The Threadbear of Needle St


This little fantasy is tucked into the back of the funeral file.

The Threadbear of Needle St.

There was once a surreptitious Threadbear who lived in Needle St.

His safe home was in the basement of a Bank . The bankers did not know this .

His room was rather dark, with steel walls, but he had hung it with some smart paper he found in stacks on a shelf. It was white with a squiggly design of black and red .

The front door had a combination lock . Since the Threadbear was an unsociable but mechanically-minded animal he had changed the combination to BEAR 666 .

Sometimes a banker came to call on him. The Threadbear lay low , and after trying a few likely combinations the banker went away .

The Threadbear had no friends . He lived a peaceful life .

In his larder he kept honey , flies and embroidery silk in many pleasant colours . The blues were the tastiest but disagreed with him . He was a bilious Threadbear .

One day the Threadbear had run out of flies . He thought he would step along to the Sports Shop and buy some more .
“There’s sure to be nothing but feather kinds left” he said disconsolately as he put on his spats .

On the way he met a Wretched Being . It was carrying all the equipment of a fisherman.

“Why not take a tram to the Sports Shop ?” said the Wretched Being .

They climbed aboard the first tram that came by .

“You pay going and I’ll pay coming back,” said the Threadbear, and he thought to himself “ We won’t come back together.”

Are the later poems copied since before JP? no

Like the fall of a star


Like the fall of a star ,
Like the change of a vane ,
Like an echo in air ,
Like a shadow in rain ,
Like a glint in the snow ,
Like a breath on the glass ,
Love is easy to know —
Love is known by its loss .

The funeral collection is my only source for this. Extreme brevity was in her range and she could make it moving, even in the manner of a folk piece.

Life is brief and death is long

Life is brief and death is long ,
Ptolemy , Ptolemy :
Let us die like swans in song ;
Sing the pathetic fallacy !
We are right and you were wrong ,
Ptolemy .

For the earth goes round the sun ,
Ptolemy , Ptolemy :
Other credence is there nne ;
Sing the athetic fallacy !
You have lost and we have won ,
Ptolemy .

Did the sun partake your woe ,
Ptolemy , Ptolemy ?
Did he joy with those below ?
Sing the pathetic fallacy !
We stand doubting but you know ,
Ptolemy .

Did you join the sky in mirth ,
Ptolemy , Ptolemy ,
When the sun went round the earth ?
Sing the pathetic fallacy
Did the stars dance at your birth ,
Ptolemy ?

Now your shining star is dim ,
Ptolemy , Ptolemy :
Mars is rising red and grim ;
Sing the pathetic fallacy !
hat would you have said of him ,
Ptolemy ?

Make an end of vain belief ,
Ptolemy , Ptolemy :
Years of progress brng relief ;
Sing the pathetic fallacy !
Death is long and life is brief ,
Ptolemy .


The lily need not struggle to be pure

The lily need not struggle to be pure ,
Nor the rose guard her scent ;
Their beauty is by gift and must endure :
Thine is but lent .

True that each flower must die , like thee ; but know ,
Though all to dust resign ,
Somewhere the perfect rose and lily grow :
Thy life is thine .

Live then as life becomes thee : let my rhyme
Praising thee pure and sweet ,
Guide to that garden where , secure from time ,
Perfections meet .

The Widower’s Friend

The Widower’s Friend

You mourn her now ? My fate is no less hard :
I learned to love in silence . I stood by
For you — and from her love , as may I die ,
By loyalty to you alone was barred .
The Queen of Hearts next to a common card
By chance might in a game of patience lie —
What , do I startle you ? I loved her , I ,
With all the longing of my heart ill-starred .

I strained my wit and strength that she should care
For you , for you : to seventy times seven
Forgave your selfish passion ; but her rare
Half-pitying friendliness was all my heaven —
And hell , too , for my loyalty confessed
I played the traitor when I loved her best .

