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Feb 11 · 398
Paul Hansford Feb 11
We named you Daisy
for your white fur, because
you were "short-haired white".
Not only that,
you were not blue-eyed or orange-eyed,
but "odd-eyed white,"
one orange and one blue.

I took you to school
to show you to the children,
and they loved your strange beauty,
drew pictures of you
with their white, blue and orange crayons.

You lived as our other cats did,
tame house-cat in the day,
but free to come and go;
half-wild at night,
following your instincts,
even if they were dangerous at times.

Then, one sunny morning, as I watched
from the bedroom window,
I saw you running back home,
heading across the road, and that time
it really was dangerous,
as a car came past, exceeding the speed limit,
because in a race between speeding car
and running cat,
in the event of a tie,
the cat loses.

I ran downstairs and found you
by the gate,
warm and unmarked
but unmoving, unbreathing

Carrying you gently to the back garden,
I laid you on the ground,
preparing to dig your grave,
as Marmaduke, our tomcat, came by.
Not the father of any kittens,
but surrogate to all our females,
after a birth
he knew what to do.
He would visit briefly,
sniff the mother, sniff the kittens,
walk off, apparently unconcerned,
and a day or two later
return with a mouse for mother.
That was his function.
That’s what fathers do,
even surrogates.

Only that day there was no birth,
no kittens,
and this time . . .
he sniffed at you,
at the hole I had started digging,
and walked off
in complete puzzlement.
This time he did not know what to do.
If you're interested, you could try another, rather similar, one of mine -
Nov 2018 · 494
Rose (original version)
Paul Hansford Nov 2018
Ready to unfold from dawn's cold grey mist,,
Accepting the light that she cannot resist.
She'll krnow to follow nature's sweet path,
To reveal the beauty that only she hath

A spiral of petals that twist from the core,
Silky pages that open in her moment, not before.
She opens with colours that call tender touch,
Who knew that a rose could hold so much?

Her petals now open, but the bud always there,
Holding her strong, yet so fragile and fair.
This was written many years ago by a girl whose name I have regrettably forgotten. At the time I was foolish enough not to realise the meaning behind it, and I added four lines to turn it into a sonnet. Later I made it into the first version of Bee-Man and, after another long time, to the (currently final) Bee-Man poem. I wish I could now acknowledge the original writer.
Oct 2018 · 263
Overlapping the Bard
Paul Hansford Oct 2018
Have you noticed how people are always quoting
England’s greatest playwright and poet?
Oh, it’s not just the “such sweet sorrow”
Romeo spoke of so eloquently to his Juliet,
yet “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”
stays in the memory as much as Portia’s “quality of mercy,”
Caesar’s “Et tu, Brute”, Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” …
(2B even learn it, but do they understand it?)
and it’s more than “All the world’s a stage” that makes the language rich.
Richard III’s “My kingdom for a horse” is another he’s remembered for,
or the “Double, double, toil and trouble” of Macbeth’s witches,
which is perhaps better known than Lady M’s “Out ****** spot.”
Spot the Quote, though, after “Once more unto the breach, dear friends,”
If you don't see any rhymes here you're looking in the wrong place. The end of each line overlaps / rhymes with the beginning of the next. (POET / OH IT; sorROW / ROmeo; TO BE / 2B; etc.).
Oct 2018 · 1.3k
Paul Hansford Oct 2018
I’ve done it,
A new kind of verse,
All by counting syllables.
The lines all have odd numbers of them.
One, three, five, seven and nine,
Then back down to one.
Just like this,

Paul Verlaine,
Famous French poet,
Claimed there was more music in
Lines with odd numbers of syllables.
I can’t say if he was right.
Is there music in
This simple

Number three
In my collection
Of syllable-counted verse.
They are not really too difficult.
So now what shall I call them?
That is the question,
As Hamlet

Make it a Greek word.
Now what’s Greek for forty-one?
E n a k a i s a r a n d a s y l l a b i c s.
That is what I can call them.
Such an easy name,
Don’t you think?

I’ll tell you.
Why don’t you try it?
Not so easy now, is it?
Can’t you think of anything at all?
Are you ready to give up?
Can’t say I blame you.
That’s all now.
As far as I know, I really invented this form, and anyone who wants to try it is welcome to have a go. I'd be pleased if you'd comment here to tell me, or message me.
Btw, enakaisaranda is Greek for forty-one, and with it having six syllables just by itself, how could I resist it?
Oct 2018 · 1.2k
Paul Hansford Oct 2018
My ultimate ambition in life
is to be recycled. When I die
I shall not be put
with the newspapers, cardboard boxes,
plastic bottles,
and aluminium foil
into the green bin
to be collected on alternate Tuesdays
- that is not dignified
for a human,
and besides it is unhygienic.

