Archive for March, 2016

This is my own line-for-line literal translation of the whole Vercelli ms of the poem. I miss all the metrical tautness and alliteration. I hope, however, that it does give some impression of the period tone of the poem.


     Hwaet! Ic swefna cyst   seegan wylle

h(w)aet me gematte   to midre nihte

   sythan reordberend   reste wunedon.

Listen, I had the best of dreams – I will tell you
well I dreamed this middle night,
when word-bearers had won their rest.
I thought that I saw a wonderful tree
in the air raised, light wrapped around it
bright shining. All of that symbol was
sprinkled with gold; gems stood
fair on the earth surface, and five there were
on the tree’s axlespan. Gazed on there by angels, the Lords’ all,
fair in creation. Nor was this a felon’s gallows
but beheld there by the holy spirit
in men upon the earth and all this great creation.
Marvellous was that sign of victory, and I a guilty sinner
stained with sins. I saw glory’s tree
dressed in honour, beautifully shining
covered with gold, gems it had on it
covered magnificently, this forest tree.
However by virtue of that gold I perceived the mighty
wretched former struggle earlier, as it began
to bleed on the right-hand side. I was all with sorrow distressed
a friend I was for that beautiful vision. I saw that dressed symbol
change covering and colour; at times it was with wetness bestreamed
soaked with blood flow, at times with treasure adorned.
However I long lay there, a long while
beholding the sorrowing of the Saviour’s tree,
until, I understood, I heard it speak.
To begin with the words spoken by the wood were great:

“That was very long ago ( I still remember)
When I was hewn, at the end of the wood,
Removed from my root. Taken away by strong foes
To become then on show, bid me to bear their felon.
Bearing me on their shoulders, until on a hill they set me
Fastened on me foes. I beheld the Lord of mankind
Made haste with great strength on me to mount.
There I then durst not over the word of the Lord
Bend or break, there I saw shake
The earth surface. I might have
Struck  foes down, however I stood fast.
Stripped then they the man (that was God almighty)
Strong and resolute; he ascended the gallows
Brave in many man’s sight, that he redeem the mocked.
Trembling I was embraced by the man, nor dust I bend to earth,
Or fall to earth’s surface. But I was obliged to stand fast.
Rood was I raised up. I lifted the powerful king,
Heaven’s Lord; bend I durst not.                 45
Piercing he and me with dark nails;
on me the wounds are visible,
Open malicious wounds. Nor durst I injure no one.
Mocked were we both together. I all with blood wet
Covered the sky altogether. The Lord’s corpse
Its bright radiance, overcome,
dark in shadow. All creation wept
lamenting the King’s fall. Christ was on the rood.
However, there hastened from afar coming
Sore I was with sorrow distressed, bent down to their hands
Humbled by their mighty courage.  They took away the great almighty,
The followers lifted off the heavy torment, left me a sorrowful warrior
Standing moisture drenched, as if all with arrows wounded.
They lay down the weary limbs, standing at the body’s head;
Beheld him their heaven’s Lord, then to his brief rest,
Exhausted after the mighty struggle.  They began a grave to make.
Warriors of the slain vision; cut down the bright stone,
Set him therein, the triumphant Lord. There began to sing the lament
Wretched in the evening time; then would afterwards depart
Exhausted from great joining, rested with followers.
However, they wept there a good while
Stood in position, afterwards they up and departed
Their warrior, the corpse grown cold,
Fair body. Then men cut me down again
All to earth;  that was a terrible fate!
I was buried as a man in a deep pit. Nevertheless the Lord’s followers,
His friends found me , ………………………..
Girded me with gold and silver.
Now thou might adorn, bend dearly to me
That am honoured far and wide
By men over the earth and all this great creation
Worship they my beacon. On me God’s Son
Suffered for a time. Therefore I am glorious to you
I rise up to heaven, and I may heal
Everyone who alone is in awe of me.
Evil people were before in life’s path,
The right way of is for speech-bearers.
Listen to me in this, honour the world’s Lord
On the wood on the hill, heaven’s Guardian
And there his mother, Mary herself,                                                              92
Of almighty God, for all men
And on behalf of all woman-kind.
Now, I who make these dear comments to you,
That this vision tell to mankind,
Disclose these words of a glorious tree,
Who saw almighty God as he suffered
For mankind, for people’s sins
And Adam’s former act.
Death he tasted; but afterwards the Lord arose
With his great might to help man.
He then to heaven ascended. Here afterwards to come
To this middle earth mankind to seek
On doomsday the Lord himself,
Almighty God, and with his angels
In judgement, with the power to judge the wretched
Every one , for what he earlier here
In this transitory life deserved.
Not able anymore to be afraid
Because of the word of the Lord’s lament.
He asked for many where he saw men
So in the Lord’s name would die
Tasting bitterness as He had formerly died.
Who had been afraid, and feared to think
He to Christ is to begin to declare.
No need then anymore to be afraid
He who before his heart bears this good symbol.
But he who durst the rood see reaching the kingdom
From earth each soul
With the Ruler dwells henceforth.”

