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From the writings of JCV

A world of Plenty

Our “modern” world

is a world of plenty—

plenty of aggression,

greed and avarice,

plenty of trivia—

gadgets galore, profligacy

and gadding about for “profit”,

plenty of celebrities

from crooners to cosmologists,

all spouting off

with their honey-dew fixations,

all against the backdrop of

poverty and physical neglect—

plentiful, bountiful—grotesque!


Going forward (get it?)

Moving forward (in time and place),

leaving in our wake

a trail of misgivings

and lost opportunity:

the past is irrefutably done,

the future begs the question—

will we ever learn?


The ever-departed.


I remember it all as if it never happened,

and when it was happening I foresaw the day

when I should recall it so - my life, our lives together;

when I sought the assurance no one can give

not even you motherwhen the bombers were flying over

and you put your trust in God to bring us through,

not even that faith could ease the ache of love given;

so much love, I could not bear it.


I am trapped with my memories in a den of sorrows.


Dedeicxation; Millicent Ivy Vetterlein (born July 1905, died 1994 January 18, aged 88.5 years).


Revision 2014 July 18



The Issue


There is an issue

I cannot calculate

separating the physical

from the spiritual

as sharply

as the sexual act

of love


the sexual act

in love

so turn to love-making

what tickling of the senses


to dream

without a dream

measure the orgasmic


playing with the tissue


life from life

join mouths

tongues intertwine

drop in the essence

that stills the seed

and ask a name for this?

Lord of the Manner

(Edition: Erudition)

The world as I see it,

as it sees me, a gentleman

of breeding and culture,

of traditional, imperial values,

sound foundations in education,

status—a reputation impregnable,

a proper place for everything—

well-groomed lawns and

an impeccable four-poster.    

To and fro


to and fro

to and fro

on and on

to and fro


day to day


here today

gone tomorrow

and all for what?


to and fro

to and fro

on and on

to and fro.


Rum Deal


The bright boys (Oxbridge types),

business tycoons, military men

in uniforms, lawyers and so on—

they run the ship while

the rest of us swab the decks.

Where to?

I once enjoyed open countryside—

fields, heath, woods and lakes, a quiet sky

where birds define their kingdom,

clear, dark skies at night, host to

stars, moon and planets,

I knew all this once, and now?


Our human imprint has besmirched it all—

and for what? Profit, enterprise,

gluttony and greed—I want no part in it!


Fiscal Fantasy

Figures, figures, figures . . .

this, that and the other—

forecasts, projections and speculation,

so on and so forth—quid pro quo,

surpluses, deficits, red and blue,

in and out, up and down—yes and no,

all adds up in the end to what?

not shoes on your feet, nor

food in your belly, more like

fantasy and folly.

Body solutions

Notice the jargon?

Body solutions,

Energy solutions . . .

it’s so easy to drop into the habit

“Actually, I think, I mean, you know”

and all that claptrap—communication

solutions are there none?


Seems not—dissolved but not solved!




The Lido is the receptacle

for my memories,

high summers’ paradise,

friendly smiles

rising up

between the waves of despair—


the war years

(our war, for wars never cease);

and after?


Off to the Lido

with aunts Christabelle and Fanny—

perfume-drenched memories.


Smoked Haddock


The rota of events:

Rupert Annuals at Christmas,

winter’s gales and snows,

spring lilac blossoms,

accompanied by lengthening daylight

and birdsong, summer’s heat

and thunder storms, autumn’s

fruits and trees laden with colourful leaves

signalling winter’s return,


and so it goes . . .

smoked haddock for tea. 

The final frontier

We met some years back,
then you laid me low,
beckoning at death’s door;

yet, I pulled through temporarily.

Since then you have rested
deep within my respiratory system,
I, conscious of your latent power

to fell me at the final frontier.

(Dedicated to the Streptococcus pneumoniae.)

Looking beyond—the ultimate reality

I am preparing for my departure.

The sadness I feel for the world
is becoming insupportable.

My childhood rises up at me in dreams,
and in my thoughts;
enduring without those
who shared the war years with me

has left a hollowness without precedent.

The memory from those earlier times
sharpens as each day passes,
the future comes at me with hastening purpose—

soon, it will all be over.

Death is the ultimate reality.

Living Hell

This is where I once lived
as a child throughout the war.

I see it today by way of Google Maps
street view—front gardens
concreted over—right up to the bay windows

cars parked nose to glass—a vision of a living hell.

New Home


Into this empty shell

we took ourselves,

full of dreams for the future,

and before you could say

mum & dad

the war had started,

dad went off to kill

(from the air in his bomber)

and we stayed at home

taking our chances—

bombs dropped from the sky

(by the other lot)—

life, a living hell.

28 & 30 Bergholt Avenue, Redbridge, Ilford, Essex, under construction circa 1933. photo: F.C.Vetterlein.

Summing Up

From this long-distance perspective,
now looking back,
it all appears

never to have happened;

first the pre-war years
dancing through the forest glades,
symphony concerts
at the Royal Albert Hall,

Messiah at Christmas,

then five or six years of war—
the sirens, the searchlights,
incendiaries and high-explosives
raining down, the V1 flying bombs,
the V2 rockets, the total insanity

of it all____

father immerging
at his demobilization
a half-broken man,
mother’s broken heart,

(mine in tatters);

the move away from our broken home
to a home in the Essex countryside,
those precious, few quiet years
discovering the stars and planets,
preluding the mad rush
into the oil guzzling, gadget
infested nuclear era
with its constant threat
arching over everything,
total obliteration
always just a millisecond away;
the future done to death

at every turn___.

So much for the world stage,
so much for life;
today nobody really cares,
courtesy and decency
having mostly disappeared,
put another way indifference rules:
“I’m all right mate—go,

take a running jump!”

Farewell, lost world,
“destiny” here I come,
a body brim-full of disappointment,
a mind played out,
only distant memories
untwining my attachment
to a long lost sanity
that only ever existed

as a figment of my imagination.

Manifesto—my open stall

To sell or not to sell, therein lies the challenge.

I speak and so I expect to be heeded, taken seriously,
even though I speak in jest—non est nisi est.

Believe me or believe me not,
what I have to say is not for sale;

True art lives through art alone,
hype is for the commercial tight walk,

it has no place in art.

From: Rückblick II (2006)

Uniforms and the Myth II

I was identified as a civilian

dressed in the clothes of a civilian.

I am identified as a soldier

dressed in the uniform of a soldier.

I am nothing—unidentifiable,

blown to bits by an adversary’s bomb.



At every turn, on every quarter,
ruin confronts us;

from biblical intransigencies,
hot-headed cosmologies,
lumbering political and military incompetence,

our greedy hands betray us into slavery.

the quickened quicksands of our insubstantial existence

engulf us.

From: Full Moon The Cross-over (2004)



Another kind of dark

Oil has fashioned our landscape—mutilated it!

Roads and motorways (junctions spaghetti of their type),
carved into fields, hedgerows uprooted, polluted,
(once sweet air), fumes and non-stop noise;
it’s the machine age, where
dark night skies have fled the scene,
where we grope about in another kind of dark.

 From: Conspiracy of NIght 1999

The hands

The language of the hands
more articulate than the tongue
deeds done as against
promises broken.

From: Incomplete Statments 2001

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