On the PBS TV Series ‘Bob Ross, the Joy of Painting’

I float, as happy as the clouds,
Upon a sea of liquid white.
Whilst cherishing this time allowed,
This interval of pure delight.

He speaks to me, as if I’m there.
I answer back, I don’t know why,
As goggle-eyed I sit and stare,
He lifts the brush to make the sky.

Then joyous, snow-decked mountains break,
Beneath the artist’s flowing hand,
The lonely cabin by the lake,
The forests unbeknown to man.

His time on Earth was cruelly short,
Such humour, grace and skill we miss.
As our endeavours come to naught,
We’ll never be as good as this.



Ragnar Bloodaxe

He came from the Norseland, that terrible day,
To rape and to pillage and have his own way.
The whole of Northumberland locked itself down,
The day Ragnar Bloodaxe sailed into our town.

The locals of Alnwick all ran for their lives,
Crying,“Lock up your daughters and lock up your wives,
This fellow’s been bad since the day he was born,
With his big pointy axe and his helmet with horns.”

The scholars of Lindisfarne trembled with fear.
“We’ll all end up headless if Ragnar comes here.
We don’t want a slot on the nine o’ clock news,
So pull up the drawbridge, and hide all the booze.”

They say that his wife was a Viking, of course,
With long flowing locks, and a face like a horse.
She’d bar all the windows and lock all the gates,
When Ragnar came home from the pub with his mates.

So watch out for Vikings, they’re never a breeze,
They’re mean and they’re vicious and maiming to please.
It’s best if you hide in a mighty big hole,
Or you might just end up with your head on a pole.



In Celebration of World Beard Day

This pandemic hasn’t gone, it just rumbles on and on,
And no-one has a chance to misbehave.
As all the men round here fill their cellars full of beer
And persistently refuse to have a shave.

But I’ve heard someone say, that today’s a special day,
Their gloom and their depression’s disappeared.
They’re all sitting in their chairs, punching fists up in the air,
As they join this celebration of The Beard.



Jeff Eardley is a retired Telecom engineer and now freelance guitarist, singer/songwriter, and local poet living on the edge of the beautiful Peak District National Park in the uplands of northern England. Along with wife Lesley, he roams around Europe in their motorhome.

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10 Responses

  1. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Jeff, every one of these poems is a joy to read. The world of Bob Ross, Ragnar Bloodaxe and Bearded Lockdown Man have lifted my spirits with their exuberance! Thank you for my Friday smile!

    • Jeff Eardley

      Susan, thank you. You have also made me smile recently (I love Charred onnay by the way) yes I think we are all in need of a spirit lift, (gin would do) and for another bearded Ragnar to sail into town and put paid to this toad of a virus squatting our lives. Not much to smile about over here at the moment but, we live in hope.

  2. Margaret Coats

    Jeff, did you say to yourself, “I’m going to stir up some anapests and some anachronisms,” and then turn out “Ragnar”? I was worried about Lindisfarne scholars pulling up the drawbridge to a ruined castle on their island regularly isolated by the sea, until I saw they did it to avoid news cameras. Lots of fun! So is “World Beard Day,” an event my husband did not know about, though he has been assiduously growing a beard since before I met him (says I’ve never seen his face). We are saving your poem for the first Saturday in September next year; sorry to have missed it this year. And such a tribute to the joy Bob Ross could create!

    • Jeff Eardley

      Margaret, as ever, your kind comments had me reaching for my Oxford Dictionary. I had to brush up on “anachronism” but “anapest” was a new one for me. Indeed, is “anapest” itself an anapest? Hope you can grab the shears and sneak upon your husband to surprise him on Beard Day, and Bob Ross..now that’s what I call a beard.

      • C.B. Anderson

        No, “anapest” is a dactyl or whatever the name of the metrical foot is that goes /x/.

  3. Margaret Coats

    anapest = unstressed – unstressed – STRESSED
    dactyl = STRESSED – unstressed – unstressed
    amphibrach = unstressed – STRESSED – unstressed
    amphimacer = STRESSED – unstressed – STRESSED

    “Anapest” and “amphibrach” are both dactyls!

    It is probably best to describe “Ragnar” as an amphibrachic poem (with a headless iamb at the end of the line). I was thinking of it as an anapestic poem beginning each line with an iamb, which constitutes mixed meter, something we ought not to do.

    • C.B. Anderson

      My dictionary puts a weak stress on the last syllable of “anapest,” so in a metrical line it could be taken either as a dactyl OR an amphimacer.

  4. Jeff Eardley

    Margaret, I now have three more words. Oh if only you had been my English teacher when I was plodding through, and failing my English Literature exam all those years ago. It is always a joy to read your comments. Thank you.

  5. David Watt

    Jeff, what an entertaining and interesting trio of beard related poems! The marauding viking ‘Ragnar Bloodaxe’ (undoubtedly bearded) is my favourite by a whisker. The rollicking meter is a great match for the lively verse.

    I remember seeing a video of Bob Ross demonstrating the art of quick landscape painting. He made painting look terribly easy, and obviously enjoyed imparting his knowledge.

    • Jeff Eardley

      David, thanks for your kind comments. Yes, Bob Ross is a genius. He had been on our screens every evening since March causing me to take up the brush to master this incredibly rewarding technique. My living room is now filled with huge snowy mountains, shimmering lakes and glowing sunsets. No need for holidays now!


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