Anton's Ideas

Anton Wills-Eve on world news & random ideas

Month: January, 2016

PATRICK FOWLDS’ LAST LESSON


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/quote- me/”>Quote Me</a>

another repeat to keep up the numbers.

RECITATIVE 12

PATRICK FOWLDS’ LAST LESSON

Conticuere omnes intentique ora tenebant.

Johnson! Yes you, boy. Put that mobile phone away and pay attention to the text. This is a Latin class not a computer lesson. These words of Virgil were written two thousand years ago and deserve your full respect. The language may virtually be dead, but I still teach it because of the wonderful stories that have been written in it!”

At this another fifteen year old interrupted, his questioning hand waving loftily above his head.

Yes Mitchel?”

Please Sir, how many years have you been teaching Latin, Sir?” Patrick Fowlds could see genuine interest in the eyes of the pupil so answered him honestly.

Since I was twenty two. That is forty four years ago and I shall be retiring at the end of this year. I only hope my subject does not retire with me. It is full of such super tales.”

The class actually began to feel a little sorry for their teacher, so often the butt of schoolboy humour and even laughed at when his laboured jokes completely misfired. He greatly envied those popular masters who also taught cricket and football and were the heroes of their students. In recent years he also had to compete in the popularity stakes with young female teachers who had even more enticing ways to attract their charges. The staff in general tolerated rather than encouraged Patrick to join in their amusements, but it is probably true to say that hardly anyone would miss him when he left.

How many years had he told Mitchel? Was it really forty four? Well at least he had spent those years in the company he liked more than anything else – his classics books. He cast a glance round the form room before continuing. It was odd, he felt a bit dizzy and his tie was tighter than usual under his collar. He tried to continue the lesson but had to ask,

Sims! Could you open that window by you please? It’s getting very stuffy here.” The boys watched transfixed as Mr.Fowlds suddenly clapped a hand to his chest and almost shouted out the first line of the second book of The Aeneid again. “Conticuere omnes, intentique ora tenebant!” Then he crumpled in a heap on the floor of the dais in front of the blackboard. All twenty three boys rushed to his aid, one of them dialing for an ambulance on his cell phone. Harper tried to give him some cola which he kept in his desk, then just before another pupil suggested trying to resuscitate him, Mitchel asked the dying man, out of sympathy more than interest,

Tell us, Sir. That line you’ve just read, what does it mean, Sir?” And with his last breath he told them,

It says…it means … all gathered round him eagerly waiting to hear the story unfold.”

But the boys never heard the story; not how King Agamemnon sent a fleet of a thousand ships across the Hellespont to bring back his daughter, Helen, who had fled to her lover Paris in Troy. Of how the Greeks entered the city via a Trojan Horse, nor Cassandra’s prophecy, or Achilles dying with an arrow in his heel, and the towers of Illium crashing down and killing king Priam.

They knew nothing of Helen watching as her lover Paris was killed by Hector, or Laocoon and his sons being crushed to death by the sea serpent for foretelling their nation’s doom. And, above all, Aeneas’ flight through secret passages and tunnels to escape and fulfil his great mission, to sail the world, as it was then known, even if it meant deceiving Queen Dido, and finally establishing ‘the city on the seven hills’ that was destined to become the Empire of Rome.

No, Patrick Fowlds took the greatest story ever written in verse to his grave with him. But that evening after school, Mitchel stopped off in the school library and took out an English translation of the book. He felt he owed the old man that much.

AWE

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BODY AND SOUL


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/yawn/”>( YAWN )</a>

slowly getting better. meanwhile another repeat.

RECITATIVE 3

        BODY AND SOUL

In May, the lovers’ month, before day’s dawn

My soul first saw our world one Sunday morn

As I, gently, from my mother’s womb was torn.

My eyes were shut, yet my soul could clearly see

The severed cord that had fed and bonded me.

Preparing the body in which it ever was to be

My other self, protecting and loving but also sad

When my will was stronger than it and I was bad.

And yet I loved its heavy censure for I was daily glad

Whenever united with God in prayer and holy love.

As I grew up my soul bound me to Heaven above.

But even a soul can wield iron fist in velvet glove

If correction is the way it shows its sacred care

For our salvation and makes us, in confession, bare

Our forbidden actions – be she the fairest of the fair.

