Tag Archives: Ray Stearn

Dear Life by Ray Stearn

In October 2021 we shared our last workshop with Anthony Costello. After writing this poem we talked about how important a title can be. In this poem, without the title it is simply a travelog. Add the title “Dear Life” and a completely different piece emerges.

 

Dear Life

 

Driving North it is well hidden,

Until that final bend in the road

Where it dominates the view.

The Angel of the North.

Ugly slab of rusting metal

Or iconic, beautiful sculpture.

After all these years I still can’t decide which

But

That simple act of driving past

Takes us North,

Northumberland, Beadnell,

Seahouses,

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne.

Here our dreams are met

In serenity, beauty, solitude.

For Northumbria is yet to be discovered,

Even through the pandemic,

By the Ibiza crowd.

Seals sing at Seahouses.

Buntings bathe at Bamborough,

Home of the famous Bamborough Banger,

Smoked, like the Craster kippers

And the Swallow Fish prawns.

The Angel, going North

A beacon for happiness,

Relaxation, rest, peace.

 

A week later

We travel South.

Southward, The Angel is visible

From a distance.

Growing reminder of the return

To daily tasks.

Living, breathing,

Paying bills mending ills.

Does The Angel frown as we pass,

That smooth, expressionless face

Above the monoplane wings

The car climbs the hill

The Angel disappears

Until the next time

When

Driving North

The Angel smiles again.

 

©Ray Stearn 7th October 2021

 

Ray Stearn I have found a black briefcase and it’s ticking

 

“I have found a black briefcase and it’s ticking!” I sang to Dave, the next tenor along from me. We were in mid performance at the Town Hall, all the great and the good were there.

Ten bars later, after I’d repeated the message several times he sang back, all along to the Alleluia chorus we were in the middle of, so as not to cause a riot,

“Don’t kick it if it’s ticking. Don’t kick it if it’s ticking. Don’t kick, kick kick, kick kick it if it’s ticking!”

Nine bars later I heard the sopranos pick up on the concern,

“Ray’s found a bla-hack briefcase and it is a-ti-hi-hicking, ticking! Ticking Ti-hi-hicking!” “Ray’s found a bla-hack briefcase and it is a-ti-hi-hicking, ticking! Ticking Ti-hi-hicking!”

Eight bars on and the altos, ever thoughtful, sang.

“It could, it could just be, just be,  a metronome-ome-ome, A me-he-he-he-tronome?

A metronome it could just be, could be could……be!”

Seven bars passed and the basses suggested.

“Are there any wires showing through the leather, black,black,black? Any wires, any wires showing?”

After six bars the altos, still very concerned sang.

“Don’t try to cut them, or dash them like a potter’s vessel, cut them, cut, cut, cut them.”

Five bars on and the Mezzo Soprano soloist was trying to help.

“I have some nail scissors here in my handbag, with a blade of iron, a blade of iron. Shall I pass them through the shadow of the valley of the string section, then you may safely snip.”

Four bars of this and the basses encouraged me,

“Be bold! Bold be! Dash the briefcase like a potter’s vessel, you should dash it, like a potter’s vessel.”

Three bars later Dave had managed  a look inside the briefcase, after considering for what seemed like eternity but was only

Two bars he sang

“It is a metronome, the trumpet shall sound, oh metronome, oh metronome!”

And in one bar, when we all realised the panic was over, we all sang

“Alleluia! Alleluia, Alleluia.

Alleluia! Alleluia, Alleluia.”

Well, that’s how I remember the evening anyway. Funny thing is no-one in the audience for that performance of Handel’s Messiah seemed to notice the difference. Well, that’s charity do’s for you, all champagne and arias, all metronomes and alleluias.

© Ray Stearn 1st July 2021