Biding then by the tree made joyful
much strength there I alone strove
I of a small company. Strong  in spirit
urged on to depart, endured
a time of longing. I beheld now life’s hope
that of the tree of victory may he seek out
often alone, by all men
to be fully honoured. It was my desire though
the great heart, and protection as well,
I directed to the rood.  I possessed no great power
nor friends on earth. They were away from here
departed from the delight of the world,
they sought the glorious King,
a new life in heaven with God the Father,
to dwell in glory; and I hoped for
every day when I to the Lord’s rood,
which I here on earth formerly saw,
on this transitory life I fetched upon
that I bring from there great bliss,
joy of heaven,  of the Lord’s folk
a place at the feast, there I afterwards may
live in glory, fully with the holy
in joy partaking . To be the Lord’s friend.
he who here on earth before suffered
on the gallows tree for every man’s sins.
He us redeemed and our lives granted,
is home in heaven.  Gladness is to be renewed
with blessedness and bliss for they that endure suffering
the Son triumphant on his journey,
mighty and successful, then he among many came,
a multitude of spirits, on God’s ascent,
Lord Almighty, angels of bliss
besides all the holy, besides they in heaven before
dwelling in glory – to the Ruler came
almighty God, there his abode was.


Posted: March 18, 2016 in Chat

I have been watching a tiresome TV series on British TV, all to do with aging spies, and MI5 and Government machinations. Yawn.

But what irritated So much was/is the tendency to address government figures by their roles: Yes, Prime Minister, No Prime Minister etc (You could imagine the PM in this series as physically saving the world from alien invasion: yes, he was one of those). In 10 years of power ‘his decisions have been and continue to be sound and balanced’!
To get through a week with one person’s balanced decisions would be a feat.
And for one person’s decisions to decide for a nation…! Absolute tosh.

A Prime Minister is a position, role, that has existed for centuries and will maybe exist for more.

It is Not the person. The person has to try to live up to the post.

Same with Senators, Congressmen, Presidents – the person has to strive to live up to the position they have been designated. And if anybody thinks, in all their insufferable arrogance, that they have achieved/attained their role, then they are only showing by how much they have failed. And should be sacked.

I remember an essay I wrote years ago and writing how a government was only as good as its opposition. That a vigilant and strong opposition could curtail, alter and moderate the more wayward decisions every party in power is capable of.
This is not coalition politics but the kind that keeps decision making relevant. Maybe.


The UK is on the up! Hooray!

Well, any improvement on nothing is improvement, yes?.

And nothing is what we were reduced to. Of course, we are pressured into forgetting all that.

Does anybody else feel that this great striving for Debt Reduction amounts to pie-in-the-sky, that a time of Reduced Debt, never mind No Debt, is a Never-Never Land?
Indeed, there are some economists horrified by the prospect of a No Debt economy.

Maybe it is that the future of communities and Global communities is not to subject generations of people to cut-backs and skeleton services (with all the horrors of bad and inadequate services that stem from that), the increasingly vicious employment practices – but to re-source wealth and expectations, live on human levels. That is, not chase increasingly unreal expectations that aggressive markets require of us.

