The mysteries of an unfathomable universe.

Poetry of an unfathomable universe.

A very short story of a very talented boy I once knew whose life was tragically cut short. What a waste.

Now I went to secondary school in a country which at that time was known as Rhodesia. The school I went to was called Plumtree far, far, from where I lived. It was a tough school and a very hard place situated on the Southern boundary on the border of Botswana. Very harsh terrain and almost desert like conditions. A boys only school and as with most Rhodesian schools at that time, sport was King and the most popular boys were the ones who excelled at this.

But what happens if you happened to be a boy with a great mind and talent? Why, you were catered for too and was actually the whole essence of the school. To find the complete man. I knew a boy like this although he was no great shakes at sport. But oh what a mind. His forte was in the arts, especially English.

Grey House, Plumtree School, where I stayed.

On leaving school his life was tragically cut short. Whilst in his first year at University in the neighbouring country South Africa and travelling back home to Rhodesia for the holidays he was killed in a car accident. What a waste.

Now somewhere during all this time I lost my hearing and became profoundly deafened. Whilst learning to lip read my teacher told me that seeing as I couldn’t hear the spoken word I needed to read to improve my vocabulary. One day I was glancing through one of the old school magazines and came across this poem, which had a lifetime effect on me. Written none other by Robert Newhook (Bob) the young boy who had been so tragically killed. I’m beginning to think he was a visionary. Just how could a sixteen year old boy write something so profound? Especially considering how our poor, sad, blighted, country has turned out? Think about it.

Here is his poem.The mysteries of an unfathomable universe.

“You know how sometimes when you’re listening,
part attentive, semi-conscious’
Dreaming of another time, a foreign place,
The shifting image in a half remembered face,
you lean against your shadow on a door and say;
This has all happened once before.

The pulse of sirens, distant trains, the throbbing echo of some unseen horn,
Muted conversations that forewarn of journeys,
Passing strangers, doom or joy,
All the portents once revealed by Gypsies as they read’
The whispers in your hand.

It seemed a time when one by one, the stars were blinking out,
And men at last had time to doubt,
Whatever anxious passion made them build a thing,
From which they had to run.

While there are voices mocking the attempt,
Just as there are winking signs in imitation of the sun,
The siren, train and horn, the fortune whimpering upon your palm,
The quick unspoken cry of chaos in the molecules of welded air,
Could still have counterparts, on yet another understanding tongue?

You heard, but all the same you turned away,
Returning to the cares of daily life,
The way a mourner leaves a grave and wanders home to bed,
Reality you reasoned, was not the stuff of dreams’
And everything had happened once before.”

And here is another which I have been waiting so long to find. Very kindly sent to me by an old French teacher of mine and hockey coach. Thank you Mike Mountain.

The poem won the Fynn prize in the Institute of Allied Arts in the then Rhodesia, and he was just a kid, but my, what a talent.

FACES.

“To Calvary Hill they now come
Calvary hill, as new as the hills,
Where now the principality of the sky dazzles
Striving against shadows as black as the heart,
All the jeering, loud-lipped faces push up the winding hill
All to see the agony of one dirty hairy face.

But haven’t you seen these faces before
By the fishing-boat bobbing Galilee Sea,
By the lolling lapping idling seaweed sea?
These bread and fish fed faces
As deaf as hypocrites in a dumbfound town,
Sniffling passionately, absorbedly, like wet-nose dogs.
Or at Herod’s palace with faces
As bald as onions, or as soft as gutted fish?
And all the children’s faces clamouring
Like palm leaves swishing in the holy gale
While the Saducees snout in the muffled middle
Of a passing passover.
And can’t you see the faces of the foxy-darling harlot
And the avaricious undertaker?

Then the Faces gasp with a strangled gulp
When Pilate’s people push the horsenails home
And the Mary faces mourn, and the Golgotha faces gloat
And the Eloi lama sabacthani face
Gave up
The ghost.

Then the clouds sag and pillow,
Obscuring the face of the earth with darkness,
The veil of the temple topples from top to rockless toe
And the faces tremble and fall head over hell
And Calvary hill is as old as the hills
And the dirty hairy face is clean and pure
Clean and pure for ever and ever.
For ever
And ever.”

RIP Bob, what a waste.

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About spookmoor

I'm a 61 year old happily married man with three grown up children. I lost all my hearing as an eighteen year old whilst doing National Service and then had a Cochlear Ear Implant twenty years later. I love trying to explain these things to people and bits about my life. I never thought so at the time, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Thus one gets Random ramblings from a man who has seen a lot with a touch of humour underlying all.
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63 Responses to The mysteries of an unfathomable universe.

  1. annenewhook2319 says:

    I hope you won’t mind my commenting on your post. I am married to Robert’s brother. I would really like to e mail you just to bring you up to date on why your poem means so much to some sad people at this time. I discovered your post quite by chance – maybe fate stepped in and I was meant to – I really don’t know but off all the blogs to come across yours is very very poignant at this time. I hope you will contact me. Kind regards Robert’s sister in law Anne

  2. Bar de Ness says:

    Touching and poignant. A testimony from a young life lost. A testament of youth! A wonderful memory and unique. Thanks for sharing these sentiments with us.

    • spookmoor says:

      And thank you for the wonderful comment.

      • Sophie Drysdale says:

        Hi Kevin,
        my name is Sophie Drysdale (nee Nicholls) from Sydney Australia.
        I am contacting you regarding my late maternal Uncle Robert (Bob) Newhook and his poems you posted back in 2012.
        My mother is Frances Nicholls (nee Newhook) and my grandmother, (Bob’s Mother Joan Newhook) just passed last week on Tuesday 11 Dec aged 92.
        My Aunt, Anne Newhook (Robert’s brother Peter’s wife) only discovered your blog a few days ago when she image googled Robert’s name. For some reason an image of a socket set appeared (unrelated I think), she happened to click & your post appeared!!

        Neither my Uncle (Peter Newhook) or Mum had ever heard the poem and as you can imagine, this discovery has been quite an emotional one in addition to the loss of our beloved Gran. My older brother ‘Rob’ was obviously named after his uncle but there is so much we don’t know about him as all three siblings were at boarding school (Mum was at Chisipitie) and the gap between Peter and Robert was 5 years.
        Would love to learn more if you have any more information. My Grandfather was a great supporter of Rhodesia and a member of the Karoi branch of The Rhodesia Front.
        Many thanks,
        Sophie
        sophiedrysdale@bigpond.com
        (sorry if I posted this twice- can’t seem to log-in via FB)

      • spookmoor says:

        Thanks for this and I really mean it.

  3. George Azevedo says:

    Truly a very bright young lad,way ahead of his time.
    You give tribute to his wisdom and surely he,wherever he may be,is humbled…Thank you for sharing this.

  4. maggi says:

    All I will say is that that made me tear up.. Baie dankie

  5. John Morris says:

    Profound!
    Thank you for sharing! How, when we are young and in the Spring of our lives we don’t appreciate how precious life is. Pushing it to the limit . . . . and in a flash, whether young or old, the flame, gone, never to be re-lit.
    Very sad indeed and thank you for remembering your friend in this way and at this time.
    You are indeed a good friend.
    Best wishes to you and your family.

  6. we lost so many fine young lads .. a great tribute and remembrance to one of those fine young lads. Thank you Spook for keeping him alive in our appreciation of his words and now his memory.

  7. sue stolk says:

    Thank you for the share Spook – for me, to say anything more than what has been said here, would be superfluous – herein lies a lifetimes worth of contemplation …. Be Blessed !

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