If how we love is outside God’s laws, and thus a sin,

The soul is our conscience which draws us back within

Heaven’s family, God’s children, His kith and kin.

Yet love twixt boy and girl is beautiful and pure

If they in constancy let their passionate hearts endure

A lifetime of keeping their loving vows and so ensure

Temptations of the flesh lead them never so astray

That lust or jealousy leads either one to have to pay

The sorry price of admitting faltering, even for a day.

The soul, our sacred messenger and spiritual friend,

Knows our worst misdeeds. It tells us how to mend

Our ways and thus try to live our lives unto their end

In such a way that God will be with us for all time

And smile on how we tried, ‘oft slipping, still to climb

The steepest mountains to our final goal sublime.

But, if I can live a life from which all bad deeds are hurled

Back to hell. Then may  I truly say, with all hope unfurled,

I paid for all  my sins and so all is well with the world.

AWE

EXCUSE ME ARE YOU A POLICEMAN?


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/witness-protection/”>Witness Protection</a>

continuing  my repeats  while recovering

RECITATIVE 2

 

EXCUSE ME ARE YOU A POLICEMAN?

We were faced with a crisis once, the whole family, and it was my little boy Freddie, aged eleven, who whispered in his sister Ginny’s, ear an idea of how to save us all. She ran to the front door and shouted, “Help, Rape! Rape!” 

 

Imagine for a start our dilemma. We had just received a last demand for payment on an item we still owed about two hundred dollars on. At first sight Ginny’s action outlined above would appear completely useless. But just think. Who would you get flocking round your house?

The Police? Yes that’s a good answer. About ten of them, three women and seven men. The chief male cop burst into our hall screaming, “Let me get at the bastard. Where is the little girl? ” This is the point where granny came in very useful. 

“I was the victim, officer, 52 years ago. You know, down by the canal on a sunny evening. Young Jimmy Johnson went just that bit too far, you know how fellas do, and I whacked him a backhander that sent him straight into the water amongst those iron girders and other rubbish. He didn’t try that again, did you Jimmy?”

“No I Goddam didn’t, wheezed grandad from his Norman Rockwell pose in the kitchen nook. But see here, officer. Next time I saw Jessie here she was awful nice and forgave me and was real sorry for cutting my leg so badly. We told our parents about my acident and they left us at home, even though we was too young, and that’s when we first had it off, while she was bandaging me up. Tricky position, officer, you should try it some day.”

“Then the woman cop said to the chief, “Heston, your weapon’s slipping out,…..”

“Yeah, just what Jessie said to me , ma’m,” grandad butted in and effectively closed the conversation. But think how much we benefitted. The newspaper  reporters were round en masse, and they got quite a different picture. My eighteen year old girl was crying, prostrate across her mother’s lap, and I was screaming obscenities throught the open French windows into an empty garden.

“Yes sir, he was about six foot seven and muscles like a wrestler. Little Ginny here didn’t have a chance ’til my wife spun round with the skillet and nearly knocked him out. But he still got away. All these police are chasing after him even now. These are just the few who stayed to make sure we was alright.”

Then A lot of the people who lived in our street started using our house as a museum, open to the public for just one day, and started calculating the value of all our possessions. But when Hal Billbender tried to pocket my silver pen holder enough was enough and I grabbed a cop and said “That fellow looks very like the guy”, and pointed at Hal. I’ve never seen a man put a silver penholder back on a desk so fast. But a few of the others got the message and a lot of our things were given back in haste when the felons saw we really were prepared to shop them.

Eventually the crisis cooled down as my daughter refused a medical examination, although grandrad got quite chatty and suggested the chief cop ought to have one. He also asked the chief woman cop if she’d heard the one about the police station that put up a notice ‘man wanted for rape’ and they got a hundred volunteers in ten minutes. Through gritted teeth she told him she had, many times. One of the reporters had heard it too and thinking it was a party at which such stories should be told  the female cop smacked her baton across the back of his hand breaking his quarter bottle of bourbon. The neighbours gradually left. Finally at one in the morning everything was back to normal and we went to bed.

The next day the local papers were full of “Brave Ginny beats off band of abusers” and such like headlines, but it was a huge help at eleven am. That was when a smart dressed man in a necktie and glasses rang the door bell. I asked him what he wanted.

