Wizard War

Wizard War

On the rocks the waves were splashing,
in the sky the gulls were shrieking,
in a pool a crab was clawing
at a shell that hid a snail.
I was younger, I was stronger,
I could hear the sea shore speaking,
and I thought of Ilmarinen,
the smith who forged the Sampo,
the magic mill that spun gold and silver
in Kalevala, the old Finnish tale.
Longfellow wrote Hiawatha
to its rhythm and its metre.
On the page the verses moved me,
they spoke of pines, nuts and cones,
pleasant to my ear like the flow of water,
the flow of water over stones.
I have never been to Finland,
rowed a boat upon its water,
heard the song of Vainamoinen,
as he courted Louhi’s daughter.
There is still the sudden rainbow,
the silence after thunder,
the kite I flew on the grass,
the first inklings of wonder.
Who has stolen the red sun?
Who has hidden the white moon?
Now the wizard war is over,
who will find words to fit the tune?

A Bewilderment of Doves

A Bewilderment of Dove

by Philip Dodd, written for The Best Six Poets project
inspired by a painting by Alex Alemany

On my closed eye lid screen I see
a bewilderment of doves.
Once caught in cloud cages, wind wires,
from barn lofts, orchard walls,
they flutter free.
To doors on the horizon,
they carry a key.
I can only be a witness,
watch them go,
further and further
away from me.
Human as I am I will never know
the lift through the air
on such white feathered wings.

A Tale From A Bestiary Found In A Bazaar

A Tale From A Bestiary Found In A Bazaar

In dreams I was a traveller
in a stone city in the east.
I went up wooden stairs to my room in an inn,
sat in a chair by a window.
The night was quiet, with no moon or star.
Its pages lit by a lamp,
I read a tale from a Bestiary
found in a bazaar.
“It’s jewels not books, people want,”
said the stall trader.
Was not interested to haggle much over the price.
Bought it with four bronze and one silver coin.
My hands rested on it in a basket,
crammed with bracelets, sculptures and pots.
Absorbed by its pictures and prose, I was happy there.
When I woke, my head was warm on my pillow.
I’d rather be here than anywhere.

Willy Wart Wandered W Way

Willy Wart Wandered W Way

Willy Wart wandered W way. Was wagon waif. Worked writer writ word. Wisely wore weevil waistcoat. Watched worldly worm wrestle wren. Weathered world wrecked wreckage wreck. Was white winter whistler wretch. Weird wood walked. Walnut wizard wand waved. Wiry warlock warbled. Waked wren. Watched wren wing wold. Way winded. Walked in Wayfarer’s Inn. Waylaid Winifred Woodchuck, waitress worked. Wanted wine without wasp, warm whortleberry pie without whinnyshins. Winifred winked, wanton wholesome wench.
Wade Wykehan wanted Wilhelmstrasse wine, dish of whipped wish. While Wallace Witenagemot whaled way in Wayfarer’s Inn, lit pipe weed, woke smoke. Was Woden worship willow wizard. Willy Wart talked Wade and Wallace with wise wit.
Wensleydale Wertherisms Wallace wedged. Walter warmed with Wittenstein wonder wit. While Weland Wealdsmith waded in with wise word hoard wealth.
Willy Wart went waltz with Winifred Woodchuck. Watched Walter Wise Waffle waltz Winnhilda Warpspeed, wardrobe wide wealthy widow. Walter Wise Waffle worked Whitehall. Was weighty Westerner, weekend wine wimp. Wound watch. Waltzed Winnhilda Warpspeed. Wanted wholesome whoopee. Walter winked. Winnhilda whined. Was wanton windy Wednesday. Went wallpaper watching. Walter whistled, whispered to Winnhilda. Wrung woven web weirdly wrought.
Wilbert Woodwose, wrinkled wheelwright, waltzed Winnie Windup, Waitrose worker. Went willow woods whortleberrying. Waked in wondrous water wells. Was Wordsworthian wanderer. Walked wild wilderness without woe.
Witness Wendy Windflower, weekend wrong wisp wimple, was wishy washy. Wisteria Wiseacre, warehouse warden, withheld wages. Wendy warmed to Willy Wart. Willy Wart wanted Winifred Woodchuck.
Wendy whined when Willy Wart wedded Winifred Woodchuck.
“What womb waste woe,” Wendy wailed.
Wolfram Wolverine, wood wizard, woke wormwood worm, wyvern wise. Went withershins without withy.
Wallace Windlestraw wedded Wendy Windsor. Went willowy Wimbledon, will-o-the-wisp Winchester way. Wallace, wigwam widower, wedded Wendy, wicker wife.
Wilhelm Wardour, wardrobe wright, Waterloo warrior, werewolf whiff, wench wheedled Wendy Windflower. Went wanderlust warren. Waltzed Wendy with Walloon Wallaroo warthog.
“Why wrought wrong wry wrinkle wrist?” wondered Wendy.
Wen Wheatear wronged Willy Wart with wharf owner whangee. Wore whacked Welsh wellingtons. Was webbed Wednesday wedding weep weather. Wen wore weasel weeds with Wealden wealth.
“What wax wavy wattle waul wave,” whispered Willy Wart.
Whopping webbed walrus waited, wedged on wave washed wharf, was witty woof. Willy Wart watched Weezella Wind Witch, whimsy woman, wash white wool, weld wealthy weapon. Woke winds. Welkin whelp. Wombat wanted wean wane.
Willy Wart wondered why wrath wraith wrangle wrap.
“Why wrought wrong wry windy winsome wherry?” wailed Weezella Wind Witch, whimsy woman.
“Wrought wrong way wedge wood ward weave?” warranted Willy Wart.
Westerly went Willy Wart with wife Winifred Woodchuck. Waged war with wind pipe in Wattage Cottage. Whacked world Y way.

