2014 Poetry Theme Challenge

#09 Old Buildings

Sometimes you can just feel the essence of history in an building built in previous centuries, even if they are rundown, or even sparse ruins. I was lucky enough to visit Stratford-upon- Avon a few weeks ago and spend some time wandering the home of Shakespeare and somehow feel a little more connected to the Bard of Avon. So this theme is about what you pick up or imagine when seeing an old building - what is its history saying.

Quote - These old buildings do not belong to us, they belong to our forefathers and they will belong to our descendants unless we play them false. They are not in any sense our own property to do with as we like with them. We are only trustees for those that come after us. - William Morris

Love Among the Ruins


Where the quiet-coloured end of evening smiles,
Miles and miles
On the solitary pastures where our sheep
Tinkle homeward thro' the twilight, stray or stop
As they crop---
Was the site once of a city great and gay,
(So they say)
Of our country's very capital, its prince
Ages since
Held his court in, gathered councils, wielding far
Peace or war.


Now,---the country does not even boast a tree,
As you see,
To distinguish slopes of verdure, certain rills
From the hills
Intersect and give a name to, (else they run
Into one)
Where the domed and daring palace shot its spires
Up like fires
O'er the hundred-gated circuit of a wall
Bounding all,
Made of marble, men might march on nor be pressed,
Twelve abreast.


And such plenty and perfection, see, of grass
Never was!
Such a carpet as, this summer-time, o'erspreads
And embeds
Every vestige of the city, guessed alone,
Stock or stone---
Where a multitude of men breathed joy and woe
Long ago;
Lust of glory pricked their hearts up, dread of shame
Struck them tame;
And that glory and that shame alike, the gold
Bought and sold.


Now,---the single little turret that remains
On the plains,
By the caper overrooted, by the gourd
While the patching houseleek's head of blossom winks
Through the chinks---
Marks the basement whence a tower in ancient time
Sprang sublime,
And a burning ring, all round, the chariots traced
As they raced,
And the monarch and his minions and his dames
Viewed the games.


And I know, while thus the quiet-coloured eve
Smiles to leave
To their folding, all our many-tinkling fleece
In such peace,
And the slopes and rills in undistinguished grey
Melt away---
That a girl with eager eyes and yellow hair
Waits me there
In the turret whence the charioteers caught soul
For the goal,
When the king looked, where she looks now, breathless, dumb
Till I come.


But he looked upon the city, every side,
Far and wide,
All the mountains topped with temples, all the glades'
All the causeys, bridges, aqueducts,---and then,
All the men!
When I do come, she will speak not, she will stand,
Either hand
On my shoulder, give her eyes the first embrace
Of my face,
Ere we rush, ere we extinguish sight and speech
Each on each.


In one year they sent a million fighters forth
South and North,
And they built their gods a brazen pillar high
As the sky,
Yet reserved a thousand chariots in full force---
Gold, of course.
Oh heart! oh blood that freezes, blood that burns!
Earth's returns
For whole centuries of folly, noise and sin!
Shut them in,
With their triumphs and their glories and the rest!
Love is best.

Robert Browning

Old Buildings Theme Challenge

Terry Clitheroe

Old Buildings
Pyremont Hotel

Divena Collins

The Haunting
Old Rurale Englysh Inn

Eric Rivelino

Cathedral Windows

Terry Clitheroe

Old Buildings

Every time you drive to Bendigo from Melbourne
You'll see a big, old, grey building
Every 25 miles
The distance a prisoner could walk in a day
Starting from the docks
Where the prison ships landed.

Each night they were fed then chained inside
Hardly the Ritz
More like the Pits
Of Hell.

They were prisoners, but not criminals
If you stole more than a shilling in value
You were hanged.

If they had stolen it was food
To feed their starving families
More likely they were political dissenters
Trade unionist, radicals
Who wanted what they were entitled to.

For 7 years they were slaves
Working in gold mines to build the wealth
Of England.
If you survived you were free
To stay in Australia
But not allowed back to England.

Perhaps that was a reward,
Who knows?


The Pyrmont Hotel

It's 5.30 on Wednesday
And I'm sitting in a bar in Sydney
The Guinness goes down well
Bad Medicine is playing on the juke box
Thumping out it's raucous sound
The Guinness is going down well
As the record changes
The mob of drunks opposite
Scream out in unrestrained happiness
Corrupting the words of the song
From rocking to "Drinking all over the world".
It sure is fun.

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Divena Collins

The Haunting

The wind had battered the moors
A house stood empty and old.
No one lived there for many a year
It stood there bleak and cold.

A sign that swayed to and fro
blew in the wind by a gate
this sign had read 'house for sale'
eighteen hundred and eight.

No one dared to visit this house
a haunting took place inside
the lady in white was said to walk
in wedding attire as bride.

as years went by a handsome Lord
wed a fine lady renowned
this was to be their dwelling place
no better home was found.

tragedy struck on their wedding night
their beautiful home all aglow
caught alight by a tallow candle
in the drawing room below.

It was the bride that sadly perished
on that cold and windy night
her Lord tried in vain to save her
but alas he had lost the fight.

Years gone by the house was rebuilt
a ghost in search of her groom,
sadness was felt with tear filled eyes
she haunts all of the rooms.

But still she is calling out his name
thro 'howling wind and gales
still he may touch her broken heart
within if spirits prevail

The battered house shall still remain
from past there was no future
though deserted it shall never regain
the rights of historical tenure.

A sign that swayed to and fro
blew in the wind by a gate
this sign had read`house for sale`
three thousand and eight.


Olde Rurale Englysh Inne

Thee fightin' cocks a grande olde Inne ye shalt supp doune a fyne porta ale fro' a peutered flagon theyre within wythe nibbels o' rype Wensleydale. Theye wenches bee awillen toe serve ande theye drinken a flagon wyth thee curteous ande strongge off thee nerve 'tis beste toe valuee theyre cumpannee. 'Tys thee oldeste Inne of Englande Saint Albans qayntly olde Village, Centuryes onn with an ale att hande, Ghoasts stille reeken fro' spyllage.

The Fighting Cocks Inn - Saint Albans, Hertfordshire

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Eric Rivelino

Cathedral Windows

Heaven's eye trawls history's wall to find
ghostly kings who patrol cathedral halls, holy
elegies enthral. The inquiring bells bind
threads missing from Canterbury's tapestry.
Sun passes through miracle windows, discrete saints
seek seers among the tourist multitude. Cathedral
forms attract heaven's eye to forever haunt
saints governed by glass. Fading voices fall
away from Christmas mass. Moonlight tempts Anselm
to trespass, miracles are tested, passed, waiting
for prayer. The morning sun gloves moonlight's palm,
dreams arm elusive architects who are designing
a staircase without end as I walk through
Canterbury, the churches within are built anew.

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