In The Land Of Never Was


I started ‘writing’ when I was fifteen just before I left school and yes, fifteen was too young to be leaving school but as we say – ‘that’s the way you did it in those days. Like getting married at seventeen, having children early or having unprotected sex.’

I couldn’t wait to leave school and I landed a pretty ‘safe’ job with prospects, providing I worked at it for a number of years. I was a draughtsman in a switchgear firm that manufactured switchboards for offices and hospitals. I earned a £5 note per week before stoppages, had to fetch the teas for the whole drawing office and attend evening classes 3 nights per week at the local Technical College to earn a ‘day release’ in my 2nd year.

My writing was very personal and at that stage quite private and fuelled by my non-conformist tendencies. I had the idea even then that I was a kind of bohemian and I found myself drawn to a radicalism of thought as ‘impressionable’ teenagers often are. My unhappy home life since father broke my heart and our happy suburban family facade wide open, had given me a raw ‘edge’ which suggested I was worldly-wise way beyond my years and experience. I was fairly disdainful of the petite bourgeoise, middle-class values my father and mother had esteemed so highly and blindly. This contempt was no doubt bolstered by the notion I carried that my parents had somehow lied to me while trying to protect me from the truth of the unhappiness in their relationship. 

I left my apprentice draughtsman’s post and found the perfect position working in Leicester Square for an Artists’ Agency where my avant-garde leanings developed by the day as I journeyed around the streets and landmarks of central London, ferrying art to and fro from artists to publishing houses and back, while amongst other things collecting and posting artists materials and photo-shoot reference from various, curious backstreet suppliers and agencies in Fleet Street, across to South Kensington and back to the Edgware Road. I consumed art and read literature ravenously while traveling on the Underground or on the Southern Rail from Cheam in Surrey to Victoria. 

I loved both George Orwell’s lesser and better-known titles and began to read avidly Herman Hesse, John Steinbeck, John Wyndham, Ernest Hemmingway, Emile Zola, Voltaire, indeed anyone that tapped into my slightly subversive but nevertheless intensely creative mindset.  I visited Art Galleries old and new, joined the famed St Martin’s Art School who boasted a Life Class with 8 naked models who posed delightfully in one large room and I became friendly with virtually all our bunch of 30 or so virtuoso artists, from the hermit-like Alex Oliphant, a sad and lonely widower and whisky drinking alcoholic, who illustrated tawdry tales of lust and intrigue for Parade, the men’s magazine, to the entirely petite and quaint Miss Jeanetta Vice who drew Noddy and Big Ears for ‘Robin’ Comic. Jeanetta lived in an exquisite luxury apartment in Portman Square, a few minutes walk from Mayfair and would offer me cups of English tea served in bone china whenever I called.

There was also the entirely charismatic Walter ‘Wally’ Wyles who walked on a club foot and would happily blow up to 20% of his substantial fees received for 12-part magazine illustrations on full day binges in a classy little French Restaurant in Longacre near Covent Garden which he would take over for the day. Wally would invite everyone and anyone who had been engaged in the projects:- editors, agents, secretaries, assistants, photographers, models,  etc. etc.,  just to thank and reward them for their cooperation, even though they would have already been paid handsomely for their part.

The life and characters of so many of those artists and personalities I met during my time in the West End of London, truly expanded my literary landscape and when I produced 5 poems for publication a year after finally leaving the teeming and vivacious world of art and print, those poems were, I believe, some of the most creative writings I have ever written. Sadly at a time of personal revolution and subsequent confusion, the poems though accepted were never published and eventually were lost. I have tried to re-write a few of them but never felt they matched the originals for their tumbling verve, boldness and intensity.


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I said when I was nineteen I would lead a useful life. Throw off the angst of adolescence, become a man of endeavour and history but do we ever really achieve? Even when we have scaled the walls of the castle and fought the foe till he is dead, do we actually triumph in our own eyes? Are our purple ribbons a happy and satisfying memoir to what we have wrought on life’s highest ramparts? While the crowd murmurs its fickle appreciation.

Sometimes I am sick of myself and my fawning ingratiation with my own sense of importance. My sense of self pleasure which alone wrestles with even my best moments of selfless abandon, to add question to whether I have indeed any good or any real worth over my overwhelming need to satisfy my self.

One really can go mad with this.

I am coming to the realisation that each day is indeed a re-run of the last and despite the intrusion of suffering we are caught like struggling flies on the papers of the mundane and repetitive. The record is not so much stuck but constantly set to ‘return’ as in that marvelous movie ‘Groundhog Day’ and as we have no alibi or ally that will fake the evidence, yesterdays dreams do amount to little more than ashes.

Only the fact that I am and do exist seems in some small but intrinsic dimension able to unravel the wooliness that can suffocate the creative mind and any vestige of spiritual influence. The ego stands up once more and demands recognition while we wrestle to stand proud and true and wholehearted in our own honest shoes.

Of course ‘others’ it seems have no such pretensions and exist, it seems, the happier for it which in turn begs the question, is intelligence an asset or a curse? Would the frailty of mind that blinds a Shakespeare ‘fool’ to gratification be rather a softer joy than the apparent torture of the tempest which assaults from within the melancholy of the bipolar and the innovational brain. Pity the fool? No, pity the scholar!

The more we resolve such dilemma’s the more personal space we find upon our island that we must conquer to survive. If you can find and live that fool’s folly then despite having not attained you will at least have learned and can quiet yourself and wait like Antartica’s albatross for your life mate to return.

Whats that coming over the hill, is it a monster?



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CHILD .. .