“Oh how do you do Sir. I am sure this won’t take a moment. I believe you have gotten some two hundreed dollars behind in your … Oh my God.”

“Ginny appeared behind me with a hankie to her face and grasping my arm. Not more of them dad. Oh please I couldn’t recite it all again.”

The impeccably dressed man told me he would not dream of intruding at such an awful time for us and told me not think any more about the bill.

I didn’t. But I often think about how to deal with a crisis.

AWE

RECITATIVE 1


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/reason-to-believe/”>Reason to Believe

after yesterday’s disaster I am repeating some of my favourites as I cannot type properly following my stroke ten days ago. I shall resume proper blogging in about 2 weeks more. worst is I can’t play the piano!. My wife typed this, wish me luck. 

 

                   RECITATIVE  1

 

Heartbreak Daybreak

The starless, sunless stroke of daybreak
Was not the only sunless overture that day.
The place beside me, as I awoke early,
Was deserted. My lover had gone away.

The night before, as she seduced me,
I ignored my heart and placed my trust
In her passionate words of true devotion,
Believing they betokened love not lust.

Tears flooded down my sunken cheeks
As the sun appeared in the Eastern sky.
Yet even then I could not bring my mind
To picture her face and to say goodbye.

Now, I wonder, will my soul ever know
So cancerous an emotion or heart so sore?
If she never returns how can I forgive her?
For I would, she has only to open my door.

No note, no sign that all she wanted
Was carnal pleasure at my expense.
She was lovely, as only those we love are;
Against her smile I had no defence.

The dawn, to morning, fast is changing,
The heat of the day will soon burn all.
And yet my heart will stay cold as ice
And my hopes as empty as trees in Fall.

Darling, I beg you, return again to hold me.
Please let us enjoy one more night of desire.
For then, if again, you should try to leave me,
I shall feel no chill while rekindling our fire.

AWE

 

LIFE LONG LETS LTD.


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/worst-case-scenario/”>Worst Case Scenario</a>

a dream under anaesthetic for major surgery

                                      LIFE LONG LETS LTD.

I was walking along this dreary suburban road in a town I had never see before and the whole place was deserted with the shops all closed and no people in sight. I was frightened and lost and felt a panic attack of loneliness and desertion coming on. Then I was suddenly in front of a real estate agent’s window which had only two advertisements showing. On the left hand window was  the following.

INCREDIBLE OFFER note terms and conditions at the discretion of the landlord.

2. Downhill Way,Gomorrah. And 22, Fast Lane, Sodom

Attractive basement apartments to let for incredibly low rent. They guarantee you centrally heated two room accommodation with opportunity to try them out for an initial period before moving in permanently. On signing the contract you will be given use of a free booze stocked fridge bar, regular visits from friends of either sex with overnight sleeping rights if desired. Also as much gourmet food as you can eat. Each apartment has a free television channel with all the porn you want. Also gamblers will be staked for as much as they wish, with a guarantee of winning big pots at least once a week. The landlord’s decision is final in any disputes arising over living conditions once permanent tenancy applies.

The rent is the minimal charge of just one soul, but please note. Once you have moved in permanently there is no cancellation or get out clause. 

The other window had the following advertisement and between the two was a large glass door with two salesmen each touting for custom. On the left was a man with horns above his ears and on the right a man all in white, a gold shining light round his head. His advertisement read.

BEST APARTMENTS EVER – and ever, Amen.

1. Paradise Buildings, Happy Valley.

Penthouse suite apartments to rent. Beautiful views over hillside with happy shepherds and permanently contented sheep. No charge if suitable applicant is prepared to live and work with fun team of charity workers. CV essential and must include proof of reasonable period of good work. Samaritan experience an advantage. Landlord noted for his forgiving nature and ability to get on with anyone who wants to help him. Hence his special monthly fatted calf dinners for all his prodigal sons and daughters. Also many occupants of the block find they meet up with old friends and are guaranteed they can be happy with them for ever and ever.

NB. As no rent is charged there is no deposit, everyone is taken in good faith.

Then both men looked at me and said in unison. “You have to pick one, there is nowhere else to go.” I still don’t know whether the operation was a success as I have yet to wake up. I don’t want to go to the left  but feel I am not good enough to deserve the right. I feel very odd indeed, my soul suspended between the two.