Maybe we should crowd-source government policies. One US Candidate was doing that. I would like to know something of the psychology of crowds in crowd-sourcing, of the ranges of people contactable for crowd-sourcing before any of that is taken seriously, though. Were they really crowd-sourced, or were they the narrow demographic of an agency providing such information?

Then again, it is shocking how much of our knowledge of government, business, industry, the City, is provided by TV and newspapers. Neither sources we would trust out of our sight (how they make us believe we are helpless, powerless); they make us distrust our neighbours but trust strangers with our money.

Just as the templates for our expectations of life-style, living requirements, are all provided for us by aggressive advertising. And along with that, our behaviour, thinking-circuits and verbal and body responses all provided for us my film/movie and TV.

The past Was a different country – 100 years ago we would seem unrecognizable to our then contemporaries. Not better, note, but so different they would probably secretly despise us – for our narcissism and selfishness mostly.

This is one novel I am greatly looking  to, with great relish, and not a little abandon.

I have read earlier drafts and there really is fine writing writing here – fine writing and a wholly wayward imagination. But it works! It works wonderfully.

Publication date: 14th April, 2016, by Urbane Publications.


Out Damned Spot! William Shakespeare, Crime Scene Cleaner is published by Urbane Publications on April 14th 2016





If I transgressed anyone’s copyright by earlier pasting up the press-releases of various bodies, I offer sincere apologies.

Basil Jeuda

Posted: March 4, 2016 in Chat
Tags: , ,

Every few months the local town has a special artisan market.
Sunday 28th February was one of those times.
We called in.

There were stalls selling Ukrainian food, wild mushrooms (they were delicious), local honey, cheeses. There were knick-knack stalls selling… knick-knacks (you may have to google that one).
There were also ‘Frozen Charlottes’ –  a whole tray full of tiny bisque dolls.
“Found in the ruins of a German toy factory.” our jovial host informed us. He was jovial. Was he our host? A matter for mulling over mulled wine, perhaps.
– An American ballad tells of a young girl who mithered her mother to let her go to the ball. It was bitterly cold, a real East Coast winter. Her mother relented and assented. The girl was so vain, though, she took her warm coat off to show off her wonderful dress.
She never got to the ball.
She was found later (when the snow melted?), frozen to death.
All on account of her vanity.
Hear ye, children all!

These little Frozen Charlottes are all naked, though. We hunted through the tray to find one still whole. Found one!
You’ll never be cold again, little one!

But the stall we were looking for was a Second-Hand and Rare Book stall.
It was run by Anne-Marie Pond, for Hameston Books.And jointly staffed by Basil Jeuda.

Basil Jeuda moved into the area in the 1970s. He is a train and railways enthusiast; he must have published over twenty books by now.
Most are on railway, canal, transport themes, but he also covers much of the twentieth-century from the inside, with titles like WORLD  WAR ONE AND THE MANCHESTER SEPHARDIM.
His background is Sephardic father and Ashkenazi mother.

His latest book is the one we were after:

The new book charts, identifies and explores the Jewish families who moved into the local area shortly before and during the Second World War.
They were, of course, escaping the Nazi regime, and the London blitz.

He has carefully investigated his subjects, sought out photographs, business histories and family histories. It is indeed a work of love.


Much of great interest emerges: by nineteen forty-one there were sufficient numbers of families in the area to warrant setting up a local synagogue. I had tried to investigate this myself some years ago, but with no success: I did not have his connections.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the opening of that synagogue.

The place they chose was part of Charles Roe House: 62, Chestergate, Macclesfield.
The building is named after a local silk industrialist  and evangelical preacher (1715 -1781), and as usual in the period, was probably a patron of the arts.

Charles Roe House today:



The middle floor was the site of the synagogue. It existed as such during the War years.
Kosher food was shipped in from the city, then more locally sourced.
Many of the Jewish families returned to their families in London’s east end after the War. A few stayed in the area, and thrived.

Charles Roe House is now the focus of Incubation Arts. It houses an important collection of photographs and memorabilia dedicated to local guys, JOY DIVISION.
It is also an arts space for exhibitions of work: paintings, sculpture, talks.

But Basil Jueda is worth looking up. Basil Jueda is one very interesting man.

Further Information:

Basil Jeuda:


Courtesy of Macclesfield Express