O’ weary me

O’ weary be

the sight of sun

the smell of sea

the yawn of death

the bite of flea

I give nothing

but a hand

a word, an arm

a coin, a kiss

the fanciful smile

a bared breast

O’ weary me

O’ weary be

the buzzing bee

a sight to see

and dangle thee

upon a knee

and so may we

hug our little children?


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Tribute to James Gandolfini


.. .

You can travel down the road,

check on every vine,

you can travel down the road,

you can travel down the line.

But there were few like Jimmy.

He was homemade wine.

Honest, good, pure, nothing added.

He wants you to have a good time,

sharing with friends like family.

He was homemade wine.

You  need a dollar? you’ve got Jim.

Loyalty and truthfulness, that was him.

Believing in something good out there.

Never got in the way, he was always fair.

A good brother, a good son, a good father.

He always tried his best.

And all the rest,

he was homemade wine.


.. .

Don’t usually write myself ~ with such rhyming sentiment

Not to say that I don’t appreciate sentiment

it just makes me cry too easily

.. . then I heard this on a You-tube tribute to James Gandolfini

.. . and it made me cry.


You-tube tribute :

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I Wanna Be Free

There’s no joy in my heart,
only sorrow
And I’m sad
as a man can be
I sit alone in the darkness
of my lonely room
And this room
is a prison to me

I look out the window
and what do I see?
I see a bird
way up in a tree
I want to be free free
Free – ee – ee – ee
I want to be free
like a bird in a tree

What good are my eyes,
they can’t see you
And my arms,
they can’t hold you so tight
I have two lips
that are yearning,
but they’re no good to me
Cause I know I can’t kiss you tonight

I look out the window
and what do I see?
I see a bird
way up in a tree
I want to be free free
Free – ee – ee – ee
I wanna be free
like a bird in a tree
I want to be free
like a bird in a tree

.. .

guest poem/lyricsWrittenbyLeiber,Jerry&Stoller1956



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. ..

The swollen Arno overflows, only the wicked river knows

A trail of umber sediment, borrowed nuggets of rose-gold

Beneath the merchants tables, its soft, princely belly gored

The flower of the Medici on laden, merchant-vessels moored

A tale told, a crucible of fire, bonfire of vanities, lust and desire 

Firenze sleeps, artisans, courtesans both, purple, plush & bored

A cradle for a renaissance and Arno’s sacred arthouse store

. ..





GLOSSARY – savonarolA – Piero and the exile of the Medici: 1492-1494 – bonfire of vanities tuscany

Read more:

#NOTE – I have never been what you might call a rhyming poet or written what you might call poems of form or open to exegetic or critical poetic analysis (No negative judgement on poems like these intended or implied). I have always tried to write in a more open, Kerouac-style of prose for want of a better explanation. Perhaps like the Beat-style poets of the 60’s/70’s, where feeling and emotion are more important than form.

I have suffered the occasional criticism for this and in a somewhat futile attempt to silence the inner demons who taunt, I entered a poetry society and whilst there, I entered this poem in a competition. It brought me some rave reviews from a few notable American poets who commented that it was ‘the real thing’ and also some criticisms – such is life but I actually like it because it seems to me, to meet the criteria of the competition and describe the history of one of the world’s ‘great’ art cities – Florence.

What do you think? 

~ edenbray22.10.2017  



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finally we come to the city of Glasgow,

served by the fresh waters of the Trossachs,

nestled at the base of the verdant west

and the wild plains of the east,

It is the driving wheel

of those two hubs of commerce

that prompt the nation

from the central seam of the nations belly,

a joint cerebral stimuli,

sitting north of the industrial heartland

leaning heavily on the soft underbelly

and beauty of the lowlands

. ..



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. ..



. ..

When you can’t see you long to look

through wooden blinds, an open book

When you can’t hear you yearn to listen

waiting for falling snow to glisten

When you can’t speak you want to shout

tell Monsignor the hellhound’s out

When you can’t touch you need to feel

decide yourself whether love is real

. ..


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you are a rock to me

 … I will return to remind thee, you are still as my elder sister …

. ..

Ρretty thee and charming, your smile disarming

ξÐÎΝβνΓςΗ, handsome as a gypsy’s Queen and

greener than a summer salad set with radishes

and drizzled with italian oil.

You slake my thirst, feed my emptied, hungry soul 

and take my calloused hands in yourn so sweetly.

I have sworn to stand by your ancient turrets

to always give a good, stern report ~ fly the ensign

 buried deep upon your sunnied granite face and

set hard again those chill ΓÛššÎΔΝ winds

that strike September so keenly

or bite the night when swifts still fly.

I am loving thee my royal princess

in tattered shawl your breast just showing.

Your breath fresh as apple cider

your smile birthed in trial you have worn as lovers clothes,

taken his saturday joys, his monday flowers

now so tired and bruised.

Keep my stained memoirs, faded diaries,

grained pencil sketches,

they are not all I have of you,

I kiss your swollen lips

embrace your embroidered hips,

nuzzle the warmth of your velvet bosom

ξdinbvrgh you are as a rock to me aNd I will return

to remind thee you are still as my elder sister,

the staunchest ally, a warrior friend

… then we will sit and talk halfway through the night

as lovers always should do …

.. .



.. .


.. .

Jessica Phirri comments on 01/10/2011

love the song. love the poem. as always, you wow me with the visuals.

” your breath fresh as apple cider

your smile birthed in trial that you have worn as lovers clothes,

taken his saturday joys, his monday flowers now so tired and bruised.”

like watching a battered woman make her bed and lie in it and still want to comfort her…… I don’t know. this poem is hitting me at a rough time. america is like an old dog laying on her side breathing rather slow and heavy. so to read this, makes me wish I had real roots.

. ..

On this day 04th July, 2013 I dedicate this poem to Jessica Phirri my most trusted critic, literary advisor and a friend

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