AWE

RESTSOLUTION


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/resolved/”>Resolved</a&gt;

a brief memory

RESTSOLUTION

I resolved to resist loving fair Chloe for a year,

Though success cost me many a sigh and a tear.

And yet, on reflection, I am quite sure I was right.

As I slept so very soundly throughout every night.

AWE

PRESENT TENSE


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/write-here-write-now/”>Write Here, Write Now</a>

I think I managed the prompt .

 

                  PRESENT TENSE

I can feel a phobic panic attack about to start,

And expecting it is the most frightening part.

I cannot escape as it relentlessly draws near,

Apprehension is far worse than the final fear.

 

By then helpless terror has me in its grasp,

Choking I cannot shout, or breathe or gasp.

I am at the mercy of all I irrationally dread;

Oh. God please take me. Would I were dead!”

 

I cannot move, screwed to where I stand

Unable to seek help with voice or hand.

Instinctively I fight, faint, fall, and sweat,

I Suffer awful mental pain, and yet…

 

Now, when it is over, and once again I’m sane,

And have restored my control of limbs and brain,

I try hard to relax, but remain totally quite numb

Mind and  body awaiting the next attack to come!

AWE

MY MIDNIGHT STROKE


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/stroke-of-midnight/”>Stroke of Midnight</a>

I went to bed early last night, so here’s an old one !

                                      MY MIDNIGHT STROKE

    This story of a New Year revel takes me back many moons to the thirty first of December when I was seventeen and a half and left to my own devices at the year’s close for the first time in my life. My grandmother was on a world tour, my father on business in America, my sister staying with two school friends and my mother in hospital feeling very cut up after some serious surgical intervention. Being Scottish mama insisted one should always usher in the new year. So, true to family tradition, at around eight pm that evening I set out around the cinemas of our capital city to find myself an usherette.

    An usherette, in the Britain in which I grew up, was the girl in the cinema with a torch who showed you to your seat if you arrived in the middle of a film. During various intermissions she would double up as the popcorn and ice cream seller. If you went to a really posh cinema in London’s West End a quite superior harpy would take your coat and hang it up for you, but such luxuries were seldom found in the suburbs. I lived in a very rich suburb, but this largesse did not extend to palaces of black and white screens and giggling back row couples. The Odeon was a popular place for cuddles in the back row stalls and I felt sure I would be able to find an usherette to my liking. My sole aim was to take her somewhere for a midnight drink after the last film and keep up the family tradition.

As luck would have it the main film that weekend was Frank Sinatra and Debbie Reynolds in ‘The Tender Trap’. Are any of you old enough to remember this run of the mill musical? It followed the previous week’s showing of ‘White Christmas’, you know Danny Kaye, Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen making the ultimate Christmas film of all time. What we had to put up with when we were young! But back to my nocturnal pursuits. As I bought my ticket and entered the cinema the usherette came up to me to light my way to a seat when she saw who I was. Have you ever stiffled an exclamation of joyous surprise just as Frank and Debbie were about to embrace? It goes like this.

    “My God, Anton!”

    “ShShSh”

    I, sotto voce, “Kate! But you’re far too young to do this when there may be X rated films on!”

    “Oh,”shshshsh, “Sorry! Thanks, but I can easily look old enough when I have to!”

   “Not twenty one you can’t!”

   “Look, do you want to park your Arkansas or shall I call the manager and have you thrown out?”       Totally muffled guffaws from both parties. I slid into the very back row just two seats along as the first five were empty. I also skillfully switched off Kate’s torch. Then I whispered in her ear as I pulled her into the seat next to me,

   “I bet they paid you before the last house and this is just a one week holiday job. The manager will probably even have gone to a party by now. They never get full houses on New Year’s Eve. Am I right?” She nodded.

   “Then, my sweet, you have just gone off duty and when this rubbish ends in twenty minutes we needn’t wait for the newsreel and ads we can just leave.”

    “Oh, can we? And what makes you think I .. oh,..oh… no stop it. Well, I suppose it is New Year. …mmm…..okay you win. Where shall we go?”

    An arm slid round her shoulders and I snatched a kiss on her neck while starting to whisper…”Back to my place. I have 37 empty rooms. The family are all away. We can tell your mum we’re at a party.”