But recycled I will be
into soil and air,
beetle, centipede and blackbird,
and the blossom
that every year comes
and fades.
I'll be back.
Oct 2018 · 385
Laterality *
Paul Hansford Oct 2018
Why does the right hand get all the good jobs,
like greeting visiting dignitaries
(such a pleasure) ,
or blowing farewell kisses to the one you love
(such sweet sorrow) ,
or playing the melody while the left
has to oompah along in the bass?
Right-handers get the best adjectives too.
I mean, we’d all like to be
adroit (as the French have it) .
So why do we poor southpaws have to be
gauche or, while we’re about it, gawky?
Tactless, without grace, ungainly, awkward,
physically and socially inept, that’s us.
And Latin’s no better.
We’d like to be dextrous too.
What makes us
sinister? Was Dracula
left-handed, or something?

Even when we can hammer
or saw or paint or drive a *****
with either hand equally,
or cut the nails on both sets of fingers,
they only say we are ambi-
dextrous, which is a bit of a left-handed
compliment, treating the left
as if it were an honorary right,
as if it had no right
to be skilful
in its own right.

I suppose my left hand ought to be grateful
(in this respect) that I was not born
into a tradition where it is laid down
what each hand can do. It could have been
condemned to a lifetime
of bottom-wiping and not much else,
and becoming cack-
handed in more ways than one.
Oct 2018 · 1.7k
Meeting in Jerusalem *
Paul Hansford Oct 2018
We didn’t go to Mea-She’arim on Saturday
because they throw stones at cars there on the Sabbath.
We wanted to see the locals, certainly,
but only to look in a respectful way. We had not expected
to make contact. But crossing the road
you dropped your book – Torah or commentary,
how was I to know? You didn’t notice the loss of it.
I picked up the book, ran after you.
Not knowing how to address you, I touched your sleeve.
You turned to me, took the proffered book
without a word, and looked at me. Your eyes,
beneath your strange hat, between your side-curls,
showed no expression. You turned away.
Was your garment unclean now? Did the volume
need to be purified? I was only
returning your book. We had not expected
to make contact.
Oct 2018 · 366
Pink Cheeks, Green Apples
Paul Hansford Oct 2018
My mother was the tenth
of eleven children,
all born, on average,
two years apart.
So her mother,
- my grandmother -
was, as far as I was concerned,
always old.

She had pink, wrinkly cheeks,
like an apple that’s been kept too long,
and, to go with the apple cheeks,
she smiled a lot.

I had heard of Granny Smith apples,
and assumed they were like my gran,
pink and wrinkled,
but when I found out
they were shiny
and green,
I was deeply shocked.

Fair enough,
green was her favourite colour,
so that wasn't too bad,
but . . . shiny!
I never really got over the shock,
and, however long ago it was,
I still can't quite forgive them for that.
Paul Hansford Oct 2018
Consider the Paradoxical Frog,
so named because it is several times smaller
than its p h e n o m e n a l l y huge tadpole.
(But then, look at people,
whose achievements often fail to match
the promise they once showed.)

The Second law of Thermodynamics
Out of winter, spring,
out of spring, summer,
then autumn, winter,
and out of winter, spring,
always the same.
Out of the bud, growth,
out of the flower, seed,
out of death, life.
Entropy always increases.

Once you were within my reach.
Suddenly you became a
g l i t
  t e r
    i n g

Just wait, I thought, I can change too.
Why did I have to turn into a frog?
Paul Hansford Oct 2018
Born on Boxing Day
(the day after Christmas Day),
she lived a hundred and one years
- all through the Great War
that failed to end all wars,
the social revolution of the twenties,
and the great depression,
before marrying at the age of twenty-five.
And even then she had to declare
her father’s occupation
on the marriage certificate
as if "father : ostler" defined her.
The marriage took place on Christmas Day
to save the expense of another family gathering.
She never went out to work after that,
no longer just her father’s daughter
but proud to be a wife and mother,
first in rented rooms with a shared outside privy,
then to a modern house “like a palace”
with a refrigerator
and a washing machine
and a garden
where her husband could grow things.
She always loved babies and children
and even at the last,
after years of advancing dementia,
with eyesight, hearing, mobility, and memory failing,
she would always come to life
in their company,
everything forgotten except how much she loved them.
We finally said goodbye, knowing
that although she had little to give
except love,
she gave it to the end.
My lovely mother-in-law.
Oct 2018 · 153
What not to say
Paul Hansford Oct 2018
Say not it was by the ocean,
in the country or the town.
Say not if the sun was shining
or the rain was beating down.

Say not it was morning or evening,
or the high noonday or night.
Say not it was summer or winter,
or springtime, or autumn bright.

Say not what she was wearing.
Say not what colour her hair.
Say not how magical her smile.
Say only: She was there.
This is one of many that I lost when Poetfreak collapsed under the weight of malicious spammers. I'm glad to say that a proportion of those have been recovered by the new owners of the site, and I hope that other writers here who suffered similarly may be able to renew their collections.
Sep 2018 · 811
My photograph album *
Paul Hansford Sep 2018
I have an album
where I keep photos
of places I have lived
places I have visited
people I have known
people I have loved
I keep films
of things I have done
things I have seen
things I even think I have forgotten
but they are all there

you who read this
may not have known the people
not been to the places
not seen what happened
but I can tell you about them

those photos
those films
are not in a book
not in a computer
not even on a memory stick
I keep them wirelessly
in my mind
and I call them up at will
or they come to me
happy or sad
without my wishing it

but the difficult part is
that the drive can be corrupted
memories can be lost
and the day will come
when they will all be erased
unless I can recreate the photos
in your mind
remake the films
by telling you about them

then if you read what I have written
you may make your own pictures
from my thoughts
my words
my memories
and maybe some of them
can live on

I hope they will
Sep 2018 · 280
The First Time
Paul Hansford Sep 2018
I was only seventeen, and you were about the same,
and I knew nothing about you – I barely knew your name.
But I looked at you, and you looked at me, and we looked at each other, and then…
I knew, the first time you smiled at me, I wanted to see you again.

