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.

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Muse On The Mountain

Muse On The Mountain

Muse on the mountain,
wake from the dragon dream,
stung as you were by the venom
of the serpent of Eden.
Cleanse your ear and tongue.
Stoop to scoop in your hands
water from fall and stream.
Drink deep till you remember what thirst is,
how good when it is quenched.
Inspire the poet’s pen again.
Run through the riddles
to leave only answers  behind.
Heal the hurt in the heart,
burn the sludge from the mind.
Open the forgotten world of epic song.
Free the thinker from bitter reflection,
the tyranny of obsession with selfhood.
Stand on the uppermost shelf,
above the paths of goat and hawk,
the cloud circles,
near the horns of snow, too high to melt,
and let the seekers meet again and talk.
Let old wisdom become common.
Those who kneel to the machine,
let them stand straight once more,
and, as you did once before,
give them the keys to open the door,
reveal where the ships will moor on the shore.

Last Flocks of the Geese, my book of poems, published

Last Flocks of the Geese
Philip Dodd
published in February, 2019

The Kindle version of my new book of poems, Last Flocks of the Geese, is now available on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com
The paperback version will be available on Amazon within the next four weeks. It is available now on Lulu.com
Here is the link: http://www.lulu.com/shop/philip-dodd/last-flocks-of-the-geese/paperback/product-23992425.html

Here is what I wrote on the back cover of my book:

A book of clear verse. Geese migrate through its lines. Tall ships leave Liverpool Bay. An iceberg breaks free of Antarctica. Ivory burns in Kenya. The healing of the rift between nations is contemplated. An exhibition of Pre-Raphaelite art is visited. The crossing of the Rubicon is dared. Franz Kafka writes his tales. The spirit of T.S. Eliot revisits The Waste Land. Shakespeare drinks with his acting company. Autumn in Yerevan, Armenia, is mirrored. Utopia is mused on. Childhood is remembered. Love celebrated. Archie Leach sails from Bristol to New York. Matthew Flinders becomes the first man to circumnavigate Australia. Noah’s ark moors on mount Ararat. The death of the last white rhinoceros is lamented. Weland the smith lifts his hammer. Hugh Minn finds an alien in his loft. Various other visions and inspirations are explored. Readers of these lines will hopefully find them worthy of study.

Old Gold Mine

Old Gold Mine

Look down to see the old gold mine,
abandoned like a vineyard that ran out of wine,
trust to note more than weeds and dust,
rusted trucks on a broken line.
See in the stifling dark
where they dug with axe, drill and spade.
Think of the man in the white wooden office
who withheld the true wages they made.
You can almost see them,
sat on the slopes in the shade,
helmets on the ground,
drinking coffee from tin mugs.
Pictures remain but no sound.
Gold in the mountains,
silver in streams,
jewels in the markets,
things more rare were delved for in dreams.

Don’t Go Down The Pit

Don’t Go Down The Pit

Don’t go down the pit.
No, I don’t mean the mine,
but the dark shaft
that can open at the root
of the hollow heart
that is stiff with frozen air,
spiked with the cold air of a broken spine.
Don’t get high on hate.
Burn the sludge that can clog the soul,
stain its skin, stop its breath,
makes the world seem but a smudge,
black and white photograph grey.
Un-shutter your lantern,
let its light make shadow vanish,
misery figures flee away.
Don’t go down the pit,
instead keep your spirit light, bright your wit.

History Class

History Class

Whatever was has gone, what is to come will pass,
the main lesson I learned in history class.
The Charge of the Light Brigade,
I am glad I never witnessed that,
but I would have been amused by past experts
who claimed that the world was flat.
I am glad I avoided the Roman invasion of Britain,
and the battle of Waterloo.
I don’t mind not being a Round Head of Oliver Cromwell
or one of Lord Nelson’s crew.
I am not sad to have missed Queen Victoria’s coronation
or not to have met the inventor of glue.
What is will pass,
like all I learned in history class.

The Man Who Had Not Heard Of Brexit

The Man Who Had Not Heard Of Brexit

See that man in the high backed chair.
He will be there when we’ve all come and gone.
No one dare ask him a question,
though he’s the only one who knows what’s going on.
He’s not baffled by the universe.
Calmly he sits with his tea and scone,
him as a riddle he thinks upon.

I met a man who’d never heard of Brexit.
I said, have you been living on the moon?
He said, no, I just couldn’t take it.
I’ve been listening to a different tune.
I said, what does it sound like?
Is it one you can sing or hum?
He said, no, the only way you can hear it
is to listen to another drum.
I said, if you want to know about Brexit,
just watch the news and it will be on.
He shook his head and climbed on board his rocket,
and in the blink of an eye he was gone.

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