    “Can we? Some cheek! ….oh,oh… yes,… whose party, Anton? She knows your mum’s ill. Is your elder sister throwing a bash?” I smiled.

    “No, she’s round at Linda’s for the night, but I feel too Garboesque to join anyone. Well not including you if you are all alone at such a time. So sad.”

   “Don’t do that!… We’d better go now while I can still sneak out without being seen. Come on, Romeo. I never imagined tonight would be such fun. Have you brought your car?”

   “No, dad’s Jaguar. He won’t mind he’s in New York. Also if I’m driving I have to behave myself in the car.”

  “Never stopped you before, “ was her grinning answer. We arrived at my family mansion around half past ten. Now Kate was only a couple of months younger than I but even so I did not want to offer her any alcohol she was not used to. Apart from anything else I had known her for several years and liked her too much to take advntage of her. But she was not looking at the bottles of booze or even at me. Our Christmas decorations seemed to mesmerise her.

   “Oh, Anton you have done the house up beautifully. I have always loved this drawing room, but the streamers over the piano and the huge Christmas tree through the doors in the conservatory, it’s just like fairyland. What shall we do?” I suddenly realised I hadn’t got a clue. Television was a big no, no at New Year and I’ve explained the drinking problem, so I was just about to suggest we sit down on the huge, comfy sofa when she really surprised me.

    “Could I ask for a New Year’s gift? It won’t cost you anything.” I momentarily thought the floor was about to open up beneath me and take my morals with it. What did she want? I never thought she’d suggest it!

    “Anton everyone tells me how well you play the piano, and yet I have never heard you because ..well..oh dear this is awkward.. you see mummy says….”

    “I gave her an affectionately understanding look. “Don’t feel any embarrassment, Kate, I know what everyone says behind my back. ‘He’s got this terrible mental illness and can’t do anything he’s good at in front of other people’. Or some such rubbish. I’m right aren’t I?”

   A tear rolled down her cheek. “Yes, I am sorry. People do say awful things about you, but so very few of us have ever heard you play. It’s said you can only play for one person at a time. Is that true, and if it is could it be me tonight? Jacqueline says you are a brilliant classical pianist and I love really good music. Would you play me something? Please!” Actually I had never felt more like playing something I really liked. But I asked her to choose. I told her I had a fairly large repertoire. Then it was my turn to be staggered.

   “I believe you love Liszt and your music master has told people you can actually play the whole of the twelve transcendetal etudes right through. I’ll be as quiet as a mouse, and even if takes just over an hour we’ll still have time to cuddle up on the couch with a drink to bring in the new year”. I could hardly believe it. I agreed at once and we both settled down to an hour of quite unusual and unexpected pleasure.

   It was twenty minutes to midnight when I finished and went to the fridge and opened a bottle of Champagne. This won’t knock you out or make you ill will it?

   “After that music, nothing you could offer me could do anything other than make me happier than I’ve ever been. This is a great, great New Year’s Eve. My best ever, thank you.” So we snuggled up in front of the log fire, a glass of bubbly in our free hands and our other arms round each other as we just smiled and kissed affectionately for a few minutes. Then I turned on the radio to hear Big Ben chime midnight and say goodbye to 1959.

   “Got any really important resolutions, Kate?” I asked, gently brushing the blonde curls from in front of her eyes. She had a far away look in her eyes and troubled expression that was half really happy yet half sad.

   “I had thought I was going to be really good this year and try to help as many people in need as I could. But after tonight I have to be honest, Anton. What I really want in 1960 is to fall in love. But that’s not something you can plan or arrange, is it? It either happens or it doesn’t. What’s your resolution?”

   I almost couldn’t tell her. “As we’re being honest Kate, I hoped that by the end of the year I would have made love to someone for the first time in my life. But like you, that’s not something I can plan or arrange. You see I could only bring myself to do it if the girl was as fond of me as I would have to be of her. And if I met her I might not even know at first. So we both seem to have landed ourselves with obvious but probably impossible resolutions.”

    It was the way she let me stroke her hair so gently as we held each other very close, and downed the last drop of Champagne half an hour later, that left us both lost. We looked quizzically at each other and then collapsed in each other’s arms.

    And do you know something? Later that day around noon neither of us knew whether we had yet kept our resolutions or not.

AWE