"Harry's verse reminds me what being a poet is all about ...." The verse of friends & admirers of Harry.

MARC RATTUE
(Marc, one of Harry's friends & admirers, has been a Merchant Navy Officer since he was twenty, apart from time out attaining a BA in English at Southampton University. He lives in Salisbury. He has published a volume of some of his verse "Thirty Poems", has produced a number of albums on CD of his verse set to music, & has written a novel. All these are available on his website:
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/20173092/Notes_on_a_Mystery/index.html
Marc comments on Harry's verse: "I think his verse rivals Shakespeare; Shakespeare comes out on top for sheer verbal virtuosity, but Harry transcends spiritually.")


LIFTED

What is this gesture of the sea,
Rising green beneath us?
It lifts the whole ship, easy and slow,
Though larger we are,
Than any living thing;
What is in the rise of this open swell,
The slow and gentle strength,
That lifts as nothing,
Ten thousand tons,
And the weight over my heart?

And tell me all of what it is,
That the Gannet rides,
What bears this wonder of hollow bone,
These pinions fluttering;
And what fierce thing is gusting now,
to the birdís embrace,
What is in the wind that bears its wings,
What hand do I feel against my face,
What tears of recognition flow,
What lifts the weight over my heart?

When all the gods are dead,
And holiness a nursery tale,
For simpletons and fools,
I do not know what it is,
Or who I meet with in the wind;
No names do i know,
That are not derided and spent,
Discarded, mocked, and abused;
But no words the weather needs to raise a blow,
Nor needs a heart, the name of love to know.


POEMS FROM "THE NIGHTFLOWER"
(JA: From Marc's novel "The Nightflower". This compilation of verse from divers parts of the novel is thereby a blend of different voices, with zest of dialogue.)

Ah, friends, it is true,
The student understands little,
The master, somewhat more,
The genius, nothing at all.

The circle is repetition,
A straight line never returns,
The spiral ends in violence.
All these we see every day.

When the storm is sufficient, the tree falls.
Choice is an illusion.
This belittles success, but consoles our failures.

You deride the foolishness of youth,
Yet speak with delight of the spring.
Are they not branches of the same tree?

From where you are in this life, young or old,
Two ways spring always, one up, the other down.
Always there is a way up from the pit,
And a way down from happiness.
Only death ends this.

To be trapped in body is grievous enough,
But a fettered spirit exceeds all disasters.
The wise look up, the foolish look down.

What draws an eagle high, but the lifting wind?
You watch the feathered span, the proud beak,
But feel ye the air that carries him, friends,
Feel ye the spirit-wind and fly in the truth.

Sweet illusions!
Bright shades of belief!
How cruelly they fall into dust,
When misfortune calls.

The wise know that their home is not of this world,
But that which the heart, with marvelous intensity,
Feels but an intimation of in this unhappy world.
There is no other wisdom.

Do not grieve for the road to riches, friends,
Or ways untrodden to fortune in this world;
There is only one journey, after all, I tell you,
One beginning and one end,
And one Eternity.


AT THE TOMB

Do not look back,
Behind us are only the dead,
The things that change and fail and lose their meaning,
The sad things that die,
With the ticking execution that comes,
Early or late, the same,
A minute, a day, a century,
A dying fall and then,
the same.

Do not look back,
Behind us are the things that die,
The cold and vanished days,
The pleasures that betrayed.
Why, when love remains,
As sweet and full and strange,
As when it woke and timeís dimension fled,
Why, as Love to Grief, long ago by a tomb in Zion said,
Why seek ye the living among the dead?


NEARER, MY GOD, TO THEE
The band on the Titanic played this tune last of all on the day of the sinking,
and reputably continued to do so to a very late stage)

The deckchair
is this way, no?
Or this?
It should be so to the wind,
When the sea is high,
Like this, so.
Yes?

Ah, the band,
They play so well,
Itís not good to stare too long at the sea,
when the sky is low,
Come away,
Itís not good,
And I am a little cold.

Come into the warmth,
Where i can wear the music,
like an old coat,
And the flowing billows that rise,
Are of laughter, yes,
And the gleaming breakers
are smiles,

Come, come, and donít mind,
An old manís tears,
The salt thatís in us;
Donít think of it, love,
The savage years that
made this ship so long ago,
When we were creatures of the sea.

See, there are none of us now,
But whom the ship, our brave lady,
Shelters from the harrowing brine;
We are all here,
Though we rarely meet, even yet,
Those below decks, those above,
And those above again.

A glamour on the storm,
Where no light should be,
A dream we all dream,
Fragile and fading,
Over the darkness of the deep,
Doomed to wake one day,
In a moment of terror.

The chair is still wrong,
Has the ship turned?
It was just so;
We can laugh at that,
And sit together,
Still wrong;
Between the sea,
And the lingering, beautiful song.


TO GO HOME

No bird that ever flew,
On the worldís wind,
Flutters at a strange casement,
Where the windows are dead,
And the air is desolation.

Fierce and shrill
In the void that is void forever,
Fluttering, falling,
Then fiercely again,
Screaming.

To go home.


THE SEA

Ashore, maybe, the yokels muse
Upon their still and sculpted land;
The hills are those their fatherís knew,
The fields an old and hallowed song,
That trees and rivers join, ordained,
In long and pleasant reckoning.

But though the first men crossed this sea,
On boats of prayer and leather,
To paint in caves below the ice,
And hunt in freezing weather;

And though in time the groaning keels
of thousands made their way,
Plunging and crabbed
Against the wind and lunar sway, to England;

Not one among them,
No craft, no crew,
No trace,
Remains upon the sea.

I behold from a ship this chill June,
What I would see with long-dead eyes,
And with eyes as yet unborn,
Beyond and before my time, the same,

The sea.