A Birthday Valentine

A Birthday Valentine

Sweets to the sweet I bring today ,
And give with them my heart away ;
For how can you with grace decline
This heart by courtesy called mine
Since first I owned your gentle sway ?
With the same courtesy I pray ,
Waive all demurring and delay ,
Accept my heart as I resign
Sweets to the sweet .

When you are near my heart is gay .
My highest joy is to obey :
Dear heart , in whom all sweets combine ,
Take this belated valentine :
Nor think I flatter when I say
“Sweets to the sweet .”

Believe me , Madam ,
Your very obedient humble servant
Edward Boswell Bear

Now in this twilight of the drifting snow

Now in this twilight of the drifting snow
Draw close the curtain , kneel beside the fire :
Here is the end of dreaming and desire ,
Here , where the hours come softly , softly go
With formal courtesy , austere and slow ;
Heavy , relentless , murderously fine
The snow pursues an exquisite design
To break the bough and crush the cradle low .

Softly the snow falls , softly pass the hours ,
Softly the shroud enfolds a frozen guest ;
With gentle hands time waits to overthrow
Dominions , principalities and powers ;
Death seeks our kingdom : there is endless rest
Here in the twilight of the drifting snow .

Undated, but the writing and pen suggest not late in 1951

The Wreath

The Wreath

Summer , be silent for one hour
That I may mourn :
Where in your joyous stir
May I find words to weave a wreath for her
Who comes no more ?

There is a numbness of the heart
Beyond such words :
Though all your joys concert
They are not skilled to salve or tent the hurt
As once they were .

Words of regret , like a sweet air
In dreaming heard ,
That half-remembered here
Falsifies echo , mocks the waking ear ,
I weave for her .

No joy may lure the heart from care ,
No beauty storm:
Silence alone and sure
May quicken grief , release sweet words for cure ,
The dream restore .

[Undated; but by writing and pen it may belong in 1951]


(eight pages here)

