Category Archives: Chimneys and Clouds, A Collection of Poems by Philip Dodd

Poems by Philip Dodd, author of Angel War.

Forgotten God

Forgotten God

He swallowed a light bulb.
Waited. Nothing happened.
His heart did not glow.
His brain did not shine.
Must have been a fake one, he thought,
like a robot dog not keyed to whine.
He chewed on an atom bomb,
sure it was bad for his teeth.
He did not like its taste.
Wrote down – will only bring grief.
He drank a draught of sulphur,
felt like a volcano cone.
Began to question
why he always ate alone.
He munched upon a washing machine.
It tumbled on his tongue,
which first felt wet then dry.
His head hummed like a launderette
till he was fresh and spry.
He went into the bathroom,
first to check his weight.
Thought, next time he would order
only half a ton of rusty trucks
mashed upon his plate.
Now he was a forgotten god,
he did not know how to behave.
But then, no one cared a fig,
passed him by without a wave.

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The Lost Way

The Lost Way

The way is lost.
If you go your quest will fail.
Heed what they say
in song and tale.

Ride a horse over the moors
in sun and rain.
You will not find the castle on the peak
above the plain.

Hidden harbour
shelters your boat
but there are no signs
on the hills of sheep and goat.

Ride out like Jack Rowland on your horse,
ride and ride till you are weak and pale.
Be content to glimpse what you seek
when your spirit is held by song and tale.

The ocean on the other side of the hill,
you can hear it if you are still.
The enchanter always was remote,
his words a spell no human wrote.

The tower on the tor
holds wood and water power,
but it is forgot
what reed will bind which flower.

Wind blows through fields of heather and whin.
The track is hid to find Tam Lin.

The way is lost.
You cannot go there.
O but it was wild
and it was fair.

Rooting Through Rubbish

Rooting Through Rubbish

Nature’s not natural.
Whatever happens is purely accidental.
That’s one way of looking at things.
Rooting through rubbish,
find no gold coins, no diamond rings.

But what do you expect?
Nothing of value people reject.
Rooting through rubbish
does not make sense.
Some people do it.
Never give up hope.
When you are drowning,
you still reach for rope.
Rooting through rubbish.
Not find a thing.
No gold coin, no diamond ring.

If nature is natural,
it can be cruel, harsh.
Worse with global warming.
What is now a dry, cracked plain
was once a wet marsh.

Rooting through rubbish,
routine for an old man,
his hand grips the crust of a sandwich,
gropes further down,
finds a stamped flat beer can.
Rooting through rubbish.
Who counts the cost?
Only gulls cry over the lost.

Hugh Minn

Hugh Minn

Hugh Minn was human so he lived on Earth,
been living there ever since his birth.
He may have preferred to live somewhere else but he never said.
Who knows what goes on in Hugh Minn’s head?

Pastry pale, like he worked in a bank,
he was in the navy till his boat sank.
One day he heard feet shuffling about on the floor of his loft.
He stepped up a ladder, nervously coughed.

He asked who was there but got no reply,
beamed his torch in the loft to aid his eye,
saw a small bulbous man in a silver helmet and dark blue smock,
thought if he was from space, he’d chosen the wrong place to dock.

The alien seemed to think the same, vanished into another time.
Hugh Minn stepped down the ladder, and that’s almost all there is to say
about him in this present rhyme.

“What have you been doing up the ladder?”
asked his neighbour, Sydney Smout,
who as ever looked perplexed, well wrinkled with doubt.
“Heard a noise in the loft,” answered Hugh Minn.
“You know you cannot lose if you try to win.
Met a multi-dimensional time traveller,
landed in the loft by accident.”
“If you say so, Minn,” said his neighbour,
who seemed to know what he meant.

“If you live in a forest you’re bound to see a lot of trees,”
he added, as he fumbled in his pocket for his keys.
“Another way of seeing it, come to that,
if you live among high hills you’re bound
not to see much lying flat.”

Back in his room, Hugh Minn sipped a mug of tea,
studied his book of astronomy.
Meanwhile, the alien flew home safely in his craft.
Over his Earth encounter, he smiled and laughed.

Rare Bird

Rare Bird

Some of them grew legs, long and thin,
stilts to walk the marshes,
the ornithologist smiled to acknowledge,
hid in his den of leaves, branches,
to watch water birds through binoculars,
nourished by coffee, sandwiches,
content to be far from city crowds, traffic jammed motorways,
felt he had found the best way to spend unmarked days.

Everyone likes birds, he thought,
but he was one of the few who liked to study them.
A flight of geese, honking high in the air,
he loved to watch until once more
the sky was silent.

The ornithologist, home from the marshes,
looked through his bird books
to find the name of a rare one
his eyes had brightened to see,
between blinks, piping in water, through reeds,
and then it was gone.

Stuffed Mushroom

Stuffed Mushroom

Sometimes I feel like a stuffed mushroom,
however a stuffed mushroom is supposed to feel,
and when I feel like a stuffed mushroom,
life seems stodgy, not quite real.

Last night I lay awake, attended to the wind.
It moaned in my back yard,
threatened trees with hard fist blows,
like it did before the first Ice Age,
unaware of its indifference
to what happens on the human stage,
reduced me to a lettuce leaf curled on a plate,
too exposed, vulnerable to stay in that state.

Sometimes I feel like a squashed lemon,
a fruitless mush of split dry seeds and bitter peel,
and when I feel like a squashed lemon,
I cannot rise up to kneel.

I am on a slide down hill
or in a lift going up to the top of a tower.
It depends how I listen to the news.
I submerge or put on my shades, continue my cruise.

Sometimes I feel like a fresh turnip,
uprooted from the field but still close to the earth,
and when I feel like a fresh turnip,
I stand bold and know my worth.

Burt Wendell

Burt Wendell

Burt Wendell was a mariner,
a mariner was he,
and he was never happier
than when he was at sea.

He found the ground too permanent,
too solid and too tame.
He preferred waves in merriment
and states too rough to name.

No tall typhoon could sink his ship,
no whale or hurricane.
He knew how to mend every rip
on the watery main.

He was married to a mermaid,
met on the south sea shore,
he claimed in every inn he stayed,
his hearers asked for more.

Burt Wendell was a mariner,
he sailed the ocean wide,
from the Arctic to Africa,
on cold to tropic tide.