Category Archives: Poetry

A collection of poems by Philip Dodd, Author of Angel War.

Sides

Sides

One side lost, the other side never won.
Consider the riddle, decide which side you are on.
Criss-crossed in the middle are the lines that divide.
Observe them grow faint as the vision fails.
No one more alone than an emperor on his throne,
cannot pick a bone with anyone.

Geese screech across the late November sky,
leave the far mere in irregular lines.
Winter comes.
The trees will soon be bare.
Will you stay on the same side
or choose another cause to bear?

One side won, the other side never lost.
Answer the riddle to know which border you crossed.
A triangle has three sides, a square has four.
A circle has no sides but has been broken before.

Now the Arthur king in the tales
sat his knights at a table round,
all to be equal with no chair at the head,
but Mordred rebelled and broke the ideal
on the battle ground.
Both sides lost.
No one heard the final bugle sound.

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Insect Possibilities

Insect Possibilities

If I were a moth, I’d flit between lit light bulbs,
bat my wings on lamp shades,
act on instinct till my instinct fades.
If I were an ant, I wouldn’t be anti-social.
Other insects wouldn’t bug me.
As long as they did not disrupt the building of my ant hill,
I would let them be.
If I were a grasshopper, I’d be an insect athlete.
In any twig and herb hurdle race,
I’d be happy to compete.
If I were a bee, I’d be happy in my hive,
even though I wouldn’t have the brain to know
that I was alive.
If I were a spider, I’d have the look to frighten humans
when they saw me crawling in their rooms.
I’d have the skill to weave a web to catch a fly.
I wouldn’t live long but I wouldn’t have the brain to know
I was born to die.
If I lived in America, as an insect, I’d be called a bug.
They would try to swat me if I legged over a mat
or nestled in a rug.
If I were a wasp, I’d buzz around in kitchens,
the bane of human ears,
and snout about in dust bins,
as if I lived for years.
If I were a caterpillar, I’d become a butterfly,
a cabbage white or red admiral.
It would seem my summer never would go by.
If I were a termite, I’d have no wings for flight,
but I wouldn’t mind, as long as I had rotten wood to bite,

Green Bird

Green Bird

First it was a green bird,
perched on my garden fence,
then it was a leaf.
The illusion I loved,
however it was brief.

Should have had my glasses on,
then it would have been plain.
It was a leaf and not a green bird,
a trick of my eye never to happen again.

What you see before you,
is there something more?
Can an illusion be the key
to a hidden door?
For me the key was a green bird
that really was a leaf,
made me aware of a beauty,
fair beyond belief.

If it were a green bird,
it would sing the note to fit the word.
I’d be in a different world,
if it were a green bird.

First it was a green bird,
then it was a leaf.
It was better as a green bird,
that is my belief.

Spiral Stair

Spiral Stair

I’d like to get down there
where the lines are thin and bare.
First I must find that spiral stair
with iron steps and no rail to hold,
to prove not every song has been sung,
not every tale is told.

A grey hair glitters on my page.
It fell from my head.
I must have soaked something in
after all the books I’ve read.
The bards skilled in fine lyric line
tasted mount Olympus wine.

And if I finally got down there
where the lines are thin and bare,
I’d leave behind the spiral stair
with iron steps and no rail to hold,
and trace my verses in silver,
etch them out in gold.

Eleventh of November, 1918

Eleventh of November, 1918

( my poem was published in my local newspaper, the Liverpool Echo, on Thursday, 8th, November, 2018 )

Must be Sunday afternoon.
The kitchen is warm with the oven roasting potatoes brown.
But that’s home in England.
Here I am in this trench, far from any French town.
These fields and woods we’ve blighted with battle.
Rifles ready, someone shouts, keep helmets down.
But no, I am gone, gone with my name and battalion,
felled by bullet and bayonet, blasted away with our captain’s brave stallion.
It draws back, further and further away,
the eleventh of November, 1918, one century ago, Armistice Day,
the end of the First World War.
The fields we gave back to skylark and poppy.
Horrendous it was to the core.

 

Archie Leach

Archie Leach

Archie Leach was born in Bristol
in nineteen hundred and four.
Straight away he may sound like one
who was born to be obscure.

Do not take this as a sermon,
I’m not qualified to preach.
My lines beam like a lighthouse lamp
on the life of Archie Leach.

He became an entertainer
while he was still young of age.
Friendly faces in the theatre
drew his first steps on the stage.

Now with actors and acrobats,
sailed the ocean to New York.
Behind lay his broken childhood
that sorrowed his thought and talk.

He knew if he was to make it good,
he’d have to go to Hollywood.
Once he was there, an agent of a studio
told him first things he ought to know,
said that no one would want to see a film
starring Archie Leach.
It sounded like the name of a man met in a bar
who says he sleeps on the beach.
That advice proved beyond price.
His life took an upward slant
when he changed his name to Cary Grant.
Now the mirror has been wiped clean.
You may have seen him on the screen.
Where do I begin?
Maybe you saw him in Gunga Din,
North By Northwest, Notorious or Charade?
Just a few of the films he made.
The list is long.
Now you know why Archie Leach deserves a song.

Archie Leach was born in Bristol,
Cary Grant in Hollywood.
He used the gift he was given
in the best way that he could.

Far From Now

Far From Now

Begins. Massive screen, puzzling images, no sound.
All in the air, no meaning found.
From somewhere, far below,
tones too fine to be played on strings with a bow,
deeper than a cello can go,
till there is no time, silence resumes.
Tall houses of merchants near a dock side.
Who looks from the windows?
Who opens the rooms?
It is not still but never more than slow.
Allowed calm to study what I see.
Attend to cries, remoter than whale song.
Here to witness, not to belong.
Too much to describe,
even if I had the skill.
Most of it strange, alien,
not built by my mind or moved by my will.
When I see something familiar,
it looks clearer, richer than it was.
There I am, a schoolboy, one summer,
smiling in the pleasure parks, too awake to dream,
in the Land of the Little People,
in Southport, the seashore town,
held in my hand fair ground candy floss,
toffee apple, Pendleton’s ice cream.
Windy walk, long pier, tide far out,
strain to see a strip of the sea,
Blackpool tower further north,
draws me back, simplifies me.
We will go there one day, parents promise.
Maybe we did.
Who knows what wardrobes and curtains keep hid?
Family outing photographs.
Why do some pictures stay when most of them go?
Loaded ocean liner leaves the harbour.
Moves so grand and slow.
Erratic seagulls. Faces startled by cameras,
most are unaware.
Is that you? Where you there?
It is the past, far from now.
Lone as a lighthouse I stand.
Must be moments of intense living, awareness, we recall.
The rest is blank, gone.
Cobweb on the stair I brush away with my hand.