Lost Eldorado, bright with wealth untold,
City remote in fabled realms of gold,
I sing: ye nine, my halting verse inspire;
Descend, and sweep with harmony my lyre ;
Great Alexander! worlds before thee bow,
The golden kingdom be thy conquest now :
Thy laws are mine, I govern in thy name —
Be thou my master, and be thine my fame!
How first the shining legend travelled wide
To fire the dreams of Avarice and Pride ;
What sturdy seamen brav’d the western main,
Mocking the gorgeous tyranny of Spain ;
How boldly they explor’d the secret west ;
Their hope how brilliant, and how vain their quest ;
The fall of heroes, the revenge of kings,
Clio remembers, and Euterpe sings .
Noble that theme, but by our fervent young
Too well remember’d and too often sung .
Not mine refulgent marvels to rehearse ,
Loading with ore each chasm of my verse ;
To dandle puppets on my languid stage ,
Trick’d in the raiment of a bygone age ;
To rouse the brave with martial pomp and blare ,
Or melt with dreamy lays the gentle fair ;
Dead is the past , and low with garlands laid ;
Let not my gaudy dreams disturb its shade .
Romance and chivalry may hackney’d rest ;
Venus I tolerate , but Mars detest .
Attend me then , ye hasty lookers on ,
Who judge the play before the play is done ,
Who term the present a confounded bore ,
Despise the future , and the past deplore —
You I deplore : my art shall mirror you :
Reflect, and witness the reflection true !
And ye , whose hearts and treasure lie not here ,
Who fear to hope , yet hope to conquer fear :
Let not the greed of gold your peace confound ,
Great is your faith , and greatly shall be crowned : second page
Beyond all dreams , beyond terrestrial price ,
Your golden city waits in Paradise .
Yours is the victory, would men but heed ;
Rich beyond gold , no gilded myth you need :
Your shining gospel every hope transcends ,
All prophecy fulfils , all panic ends .
Yet few have faith and courage to despise
The pride of life , the lust of flesh and eyes :
This world too great a sacrifice men deem ;
Then, discontent , of Eldorado dream .
With maps and engines they have conquered space ;
Faster than sound their winged chariots race ;
Land, sea , and sky triumphant they control ,
Circle the globe , and speed from pole to pole :
As eagles soar, with massive wings outspread ,
O’ertop mount Everest’s unvanquish’d head ,
Divide the clouds , usurp the winds’ domain ,
Till , tired with flight , they glide to earth again .
Mountain and jungle their wheel’d progress know ,
Plains white to harvest , wastes of sand and snow :
Neptune himself admits their conquering sway ;
Proud through his courts they force resistless way ,
Explore the nodding forests far below ,
Where great-ey’d fish sedately come and go :
Strange through the tumbling water they behold
Dim grottos roof’d with pearl and pav’d with gold :
Nameless the myriad flowers that greet their view ;
Aw’d they admire , and swift their way pursue ;
Sweep through the coral groves , then gladly rise
To seek once more the blessing of the skies .
Land , sea , and sky unnumber’d marvels yield ,
But Eldorado never yet reveal’d :
Outgrown the hope , the legend long outworn ,
The poet’s standby and the critic’s scorn ;
Yet still the wistful dreams of men prevail
To gloss with gold that half-forgotten tale .
Science ! what hopes are grappled to thy name ,
What promis’d miracles augment they fame :
Worshipped and damned by complementary schools ,
The foolish zealots and the zealous fools : third page
Enlightened and benevolent thy reign ;
Candid the hearts and garments of thy train :
Their square-tipped hands disease and death control ,
But lack the formulae to frame a soul .
Small loss : the soul is but a toy of thought ,
Intangible , unseen , a thing of nought :
Who thee alone with solemn zest desires ,
No soul acknowledges , no soul requires .
If thou assist , what can our might withstand ?
Plenty and peace shall crown the smiling land :
Find Eldorado in a Welfare State .
Awake , arise , thou prophylactic Power !
Thy marshall’d armies wait th’appointed hour ,
Perfect their discipline , matur’d their plan —
Why dost thou hesitate to lead the van ?
See , where thy chiefs with standards proud display’d
Invoke thy blessing , and entreat thine aid :
They wax impatient of disease and dearth —
Be pleas’d to rehabilitate the earth !
Not long shall Mars uneasy vigil keep ,
For strife too weary , but too fierce for sleep ;
Sword , gleaming helm and shield his rising wait ,
The chariot stands impetuous at his gate —
Prevent his rage , that turbulence may cease ;
Induce thy golden age of order’d peace !
As sudden thunder rends the startl’d skies ,
A dreadful voice imperious replies :
“Too rashly am I hail’d by humankind ,
My title cribb’d , my realm by use confin’d :
All knowledge mine , and sempiternal youth —
Vicegerent and ambassador of Truth .
Were yet my ageless wisdom yours indeed ,
Your march I might attend , but never lead :
As fire , unique assistance I afford ,
A careful servant , but a deadly lord .
Ye fools , beware ! lest plung’d in senseless strife ,
You perish by the force that ruled your life :
Reason is mine : if you from Reason swerve ,
Destruction is no more than you deserve :
My votaries shall toll your passing bell ; fourth page
Your blood be on your heads : and so , farewell !”
While yet with gloomy voice o’er hill and dell
Astonish’d echo comments : “ … well, well , well …”
The grave Philosopher his hand extends ,
Surveys the multitude, and thus perpends :
“Man miserable ! By reckless pride betray’d ,
Whom wilt thou trust , and whither turn for aid ?
Yet even now , erect where Moses stood ,
I will advise thee for thy proper good :
Ere long to me that selfsame grace be lent
The promis’d land to view , and die content .
If radiant prospects lure thy fancy, stand
At noon exultant on the golden strand :
Phoebus with glory gilds the trembling wave ,
And liquid gold laps bright in creek and cave :
Enraptur’d to the far horizon gaze ,
Where strange isles glimmer through a golden haze :
There hill and vale with shining groves are dress’d ;
There roll fair plains with orient harvest blest :
There fresh streams sparkle clear through marsh and fen ,
And distant spires proclaim the haunts of men :
Most surely there , beneath the smiling skies ,
Fair as a dream thy Eldorado lies —
Couldst thou but follow , as thou dost admire
The glitt’rng pathway to thy heart’s desire !
