The Finger Prints of Achilles

The Finger Prints of Achilles

The finger prints of Achilles
left on his chariot, shield, sword and spear,
long buried in the dust
with the walls and towers of Troy,
but his deeds live on in his tale
I seem to have known since I was a boy.

Grey hairs of the beard of Odysseus,
curled and brittle, gone with his ship,
its mast and sail.
His name sung yet by bards of strange seas.
New craft they build with hammer and nail.

They voyage out to a far land
that remains in a myth.
Still try to reach its shore.
Work to be worthy
to taste the wine of Olympus.
But, they ask, what if the grapes are dry,
can be brewed no more?

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First Rebellion

First Rebellion

Why don’t you leave us?
Why don’t you go?
You did not believe us.
Your one word was no.
You cannot deceive us.
Your true face we know.
You can hide hatred,
still it will show.
It has come to grieve us,
the cargo you tow.
Repent in your exile.
Be brother not foe.

With a grunt like a goat,
he turned and fled from the court.
The words of his banishment
made him craft more cruel the weapons he wrought.

He led the first rebellion,
broke every law of the Lord.
Scripture says Michael
ousted him with his sword.

Last Flocks of the Geese

Last Flocks of the Geese

We are late, late in our going,
the last flocks of the geese
seem to say in the sky,
but maybe we will be
early in our returning,
they call as they fly away,
leaving us with the crow and the sparrow,
the robin to sit on
the cold, bare branches of winter,
and we forget about the geese,
until we hear them returning in spring,
would that I were a bird,
first learning to sing.

( from my new book of poems,
Last Flocks of the Geese
Philip Dodd
published 19th, February, 2019
Kindle version available on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com
paperback version will be available on Amazon before the
end of March, 2019. It is already available on Lulu.com )53026310_2268623883386677_3758800462283800576_n

Amy Johnson

Amy Johnson

Study Amy Johnson in her photograph,
taken in the 1930’s, sometime, somewhere,
so it’s in black and white,
her smile is not a smudge,
rather it is still clear,
as if she were still here.
She looks comfortable, at home,
proud to be in her pilot’s jacket,
as if her first flight was near.
The time of her fame,
her name in the newspapers,
first woman to fly from England to Australia,
to Moscow from London in a day,
flies further and further away,
year by year.

Had she been born a man, she once said,
maybe she would have explored the Poles
or climbed Everest,
to move minds, give hearts a stir,
but as she was born a woman,
her spirit found an outlet in the air.

Watch her wave from her Gipsy Moth aeroplane.
See the pioneer aviator fly further and further away.
As it is with each of us, time would not let her stay.

On her last flight, she fell from the sky.
Was lost in the Thames, the river of London.
Time left her there. Water swallowed her cry.

Amy Johnson flies further and further away
on her solo flight into the past and there she will stay.

 

The Purgation of Percival the Parsimonious Peewit

The Purgation of Percival the Parsimonious Peewit

The curtain draws to reveal the stage
for almost a play, not quite a poem
when studied on the page.
Only after can we say
where the lines lay.
Here begins the purgation
of Percival the Parsimonious Peewit.
At least, that’s what they called him at school.
So what, he would say, he had been a bit stingy with money,
but being generous, sharing things,
had never been an unwritten rule.
As for the peewit, he always thought it absurd.
In no way did he resemble a bird.
Anyway, his first name was Percival.
Full name, Percival Parquin-Perry.
He woke on a circular bench round a circular room,
shaken from a dream he remembered, vaguely,
of crossing a dark river on a slow ferry.
Welcome to Purgatory. Do not panic. Wait.
A summoner will call you soon,
said a sign on a far wall.
If it was a wall, for though it glistened, looked solid,
it seemed to be built of blocks of light rather than stone.
“Purgatory, so this is where I am,” Percival thought.
Not long lifted his eyelids, he felt bright in brain and bone.
A shaky shadow grew to be a tall, thin man,
clad in a black crow gown.
He paused in the middle of the glistening floor,
his index finger pointing at a place on a page
of a book with a white cover, open on his left palm.
“I am the summoner,” he said, his tone clear, calm.
“Time for the purgation of Percival the Parsimonious Peewit.”
“So this is what you do in Purgatory,” Percival said.
“Sit. Wait. Wait till your eyelids droop, your head gets heavy.
Wait to be informed, interviewed.”
“Only at first and not for long,” said the summoner.
“They have to decide where you belong.”
“Well, not down there, I hope. I wasn’t that bad,” said Percival,
defensively.
“No. No. No. Not down there,” said the summoner, comfortingly.
“But there are levels and circles from lower to higher up.”
“Oh, I see. It’s a class thing,” said Percival, sharply.
“I would have gone straight up there if I had been
a holy peasant, an enlightened yokel, a pious monk.
I have to pay for the life of privilege I lived on Earth.”
“What was given is measured with what was taken,”
said the summoner. “The judges will decide.
Now rise up. Follow me.”
Percival’s purgation was to him like standing
under a waterfall without getting wet,
a spirit, skin and bone cleansing,
a refreshing he would never forget.
After it was over, he was led to a gate,
but what he saw when he ascended a stair
no earthly tongue could relate.