Wee Wend Willy Wart wrought.

March Hare

March Hare

Wish I were a March hare,
out there on the moor,
sniffing spring in the air,
after the winter thaw.

My brain would be alert,
my ears would quiver.
From danger I would spurt,
run down to the river.

I’d listen to the birds,
piping in the grass,
while white clouds roam in herds,
not caring they will pass.

I’d leap through fields of sheep,
free of fox and hawk,
see old mole wake from sleep,
where humans never walk.

My ears and hind legs long,
my nose keen to scent,
the wild where I belong,
there I would make my dent.

Though I’m not a March hare,
out there on the moor,
I still breathe the spring air,
after the winter thaw.

Barricane Beach

Barricane Beach

The North Devon coast, I remember now,
stretched wide beneath high summer sky.
In my late youth, childhood still in reach,
often I went down those steep stone steps
to study what the tides had left behind,
on the hard sand of Barricane Beach.
I bent my back, lifted with care,
a pebble from a rock pool floor,
my hope to find a crab.
Never had I seen such shells before.
I loved their colours and shapes.
I know now, I did not know then,
they were wave carried from the Caribbean.
It was as if the ocean had chosen the beach called Barricane
to store a hoard of exotic shells,
washed them in from a far south island.
The beach was sheltered, secluded, certainly,
embraced by stone arms, cliffs wind and water carved.
Better than postcards, I thought,
I sent shells nestled in cotton wool,
packed tight in envelopes with letters,
written rough on paper sheets,
to friends back home in Liverpool.
In my mind I can go and go again,
down to that beach called Barricane.
One late summer night, stood there alone,
I found a luminous pod.
Among the pebbles, washed by the last line of waves,
it shone like the shard of a star.
Back in my bedroom, placed on my window sill,
it glowed white, looked magical.
Next day I felt guilt, to have separated it from its liquid home.
I made my way to Barricane Beach,
threw it back in the ocean.
Was a strange relief to see and feel the splash,
sense the loss, the blank cold of vanishment.
What it was I never knew, not a naturalist to know.
The sea gulls grown large enough to gorge on ocean fish,
sublime to me when they circled and cried,
high and low over lines of waves,
truly like the calls of lost sailor souls.
Comical were those I watched swoop inland,
some to perch on the roof of the Red Barn café.
They stared down on humans, sat below, at tables in the open air.
One to be the thief of a discarded egg and cress sandwich,
another a scavenger of a bag of fish and chips.
Who knows what the investigator of the garbage bins will become,
eater of the last cob crust to the final crumb?
Their brains too small to have a fault,
perfect are they, from beak to webbed feet.
In my mind, it is never out of reach.
I go back to see what time can teach,
faraway, down there, on Barricane Beach.

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