Fond wish! a dismal mist the sea enshrouds ,
And stricken Phoebus mourns in sable clouds :
How drab a prospect now canst thou command —
Malignant isles , cold sea and common sand !
Cruel and sudden , where the surges sway
The lynx-ey’d gulls swoop screaming on their prey.
“Cruelle and sodaine” — thou whose ready ear
Ascribes the debt, and joys that phrase to hear ,
Observe those ragged boys that past thee run :
The flea they gladly lodge , but know not Donne .
Phoebus ! Thy light advance , that they may see
Their rightful heritage , august and free :
By Fame neglected and accurs’d by Fate ,
What power can raise them to that happy state ?
’Tis Education ! Blessèd power indeed — fifth page
Here passion chokes his utterance : I proceed .
Hail Education , omniformal maid !
For thee our wealth , to thee our tribute paid .
Descend , rever’d abstraction , at our call ,
Teach , elevate , inspire , illumine all !
Where frugal Nature no great wit bestows ,
Tend that , as horticulturalist his rose :
Where niggard Fortune small advantage lends ,
Grant wisdom , culture , honour, wealth and friends !
At thy rebuke all evils shrink and flee ;
Our hopeful statesmen prophesy by thee :
“Progress!” and “Immortality !” they cry —
“Regress !” “Mortality !” the hills reply .
Thy awful name gleams bright with constant use :
Our talisman , our shield , and our excuse !
What need we further witness to thy power ?
Yet deign to visit thine adopted bower :
Near Blackwell’s shrine, and Bodley’s honour’d fane
Behold the choicest products of thy reign !
In thy fair livery strut these longhair’d boys —
Gowns proudly tatter’d , dashing corduroys —
Agog for gossip and the wild carouse ,
They congregate in every coffee-house :
Be present , while they offer and admire
Sagacious schemes to set the world afire ;
Withdraw , ere yet their hope grows passing wild ,
To watch the fortune of thy favourite child .
The poet , who complain’d the winter long ,
While cajol’d hearers marvell’d at his song ,
Impatient of his own romantic gloom ,
Now quits with eager step his shady room ,
By limpid Isis pleasantly to stray ,
Where rising flowers the verdant turf array :
Mark how the polish’d swans majestic glide ,
And drooping willows kiss the chequer’d tide :
Serene the angler waits his dancing float :
Slow ripples gently sway the chainèd boat :
Pure is the fragrance wafted from the meads,
When vernal gusts caress the rustling reeds :
Joyous the bard , as trembling he renews sixth page
His fervent vows to Venus and the Muse :
Homeward he hastes , to all creation blind ,
While nice considerations vex his mind :
Each poet in his own degree is blest ,
Those most the Muse affects , who serve her best ,
Reward enow in loyal service lies —
’Tis then dishonour to compete for prize,
Most servile to uplift a charter’d voice,
And hymn the topic of another’s choice .
Yet empty pockets sad assurance give
That he who lives to sing must sing to live ;
While passing years confirm the ancient rune ,
That he who pays the piper, calls the tune .
That sage reflection every scruple ends :
To Eldorado swift his soul he bends —
Little enough , alas , he knows of gold ;
That little in short compass may be told :
Yet rich his fancy , and his memory long ,
With hired magnificence to deck his song :
His thoughts old strength and modern wit affect :
His diction pure , harmonious , correct —
Thus he himself opines , as he reviews
His past effusions prompted by the Muse :
Such beauties all those partial fools commend
Who haunt Parnassus but to please their friend ,
Not mend their minds : as some to Schools repair
Not for the doctrine , but the comrades there .
Secure in such approval , he makes bold
To drape his blunders in a veil of gold :
His passion , like his lamp , at midnight glows ,
Till weary limbs betray him to repose :
Swift to the golden clime his soul is fled ;
The Andes tower mysterious round his bed :
O’er crag and gulph by dusky guides convey’d
Amaz’d he gains a cavern’s frightful shade ;
Discretion counsels , valour bars retreat :
Through labyrinthine tunnels haste his feet ;
A roar proclaims the subterranean stream :
Strange on that inky flood the torches gleam :
Down rough-hewn steps a fragile bark is moor’d — seventh page
He shudders , calls on Heav’n and leaps aboard :
Wild down the raging torrent he is swept ,
By pitying Naiads from destruction kept :
Through gloomy vaults and ways for ever dark ,
Sad echo long pursues the flying bark :
The current slackens , rocky walls loom gray —
He glides into the grateful light of day .
Lo ! calm and blue the sacred lake extends ,
Speed to his sail a gentle zephyr lends :
All danger past, his fearful voyage o’er ,
With heart aglow he gains the friendly shore ,
Through streets of gold a dazzled guest to roam
Where jewels blaze from pinnacle and dome :
Dreaming he wanders through his land of dreams ,
Till fair in view a lofty palace gleams :
Endless the golden steps : he mounts alone ;
Bright-harness’d guards conduct him to the Throne :
The Inca beckons : reverent he stands
To take the costly gift from royal hands ,
And see , though mists before his vision whirl ,
A chalice rich with amethyst and pearl :
Clear ruby glows , the’ immortal wine he sips —
He wakes , with burning brow and fever’d lips .
Bitter his loss , but swift he hopes again ,
And strives some lovely shadow to retain :
Huddled in blankets and addressed to write ,
He tames in verse the peril of the night :
Fast fades the dream ; yet diligent his pen
Till grey-ey’d Morn awakes the world of men .
The happy poet ! honour crown thy lays !
Fame will not grudge thee thy desert of praise ;
The single-hearted ! who thy life wouldst give
Without regret, to make one sonnet live ;
Barter the riches of all space and time
For one bright image , or one perfect rhyme ;
All gold reject , one shining phrase to save —
Blind shall I call thee , or past vision brave ?
High-minded bards are recompensed , not sold ;
Yet few at heart despise the proffered gold :
Not for the world they sing , they seek not praise ; eighth page
Yet inly glow when laurels crown their lays :
Do thou the like : when gilded counters shine ,
Inherit Eldorado — it is thine :
Nor at my hands this laurel crown refuse ,
Though I with rival passion court the Muse :
Which of our songs the costly prize has gained
Let them determine , who our strife ordained .
In mutual admiration let us rest :
They best can value us , who know us best .

