Strawberry Hill

The house frontage onto the gardens with current marquee/ cafeteria extension. Note Queen Mary’s University is actually attached.

An iced fairy-cake,
White Gothic structure
Shining in the sun with
Turrets, towers and chimneys
Spires, like icing sugar
Spiking heavenward,
Brilliant against
The dome of a blue sky.
Castellations of legends
And pointed, arched windows
Full of intricate tracings.
Paradise of imagination,
Packed with curiosities
In the collections of
Walpole’s desires
And eccentricities.

Strawberry Hill, London, is currently open to the public with an exhibition of some of the items collected by Horace Walpole (son of Britain’s first Prime Minister). He was an avid collector of art and curiosities, from fine art to armour and coins etc.

Chimneys and spires against a stormy sky at Strawberry Hill.

The house originally fronted onto the Thames, but the land in front has now been built upon and the site has been developed as part of Queen Mary’s University, London, in fact the students wander around the campus on the lawns outside and have lectures in the adjoining rooms.

Walpole designed this house together with his friends Richard Bentley and John Chute, as a ‘private retreat and a house for show, a place for study and for elaborate parties.’*

Not only is the exterior beautiful, but the interior has rooms or varying shapes, and sizes, ceilings which must be some of the best examples of Gothic revivalism known. There is a mirrored gallery, glitzy with gold and cream Gothic pinnacle ceiling and the prettiest library I remember ever seeing. Unfortunately I could not photograph the interior this time due to so many of the artefacts being on private loan.

It is well worth a visit though for those who like the Gothic style.

The turret and ornate iron staircase at Strawberry Hill.

Poem, prose and photos copyright Englepip©

The Last Rhinos

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This poem is for the rhinos and in particular for the Northern White Rhino of which as of 19th March 2018 there are only two females remaining. In reality both are past breeding age, but I have tried to imagine that one is still small in this poem. The picture is of Southern White Rhino in captivity since so many are being poached out as you read.

Look at me Mum, look at me

Playing in the water with my pal, Jo

You said we were the last, just a moment ago

Females all in a world that’s so

Amazing that the Two Legs want it

All to themselves!

But look what they’ve given us

Water to drink and now a lovely friend, I think,

Who follows me around the waterhole

You know she is so very droll

She’s upside-down and topsy turvy

But don’t you think she’s rather curvy and so

Amazing

Maybe too amazing and the Two Legs will want her

All to themselves.

Mum, mum you keep on munching

The grass they left you for our lunching

But  I really do want you to play

Daddy used to, but he’s gone away.

That night we heard the bangs and the groans,

Smelled the blood and the horrible diesel fumes,

Smelled the Two Legs’ sweaty, animal stench

Heard the babble and squeak of their horrid tones.

Dad was amazing – so amazing!

So smart and so handsome

You said that the Two Legs wanted him all for themselves.

You seem so sad since he’s been gone

And since we were captured and brought to this place.

I know you tell me that we seem safe

We’ve food and we’ve water all provided

But being alone is oh so boring.

Ålone, the last two of our kind on earth today

But we’ll be safe won’t we from the ones with guns?

Fed and watered in captivity

But unable to do normal activity.

Mum, tell me they won’t take you as well,

You’re precious to me and life would be hell

With just me – just me and me alone

And the Two Legs out there

Pretending to help when all they’ve done

Is kill and massacre ’til we’re alone

And they have won and taken the earth

And all it’s animals all for themselves,

With no thought for the future

Just war and destruction against….

All creatures that on earth do dwell

They’ll extinguish all, both great and small

Everyone, themselves as well.

Words and photo copyright to  Englepip©

Daily Prompt: White Rose

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A winter’s day

And already the sun is low on the horizon

A chill creeps through the air

As the light sinks.

The graveyard settles into shadow

And night.

At my feet lie the dead.

Buried beneath the cold clods

Stones at their heads that read

Of poetic loss and grief at their passing.

“Beloved son”, “Loving mother,”

“Sacred to the memory.”

The once living

Now lie inanimate,

Six feet under.

Waiting: for what?

For eternity, for heaven or for hell?

Certainly, their release from this life passed,

Is there death, new life, resurrection?

For this is a Christian place.

As I turn to go,

I retrieve a discarded rose,

White and innocent in the dewy grass

And I place it on the moss-covered  wall

Between the sacred land and the unconsecrated.

Is it for me to sympathise in death or

To celebrate of the life to come?

 

We shall all find out in time.

 

Words and photo copyright to Englepip©

via Daily Prompt: Sympathize