So I went where I knew I could find you, and asked you to go on a date,
and you looked quite shy, but you said you would, and I knew it must be fate.
And I looked at you, and you looked at me, and we looked at each other, and then…
I knew, the first time I held your hand, I wanted to hold you again.

We were crossing the river. The sky was grey, but the sun came bursting through,
and lit up your hair like a coppery flame, and I couldn’t stop looking at you.
Yes, I looked at you, and you looked at me, and we looked at each other, and then…
I knew, the first time I stroked your hair, I wanted to touch you again.

Then we walked in the park and we sat on a bench, and (I still see it all so clear)
my arm was round your shoulder, and your face was oh, so near.
And I looked at you, and you looked at me, and we looked at each other, and then…
I knew, the first time I kissed you, I wanted to kiss you again.

You were everything I wanted – well, that’s the way it seemed –
everything I wanted and all that I’d ever dreamed.
For we met again, and I held you again, and we kissed again and again,
and I’d never known a feeling like the happiness I felt then.

But life doesn’t stay that perfect, and dreams don‘t always come true,
and there came the day that you told me you had found somebody new.
And I looked at you, and you looked at me, and we looked at each other, and then…
I knew, the one time you broke my heart, I could never be happy again.

But, though young hearts are easily broken, it’s surprising how soon they can mend.
So after you there were other girls, and now I have more than a friend.
But I still think of you with affection (even if it is just now and then)
for the one you remember as first love is never forgotten again.
Sep 2018 · 196
Noche de San Juan
Paul Hansford Sep 2018
Aquella noche
la playa era llena de hogueras,
y las olas entraban misteriosas,
cargadas de espuma,
de los paísos antiguos.
Y en la playa
llena de hogueras y magia
quemamos nuestros deseos de papel,
porque esta noche tal vez se podrían realizar.
Entonces, poco dispuestos a esperar, corrimos
unos minutos antes de la medianoche
en la mar misteriosa, antigua, pagana,
y nos sumergimos en la espuma.
Surgisteis vosotras,
gritando en las olas
con la alegría de esta noche.
Cuando subieron fuegos en el cielo,
y algunos, cayendo en la mar,
estallaron de nuevo allí,
entre las olas mismas,
saltasteis tambien, gritando
con la energía de esta noche mágica.
Y más tarde, cuando éramos casi
los últimos quedando en la mar,
salimos a la playa
llena de hogueras y amor.
Spanish version of San Juan Night.
Both versions written at the same time, a more effective way of writing in two languages than to write one and then translate it.  So there are a few subtle differences.
Sep 2018 · 379
San Juan Night
Paul Hansford Sep 2018
That night
the beach was full of fires,
and the waves rolled in mysterious,
from the ancient lands.
And on the beach
full of fires and magic
we burned our paper wishes,
for that night they might even come true.
Then, because we were unwilling to wait
the last few minutes, we ran
a little before midnight
into the mysterious, ancient, pagan sea
and submerged ourselves in the foam.
You rose up,
shouting amid the waves
with the joy of that night.
When fireworks shot into the sky,
and some, falling to the sea,
exploded there again
to shoot from the very waves,
you also leapt up, shouting
with the energy of that magic night.
And later, when we were almost
the last remaining in the sea,
we went up onto the beach
full of fires and love.
Noche de San Juan, 23 June, a celebration of midsummer, made into a Christian festival.
The best way to write a piece in two languages is to do both versions at the same time, so there are a couple of places where the Spanish is not a literal translation of the English.
Note: the "you" who leapt up in the sea is plural and female, as the Spanish version makes clear, and the "love" in the last line is of a general nature, not romantic at all.
Sep 2018 · 571
Hiroshima (senryu)
Paul Hansford Sep 2018
eight sixteen a.m.
    a light explodes in the sky
        time stops forever
I thought the well-known 5-7-5 syllable format would suit the theme, short, sharp and sudden, as well as originally being a Japanese format.  There is one detail that doesn't suit the form, however, as these poems are not meant to have a title.
Sep 2018 · 10.7k
Bucket List? -- Not Me!
Paul Hansford Sep 2018
Many people write a "bucket list" of things they want to do before they die.  Now in my 80th year, I don't have the time or the energy to do things that others might aim for, but I have during my life visited many places, seen many things, and enjoyed many experiences that I would have been sorry to miss. There have also been some events that I would have preferred not to experience, but which have enriched my life in different ways, and which I remember with a kind of sad affection.  
Some of these are very personal to me, and would not be interesting to most people, but read the note if you wonder why I chose them.

