    Wanna be real clever? Cut one syllable out, no one will ever know.

    In - firm - ree

    See. Blues is real easy.

  3. BC and RR - BC in a phone conversation also said he found himself trying to sing it as a blues. It was not my intention to base it on the old New Orleans stuff, I was using the word in its more general sense. I have mo natural gift for scansion and can only fall back on what, in my case, would be loosely called free verse. I am conscious of trying to make the thing flow and work hard towards that. I find I can satisfy myself, up to a point, by how I read or say it to myself, but wonder if other readers would do the same. Perhaps I should put it out as a vocal?

  4. How would you define your version of free verse? Or, how would you distinguish it from common-or-garden prose other than breaking it up into separate lines.

    "Blues" generally implies the author is speaking out of a sense of depression, sadness, gloom, futility. If this is the case the simple answer would seem to be a kit with fewer decals. Or a letter to the kit manufacturer complaining about decal excess.

    Scansion is mainly a matter of counting the beats and recognising the emphases (ie, the di-dahs). When listening to jazz do you feel a need to tap with your toes or your fingers? If so you are halfway there.

    To put it out as a vocal would suggest there was tune lurking somewhere. To help the reader it's traditional to add a pointer. Eg, Sung to Onward Christian Soldiers.

  5. RR - at the risk of egotism I would hardly call my effort "common-o'-garden prose." Using metaphor and simile and intertwining four separate subjects: pandemic, model making, flying and walking, in a concise form to convey my sombre reflection is at least one step beyond mundane prose, and you seem to acknowledge I have at least achieved my objective of conveying my mood.

    Yes I do tap out the rhythm when listening to jazz, and even sometimes with classical music. I enjoy putting the words together, but that enjoyment would be spoiled if I had to concentrate also on rhyme and scansion and I have a pessimistic feeling of others pointing out I have missed half a syllable somewhere. I have great admiration of those that have the gift and there is no doubt that a formal structure can add a new dimension.

    I tried to sing my lines to the tune of St. Jame's I but couldn't get started - it was like patting the stomach and rubbing the head at the same time. I just don't have that innate sense for performing music that you wish upon me.

  6. I try my damndest to make things clear but you wilfully misread what I write. I put a question in two different ways: What is verse? How is verse distinguished from prose? I did not say say what you had written was prose.

    I'll put the question in yet a different way: What are your aims when writing verse? What are your aims when writing prose? How do they differ?

    Metaphor and simile can be employed in verse and prose; subjects can be intertwined in both; sombre reflections the same; conveying mood the same. Both verse and prose can express "the blues" when the word is used generally. In its more specialised (ie, musical) form there might well be a case for saying that the accompanying song has to be verse rather than prose.

    I don't really expect you to answer any of these questions; defining verse (more often - poetry) is notoriously difficult. Chambers dictionary is unsatisfactory when it comes to "poem"..

    A composition in verse; a composition of high beauty of thought or language and artistic form, typically, but not necessarily, in verse; anything supremely harmonious and satisfying.

    But perhaps the questions should be borne in mind. The most significant word in that definition, to my mind, is "harmonious" since it seems to imply resolved rhythms. It's not possible to say that a poem must be rhythmic, but a poem that ignores rhythmic forms must surely strive mightily to achieve poetic status by other means.

    Given that Dr Johnson also wrote Lives of the English Poets as well as his dictionary I did wonder how he tackled the definition. It may not be of any great practical help but I rather liked: "Poetry is the art on uniting pleasure with truth, by calling imagination to the help of reason." A salutary thought.

  7. RR - I was trying to define the difference between prose and verse in my piece and the key part of my response was "in a concise way." But as you say, it is not am easy concept to define. One ting about verse or poetry is that the backstory is often omitted, perhaps to achieve that conciseness, but I suspect also because the writer just wants to express their own feelings about something without too much motivation to clarify with a potential reader. Unless you know what the writer is writing about you can be lost before you start. Sometimes we are given a clue from the title.

    Of course I am well aware that all those linguistic techniques can be used in prose but rarely so closely packed together and intertwined.