Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sir Winston

Woodstock, New York artist Ed Berkise gave me a great gift, his ink drawing of Sir Winston Churchill. I have it hanging in my office. I wrote a poetic tribute to the drawing. In my research I found out some interesting character traits and facts about Sir Winston.

Sir Winston
© 2009 Rolland G. Smith

It is with thought I sit and write
To pair with words a work of art
And see its grace with light’s insight
By auguring a noble chart.

The captured look ‘neath Homburg hat
And Cuban leaf pursed ‘tween the lips
Belies his wit on this and that
Plus deeds of war and battleships.

Our history tells us what he’s done
And holds his place of honor due.
He is Great Britain’s favored son.
A fabled knight whose heart was true.

We know his life from history,
But what’s his thought here drawn with skill?
The answer stays a mystery
Within the art of ink and quill.

Sir Winston’s life began we know
In Blenheim Castle’s noble rife
Twas Woodstock there in grand chateaux,
And Woodstock here in artist’s life.

Winston’s teachers said he would never amount to anything. After his first term at boarding school, a teacher wrote a blunt letter home. The boy, the note said, never focused on his work and was never on time.

The tardy boy became a tardy man. Always late, but too important to be left behind. If his speech ran long, dinner parties waited, trains were held, and generals cooled their heels, even royalty waited.

Early in his extraordinary career he was reported to be the highest paid journalist in the world. He was originally trained as an Army officer at Sandhurst, the British equivalent of West Point.

His first " public" adventure began in India. British General Sir Bindon Blood had been dispatched with three brigades to put down a revolt. The only way Winston could get to go was as a war correspondent. The London Daily Telegram paid five pounds per column and another paper bought three hundred words each day.

His colorful dispatches put him in the public eye and his courage served him well. The fight at one point became so heavy that the special correspondent found himself commanding a rear guard action. There was talk of a medal, but better yet, there was his best selling book about the war campaign. It quickly paid more that he earned from four years as an officer.

There were other campaigns, more war stories, his style and descriptive powers were developing. Eventually the money he made paid for his first political campaign.

From there, the career of Winston Churchill is well known.

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