Here then is what I might call  
                                                My Reverse Bucket List

Towns and cities – architecture & atmosphere
   Barcelona, Spain
   Venice, Italy
   Oxford, England
   Jerusalem, Israel
   Luxor, Egypt
   Varanasi, India
   Hiroshima, Japan
   Pompeii, Italy

Other locations
   Galápagos islands, Ecuador
   Great Barrier Reef, Australia
   North Woolwich, London

   St Paul's Cathedral, London
   Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
   Coventry Cathedral
   Córdoba Cathedral, Spain
   Blue Mosque, Istanbul

Other structures
   Taj Mahal, Agra
   Auschwitz concentration camp, Poland
   Royal Festival Hall, London
   London underground system (because it was the first, and I rode it for a long time).  Also the more splendid underground railways of Mexico City and Moscow.
   Avebury Ring, Wiltshire, England (the largest prehistoric stone circle in the world, and much more primitive than Stonehenge)
   Bayeux Tapestry 
   "Angel of the North" statue, Gateshead, England
   "Christ the Redeemer" statue, Rio, Brazil

   Messiah at Royal Festival Hall, Feb 1959, with the girl later to be my wife
   St John's night, Spain, early 1990s (?)
   Death and funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, Aug 1997
   Oberammergau passion play, 2010
   Destruction of World Trade Centre, Sept 2001
I haven't added explanatory notes, but a lot of them are easy enough to look up, and if you message me about any mysterious items, I'll answer as best I can. There are poems in my stream connected with some things on the list, though not all are obvious.
Paul Hansford Aug 2018
1 - Limerick

If you wanted to go to the moon
you wouldn’t go in a balloon.
    The hot air inside
    gives a nice quiet ride,
but you'd come back to earth much too soon.

2 - Senryu

With all that puffing
    his cheeks, so round, so scarlet
         – just like the balloon.

3 - Diamond poem

           puff hard.
        That’s better,
      getting  bigger,
balloon’s fat and round.
     No more blowing,
       that’s enough.
          Look out.
Any offers for another? Anyone?
Aug 2018 · 1.5k
Golden Wedding -- sonnet
Paul Hansford Aug 2018
When we first stood, those fifty years ago,
outside the church together, man and wife,
we had no way of knowing if our life
was bound for sun and smiles or tears and snow.
In the event, we had our share of each.
When children came, as we continued longer,
the highs and lows made our love all the stronger,
and happiness was never out of reach.
Together, then, we've weathered many a storm,
and having lasted now for half a century
I think we're justified to call it victory
to know our love continues just as warm.
(Although age may reduce youth's fiery passion,
a long, slow smoulder's never out of fashion.)
Thanks to all who've commented/loved this. I guess I'd better update it next year, as it's going to be the Diamond Wedding!
Aug 2018 · 4.4k
Inconsequential Syllables *
Paul Hansford Aug 2018
The first cold letters, alone on the page.
A quick pencil found them,
and the lively and beautiful syllables blossomed.
The pale book felt the pencil,
and the terrifying, hot words entered.
The lines grew, living and sensitive,
gleaming as never before,
and I knew the unheard lines!

First, a tiny and unselfconscious sound.
A noun struggled to appear among overpowering words.
A strong, golden adjective ran out,
a short, fragrant adjective, beautiful in the early spring.
A young verb grew among tiny blue conjunctions,
and a fortuitous adverb understood, instinctively.

The first sentence dreamed of trees, and a sad cloud.
It dreamed a grey rain,
and the tall trees felt the rain.
There was a first and unknown river,
imagined, inconsequential, like snow in summer.
A red bird glided beyond reach,
as if it had never happened.
The soft sounds fitted the lines,
and the quick bird cried,
Remember the short rain!
Remember the sad poem!
This one was a "collaboration" between myself and what would now be called an app on my computer. First I entered lists of nouns, adjectives and adverbs (including adverbial phrases), then clicked to start the process. Please note, the computer did not "compose" the lines, it just gave me some ideas, on which I had to work quite a lot. Streams of sentences poured out onto my printer, most of them complete nonsense, and when I had enough I pressed Stop, and started the process of weeding out the *******, editing the more promising lines, and re-arranging the order. My favourite line is "There was a first and unknown river," which I could never have dreamed up by myself.
Aug 2018 · 291
Beginning Again *
Paul Hansford Aug 2018
There are journeys from which (for all practical purposes)
it is not possible to arrive anywhere,
except perhaps, after considerable stress,
the place that you started from.
Come with me. It is only
the setting out that is difficult.
Put your hand in mine and we will begin
our journey together. It may be long,
it may be hazardous, but the value of the journey
is not related to its length,
nor to the hazards overcome,
nor to the places we may visit, though they be many.
It lies rather in the fact of having set out
in the hopeless hope of discovering
something at the end of it all.
At least we can try - the value is in the trying.
Put your hand in mine. It is only
the setting out that is difficult.
Ouch! I just discovered this one from 1994 that's never been online before.
Paul Hansford Aug 2018
This lived-in face has seen the years go by
at such a wild and unforgiving pace.
My powers are weak, though my aims may be high,
and troubles are all bound to leave their trace.

