I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Friday, 9 November 2012

By unpopular demand

say optimistic observers,

So this is what the world has seen for years,
While I, inside, have worked the steering wheel,
Unconscious of those sleek-fit otter ears
And oblate lips that snaggled teeth conceal.
Should I have been so damnèd confident,
Given those parboiled eyes with pendant sacks,
A mouth that falls apart, an accident,
A wattled neck with flaps of melting wax?
A nose for poking into others’ lives,
Untended hair that apes insanity,
While all the while a tomblike gauntness strives
To add an undeservèd dignity.
Without the face I’m told I irritate;
With it, the greater I aspires to grate.

(1) This is one of my better shirts.
(2) I have learned never to smile for portraits
(3) The prints are first-rate
(4) Zoom and it's worse.


  1. Here the Shakepearian rhyming couplet which concludes the sonnet takes the argument forward. It is not too obviouly a neat ending. Meanwhile, your senior by two years, I understand only too well the seriousness of the unblinking gaze with which you explore the rugged scene in front of you. There is some consolation though in a worn and eroded landscape, the scars of having been alive longer than the majority. The poem reminds me of Lucian Freud's self-portraits. The last line contains a Shakepearian pun of which the bard himself would have been proud.

  2. I remember once when I winced at a particularly unfavourable photo of myself my brother-in-law responded:
    'That's what you look like. What do you think it's like for the rest of us, we have to see you all the time?'

    (He has know me from a child and considers abrasive teasing a right, so I'm quite accustomed to it and like to think I can give back in equal measure.)

    I like the use of the third person with 'I' in the last line.'Parboiled eyes' I'd say was just a little too harsh. Actually it's all too harsh, but hell, it's a poem.

  3. Too harsh, as Lucy states. Too harsh, by far.

    Smile, dammit! Or, leer, even! This is not how you look 67% of the time, I just know it. But, even if it were so, I still like what you've shown.

    So, there.

  4. All these ingredients plus your age make for a handsome man. I lack your 'good hair' to match all else you talk about. I wish I understood the last two lines though.

  5. I can't remember the last time I sat for a portrait ... oh ... for my last driver's license renewal. That didn't turn out the way I would have liked it to. No matter. Your eyebrows are great. I always look at eyebrows.

  6. All: Thank you for overturning a long-held belief that posts posted at the weekend never get read. Alas, I have only one face

    Joe né Plutarch: The Lucian Freud reference is flattering. Quite quickly I found myself looking at an industrial landscape in a part of Britain which I detest. No prizes for guessing where.

    Lucy: Your references to teasing are remarkably prescient as you will shortly find out. Regarding "too harsh" I'm here to entertain not to provide written back-up for a mass murderer Identikit description. If only you'd said "verse" rather than "poem" my heart would have fluttered.

    The Crow: I don't smile, I don't enjoy the sensation in my face when I try; the muscles all pull the wrong way. Anyway you got your chance a month or so ago when I published an uncharacteristically gushing photo and kicked off the post by saying "There are several odd things about this photo." On other rare occasions when I've been trapped photographically into a furtive twist of the lips I look like Romney conceding defeat.

    Ellena: I love the ambiguity of your first sentence and intend to plagiarise it (in a suitably modified way) in a short story I'm presently writing. As to my couplet, here's a more or less literal transciption:

    When I do posts without attaching my photo I merely irritate people (I wanted to say "piss them off" but couldn't fit it in)
    Posts with my photo attached aspire to a greater form of irritation - they grate. There is of course a pun in playing off "grate" with "great" and in an earlier version I even managed to cram in "greatness" but it proved too cumbersome.

    RW (zS): Well spotted. My eyebrows are presently in an in-between state. They were trimmed during my last visit to the hairdresser, about two months ago, and are neither here nor there. My eyebrows in full fig (but nothing else of me) appear on the face of Chris Day in my second novel, Risen on Wings.

  7. Luckily you don't have to pose in front of cameras most of the time, and your natural expression is much more affable and attractive. No fooling those who have met you, you know!

  8. Julia: Charmed by Prague, Mozart, PP and family, I was in uncharacteristic remission even if all the affability dropped away at the airport café when faced with the bill.

    Do you know who wrote this?

    Fresh oj in prague can be more pricey than gold, we've found. Looking forward to hearing about yesterday's adventures, and truly it was a wonderful pleasure to get to meet you. Travel safe and talk soon.

    I mean, who wouldn't be affable? Couldn't bring myself to delete it, sentimental old fool. Try me now, just after the doctor told me I may be suffering from bronchiectasis. That's UK weather for you. PS, it's not as bad as it sounds and it proves I belong to a tiny percentage of the world population which can spell it.

  9. Did the doctor give you breathing therapies to do? Please take care of yourself. I just found out that I'm heading over to the UK in April and am looking forward to seeing a hale and hearty (and not dourly grimacing!) RR.

  10. Julia: Breathing therapies? Certainly I've been encouraged to breathe, no more. Sorry, I'd forgotten. And breathe out.

    Otherwise I've ordered red carpet for the driveway and the car has been cleaned (sort of) so I can pick up whoever's coming from wherever. Or I can set the satnav for whatever destination you require. No grimacing. But how about a scowl? Scowls suit my cylindrical face.