Eldorado was the subject set for an undergraduate prize so this must have been written before July 1951. I think Christine Kennedy suggested the tag for the pseudonym. The script was professionally typed and corrected.

A desirable freehold residence —

“A desirable freehold residence —
Ignore the creaking gate, the rampant hedge” ;
“A little oil, a few hours’ work with shears ” :
Ignore the weeds, the tough untidy grass ;
“They can’t have used a lawnmower for years ”:
Newspaper, orange peel and broken glass ;
“Their dustman can’t have much intelligence —
Really this litter is the outside edge!”
“Pray hush, my love, ’tis of no consequence
Forget all else and take my heart in pledge
Our heaven is here, and all this world appears
Stainless and strong as monumental brass”
“The sun will break through when this drizzle clears,
Be careful of that puddle as you pass .”
“See how the faint rays gild with innocence
That old milkbottle on the window ledge !”

Safe now within, they visit every room,
Exclaiming at their newfound paradise :
“So large, and airy too, if somewhat cold —
But not too rambling for convenience – ”
“A coat of paint will soon relieve the gloom
In this north parlour — ” “darling, are there mice ?”
“Hardly, I think : of course the place is old —
But fear no horror from my negligence ,
I will protect you till the day of doom !”
Young lovers rarely heed well-meant advice ,
Their hopes are sanguine when they first behold
A desirable freehold residence .

Undated, but the pen and writing is of 1950