And while I always feel the need to brace
myself against life's storms, I know that I
can never win. Death always plays his ace.
This lived-in face has seen the years go by.

It's little help to know the rules apply
to every member of the human race.
Dark clouds are growing in my evening sky
at such a wild and unforgiving pace.

In this vast universe I have my place,
but can my thoughts outlast me when I die?
or speak to those in other time or space?
My powers are weak, though my aims may be high.

Yet while dark thoughts of gloom may multiply,
to let them win would be a sad disgrace,
though many things may make me want to cry,
and troubles are all bound to leave their trace.

Yes, my mortality I must embrace,
not waste my time in always asking why,
or fearing not to do things just in case."
I'll dry those tears. There's no point to deny
this lived-in face.
If you looked up the rules for this form, you wouldn't find them telling you to repeat the first half-line in a way that rhymes with anything, but since my first one, where it came out that way by accident, I do them like this, and it's only a little more difficult.
Paul Hansford Aug 2018
The setting sun shone on the lapping tide
as pensively I walked along the sand.
Above my head the soaring seabirds cried
their wild, sad cry from some forgotten land.
That golden evening, there among the rocks,
far from the noisy city's roar and rush,
I saw him sitting, on his knee a box
of watercolours, in his hand a brush.

Oh, had I but the skill, the painter's art,
to fix the scene in colours like that man.
I went towards him, stood a step apart,
over his shoulder tried his work to scan.
A masterpiece, or was it? No such luck!
Just filling in cartoons of Donald Duck.
A totally true story, but for one detail.  The cartoons were not of Donald Duck, but another Disney character - Pluto
Aug 2018 · 138
Spring -- sonnet/acrostic
Paul Hansford Aug 2018
S pring always comes, however slow it seems,
A nd on the trees at last from sleeping wood
N ew growth sprouts green where black twigs starkly stood.
D istant the winter now; like far-off dreams
R ecalling snow, white blossom-petals fall
A nd throw confetti down on warming earth.

H ere after months of sleep the signs of birth
A s daffodils ****** up and songbirds call.
N ow the breeze blows more gently on fresh grass,
S un gives its blessing, sky's a softer blue.
F rom greener woods then pipes the bold cuckoo.
O ur thoughts move on to summer. Spring will pass,
R ipe summer turn to fall, and winter, then,
D epend upon it, spring will come again.
Dedicated to my dear wife.
Aug 2018 · 783
Almost a Poem *
Paul Hansford Aug 2018
By any normally accepted standard
three words are scarcely sufficient
to be considered a poem.
The Japanese, who have a gift for conciseness,
might be sympathetic.
(Haiku, after all,
    at seventeen syllables,
       are pretty compact.)
But three words! It's not so much concise as,
to put it bluntly, short.
If I say that, when I try to write a poem for you,
"I love you" is all I can think of,
that is no excuse.
And the fact that my meaning is new and unique
(for me and for you)
makes no difference either.
If only there were some way out of my difficulty.
I love you, I love you, I love you.
There, that's nine words.
Will that do?
Written in 1984 and only just re-discovered in the booklet of the competition it was written for.
Aug 2018 · 380
Growing up -- sonnet *
Paul Hansford Aug 2018
"Write fourteen lines on Growing Up, a sonnet,"
the teacher told us. "Don't forget, the rhymes
must make a pattern; I've told you several times.
The subject's easy. You've all got ideas on it."

Who does he think I am? Some second Milton?
Another Shakespeare? An Eliot? A Tennyson?
Compared to theirs, my mind's as dead as venison,
slightly less fresh than over-ripened Stilton.

"A poem's the equivalent in words
of something I once felt," the poet said.
Clues to another's feelings, like the sherds

of ancient pots, or jigsaws in the head.
A few curt words my feelings clearly tell,
one simple sentence: Growing Up is ****.
This was homework, not for me, but my 15-year-old son.  I, however, took up the challenge and wrote the above - in 1984.
Aug 2018 · 222
All Chinese to me
Paul Hansford Aug 2018
I could say
   “Ni hao”
for “Good morning,”
and it was only polite to say
    “Xie xie”
for “Thank you.”

That was my limit
until, in a babble of unfamiliar sounds,
I heard the word, “**-murr,”
and then again, “**-murr.”
**-murr? I thought.
Do they have The Simpsons in China?
But it was only “back door.”

Later, struggling to board a bus by the middle door,
I heard the conductor say,
– and I could even hear the exclamation mark –
I knew this time he wasn’t talking about The Simpsons,
and I had a pretty good idea
he wasn’t a fan of classical Greek poetry either.

But I didn’t want to be left on the pavement
when he closed all the doors and drove off.
So I just squeezed in by the middle door,
as if it was all Chinese to me.
I just re-discovered this on a memory stick I had completely forgotten.  It dates from a trip we made to China several years ago - no, make that "many years ago."  Unfortunately, My computer doesn't recognise the Chinese characters, so I have to rely on the phonetic version.
Paul Hansford Jun 2018
I love you.

- I love you 2.

- I love you 3.

- I love you 4 ever.
May 2018 · 248
I blew you up
Paul Hansford May 2018
I admit it.
I blew you up.
No ill-feeling,
I just had to do it.

There you were,
so small,
so young,
so innocent,
and I blew you up.

I had nothing against you.
In fact I rather liked you.
I still do like you,
quite a lot,
but it had to be done.

You need to understand,
that photo of you was so tiny
I couldn’t even tell
if it was you or not.

So I blew you up
until you filled the screen,
and I could see that it really was you.
You looked so much better like that,
much younger,
but still you.

So I checked the colours
and saved it.
Oh yes, I kept the original too,
so that I still had what you had sent me.

But you must agree.
You were so small,
I just had to blow you up.

I hope you don’t mind.
May 2018 · 360
Poem in Autumn
Paul Hansford May 2018
As autumn weaves its spell and colours change,
long days of summer fade into the past
and spring's soft green is but a memory.
The leaves, so lately fallen from the trees,
shrivelled and brown, now lie upon the earth.
The morning chill brings hint of frosts to come
while pale sun weakly shines, and sets too soon.
As weeks go by and days grow shorter yet
winter moves on. Then slowly fails the light,
and soon enough will come the longest night.
I wrote this (or at least posted it to another site) in October 2014, and thought it had been lost, but it had been saved to a memory stick, and I've just found it again.  I remember that when I first posted it I had no inkling that there was another meaning to it, and only recently, as I age more, do I understand what it was really about.
Paul Hansford Apr 2018
There was so much we never did together,
places to go and other lands to try,
so much we could have learned about each other,
so many things to say before goodbye.

Nobody ever knew how much I suffered,
but, using all the strength that I could find,
I always coped. My strategies were successful,
the ache of separation left behind

So many times the same has happened to me,
and every time the anguish will restart,
just as intense. Although it's so familiar,
regret comes like a band around my heart.

Falling in love, each time's a new experience;
the same thing goes for learning how to part.
A big thank-you to Mary Elizabeth for her very welcome contribution, which has turned this into a proper sonnet. If you haven’t seen the first version, it's a few posts back in my stream, but this is better.
Paul Hansford Apr 2018
You might not have noticed that I changed my profile to mention some poems that I put on YouTube.  If you're at all interested in hearing the readings, you could try reading the new profile and following the simple steps.

This post will be deleted soon, but if you like, you can comment here, or message me.
Apr 2018 · 200
All round my Hat
Paul Hansford Apr 2018
All round my hat I wear a lot of badges,
all round my hat, for many and many a day.

A disc of abalone shell from New Zealand;
a jester’s mask decorated with four glittering glass jewels (Venice,
though we weren’t there for the carnival) :
the Stars and Stripes, given to me in New York
in the weeks after 9/11, when you could hardly move
for huge examples of the national flag;
three lions, for England;
a bull, for Spain, even though I hate bull-fighting;
a liner (Alaska Cruise,2000, but we've done other cruises) :
and a gold-coloured jet plane, for all the journeys we have made;
a small badge of a very large statue, Christ the Redeemer (Rio) :
the seashell of St James, with his special cross on it
(Santiago de Compostela, though we didn’t walk the Camino) :
a very tiny badge of the ****** of Guadalupe in Mexico;
and a shiny gold-coloured outline of a dove
(Carcassonne cathedral) representing the Holy Spirit;
King Kong, my biggest badge, appropriately:
a smaller-scale hero, Winnie-the-Pooh, a gift from my daughter:
a koala decorated in crushed opal (Australia) :
a stripy cat on a tartan ribbon (Edinburgh) :
a dolphin from the Azores, though we didn’t see any there,
(but we have seen dolphins, so it counts twice) :
a miniature cookie-cutter in the shape of a moose (Canadian rockies)  
– but it would make impossibly small cookies;
a toucan (Costa Rica) and a puffin (Iceland)
admiring each other’s beaks;
heroes of the Revolution: Chairman Mao, bought in Beijing:
the Hồ Chí Minh League of Youth badge (Vietnam) :
the star representing Yugoslavia,
though even when I bought it
Yugoslavia was no longer a country;
the face of Che Guevara, looking handsome and intense (Cuba) :
and not forgetting the daddy of them all,
Lenin, on a red and flaming star;
the Hand of Fatima (Tunisia) for luck;
and the Eye of Horus (Egypt) ,
because you can’t have too much luck.

And if anybody asks me the reason why I wear them,
they remind me of places – and people – that are far, far away.
Apr 2018 · 161
Red Roses
Paul Hansford Apr 2018
[Inspired by a photo on Facebook by Munia Khan]

I gave you red roses
as a sign of my love,
and now they lie there,
cast down on the pavement.

Red petals, green leaves,
faded and dry,
all life gone from them,
shrivelled and dead,
like the love that you once said
you felt for me.
Only thorns are left
to remind me of your heartlessness.

Is this what my love means to you?
What did I do
to change your mind?
Is there hope for me any more?
Apr 2018 · 186
Paul Hansford Apr 2018
I look forward
against all my instincts
with a kind of sad pleasure
to the moment
when we shall say goodbye,
even though I know
I shall never see you again.
And without a photograph of you,
which can never be mine,
I must inevitably lose the detail
of your lovely face,
your gentle smile.
But the real you,
open, welcoming,
tolerant, friendly,
– the nervousness
when I feel I am about to see you,
the pleasure
that lights up in me when you are there,
the disappointment
when you are not there –
you will remain in my heart,
a dear memory.
You will be in my mind forever,
I am certain.
That is the least you deserve,
and I must be satisfied
as far as possible.
Apr 2018 · 392
Amazon Adventure
Paul Hansford Apr 2018
I have arrived at the edge
of the Amazon rainforest.
I explore the camp that is to be
home for a few days.
Under a shelter
on the far side of a clearing
there is movement.
I go to investigate
and there you are.
You turn to me.
Our eyes meet.
Impulsive, I reach out
to ****** your long, pale blonde hair,
and you, equally impulsive,
encircle me with your arms,
your soft hair brushing my cheek.
I am filled with a strange,
yet familiar feeling.
I am in love at first sight
with a woolly monkey.
True story from a trip a few years ago.
Apr 2018 · 177
Ending It
Paul Hansford Apr 2018
Once we were friendly.
Then we were more than friends.
Now there is nothing.
Must this be how it ends?
Apr 2018 · 222
The Science Of Parting
Paul Hansford Apr 2018
(On a line from Mandelstam - 'I have learned the science of parting')

There was so much we never did together,
places to go and visit hand in hand,
so much we could have learned about each other,
so many things to say before goodbye.

Nobody ever knew how much I suffered;
but by applying all the skills I'd learned
I always coped. My strategies were successful;
the ache of separation always eased.

So many times the same has happened to me,
but every time the pain returns anew.
Just as intense, although it's so familiar,
regret comes like a band around my heart.

Falling in love, each time's a new experience;
the same thing goes for learning how to part.
Blank-verse sonnet, with a rhyme at the end.  I might try writing a rhymed version, probably just lines 2 and 4 of each verse - unless someone feels like editing it for me!
Paul Hansford Mar 2018
There were four of us that day.
We all lost our virginity at the same time.
. . . well, more or less the same time,
there were a few minutes between.

All that fuss she made,
you’d have thought we were killing her.
She told the police she didn’t want to lose hers,
but we said she did,
and there were three of us
to back each other up.
We said she was hot for it,
and they believed us.

There were bruises, of course,
but we were all pretty excited, her as well,
and it got rather active.
The police agreed
it wasn’t all that unusual,
but they took photos,
in case they needed evidence.

I wish they’d given us copies.
They’d have made a good souvenir
of our first time.
The other lads would have had a good laugh.

What did she lose anyway?
Her self-respect?
Well, self-respect's cheap enough,
and when you consider it,
if it had gone the other way,
we could have had a criminal record
and lost our freedom.
So, all in all,
it was a pretty good result.

Pity about the photos, though.
That would have been the icing on the cake.
When I first posted this I received not a single comment. I don’t mind if some people don’t like it- it wasn’t meant to be pleasant - and I wouldn’t have minded if people had said they didn’t like it, preferakbly explaining why.
This was written from the point of view of one of a group of rapists featured in a heart-rending poem from a teenage girl. I was trying to put myself into the mind-set of a selfish, vicious boy, only interested in the power that he and his mates had over one helpless girl. I had thought that there would be a few people on this site with enough intelligence to understand. Did I really get it that wrong?
Feb 2018 · 474
Predictive Text
Paul Hansford Feb 2018
I received a message from you
but when I clicked on Reply
my predictive text
trying to be helpful
offered me a choice
of three words
to start with

I  You  The

not an impressive option
you might think
but on reflection
had "You"
in the centre of my mind
and for a robot
what I wanted to say
two out of three wasn’t bad
Paul Hansford Feb 2018
you were the lovely flower
that once grew in my heart
that i wished always to be there
always a part of me

for a while you flourished
you smiled on me
i cherished you
but now
that flower
still in my heart
has turned into a thorn
that pierces me from inside

you could make my flower bloom again

but you never do
Feb 2018 · 138
How Love can Last
Paul Hansford Feb 2018
If I loved somebody
as much as I love you,
if I loved somebody
as long as I've loved you,
how could I ever stop loving them?

If they had gone away from me,
if they didn't want to know me any more,
if they were dead to me,
even if they were  
I could never imagine not loving them.

You don't go to that much trouble
for nothing.
Feb 2018 · 299
Paul Hansford Feb 2018
according to the theory,
is not something that just happens,
it's an active process.

Well, that's the theory,
but we all know, we don't always mean to forget.
Sometimes there are more important things,
or more interesting,
for us to remember.
And sometimes our brain does the forgetting for us,
without our wishing it.

The old lady wondered
why the car we were in was so big.
"It's a hearse.
We're going
to the funeral,
do you remember?"
"Whose funeral is it?"
"We're going to bury Dad,
your husband."
"My husband?
I was married?
Was he a good man?"

She had not chosen to forget
the life they had spent together.
Her brain had simply switched off those years
as if they had never happened.

Lucky in a way.
What would her life have been
if she had remembered
those seventy-three years
and had nothing to replace them?
Worse still, if she had had to start remembering
all over again?
Thanks to commenters who have seen the point of this one. We had always thought she would be desolated if he went first, and even though she had forgotten who we were, at least she recognised us as friends.
Feb 2018 · 1.0k
Four senryu
Paul Hansford Feb 2018
Into a dull day
you came all unexpected.
My afternoon shone.

Look into my eyes,
see my whole world reflected,
you at the centre.

In your eyes are tears
but your smile overcomes them.
Where is the rainbow?

There was so much more
that we could have said and done,
but we said goodbye.
Some will read these as authentic haiku, because of the 5/7/5 syllable count. Others will have noticed, since they are not related to nature or seasons, that they are not really haiku at all, but senryu.
Jan 2018 · 1.3k
Remnants - Auschwitz
Paul Hansford Jan 2018
Even from behind the glass,
you can smell the insecticide
that keeps the moths away.
A vast mound of matted sheep’s wool
you would say, except (they assure you)
it is original, all two tons of it,
the human hair that was left
unused at the end.
The rest went for socks
to keep workers’ feet warm.
All grey now, sixty years on, it has aged
as those that owned it never did.
They went ***** to the shower room,
clutching the soap
they would never use,
and then to the ovens.
A lorry’s engine drowned the screams,
and the Governor’s wife tended her flowers,
making a garden “like paradise.”
This is at least the fourth major re-write of this poem .  "A poem is never finished, only abandoned."
Dec 2017 · 248
Summer Night
Paul Hansford Dec 2017
The heat the sun created in the day
persists indoors into the night. I cannot sleep.
The full moon reflecting the sun's rays, modifying its strength,
now shines more coolly but no less clear,
and I, sitting outside in the silence of the night,
can relax in peace.

Then I catch sight of movement in your window.
You have switched on no light, but are illuminated
by the silvery moonglow, entranced, it seems,
by the quietness, by the peace
that has been brought to the garden.
And I in turn, entranced by your stillness,
your magical calm, can only observe
as you hum your secret to the moon.
Alas, the moment is ended far too soon,
but I'll never forget that lovely, beautiful tune.
Dec 2017 · 163
Paul Hansford Dec 2017
in Sanskrit
of saying
r a i n b o w
and among that richness one
that would perfectly describe
the magical light that fleetingly
shone from your face as,
tears welling in your eyes,
you turned to me
and smiled.
'The vocabulary in Sanskrit is so rich that some words,
such as rainbow, have over two hundred synonyms.' Raja Rao.
Paul Hansford Nov 2017
All of these were at the Tate;
I know they were, for I took notes:
The plaster cast of an empty space;
View of the Thames with Pleasure Boats.

I know they were (for I took notes)
on open view, but Art? Well, maybe.
View of the Thames with Pleasure Boats;
Mother Feeding Crying Baby

on open view, but Art? Well, maybe.
– unless they take me for a fool.
Mother Feeding Crying Baby;
Man in Orange Shirt, on Stool.

– Unless they take me for a fool,
Damien Hurst and Jackson *******.
Man in Orange Shirt, on Stool,
saying, "What a load of *s!"

Damien Hurst and Jackson *******;
Couple Drinking at a Bar,
saying, "What a load of *s,
"A plywood model of a car!"

Couple Drinking at a Bar;
Monet's Waterlilies, and
a plywood model of a car;
fruit decaying on a stand.

Monet's Waterlilies, and
People on an Escalator;
fruit decaying on a stand.
No, skip that one; we'll come back later.

People on an Escalator;
a film of two men standing still.
No, skip that one; we'll come back later.
I'm certain that they'll be there still.

A film of two men standing still;
the plaster cast of an empty space.
I'm certain that they'll be there still.
All of these were at the Tate.
I wrote this after a visit to the famous gallery of modern art,feeling a little confused about what was "art" and what was "real life." I hope this unusual form adequately conveys my confusion.
Paul Hansford Nov 2017
"I hate sunsets and flowers.  I loathe the sea; the sea is formless."

I hate sunsets and flowers;
I loathe the rolling sea.
What matter sunshine or showers?
None of it matters to me.

I loathe the rolling sea,
Where once we used to roam.
None of it matters to me.
No colours, no waves, no foam.

Where once we used to roam
It's formless now and bare.
No colours, no waves, no foam,
Because you are not there.

It's formless now and bare
Everywhere I go.
Because you are not there
Your garden's full of snow.  

Everywhere I go,
What matter sunshine or showers?
Your garden's full of snow.  
I hate sunsets and flowers.
Nov 2017 · 158
Paul Hansford Nov 2017
My ultimate ambition in life
is to be recycled. When I die
I shall not be put
with the newspapers, plastic bottles,
glass, cans, batteries
and aluminium foil
into the box to be collected
on alternate Tuesdays.
That is not dignified
for a human,
and besides, it is unhygienic.
But recycled I will be
into soil and air,
beetle, centipede and blackbird,
and the blossom
that every year comes
and fades.
I'll be back.
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