Eastern Heaven

Eastern Heaven

Come and count your woes.
Do they equal the number of your fingers and toes?
Are they less or more?
Or are you blessed to have none at all?
You remember it yet, the green garden was wet,
you felt the sudden splat on your scalp of a cold rain drop
that slid off the leaf of ivy and rose.

Now count your blessings.
May they amount to many.
Maybe only the grumpy
say that they have not got any.
A coin dropped in a wishing well
could be your last penny.
It may comfort you,
even though you know with the world as it is
your wish will not come true.

The eagle sits on the peak of the pinnacle,
surveys the lands below,
can see a hare prick its ears on the moor,
salmon leap the steps of a waterfall,
maybe even hears the fern and the yellow gorse grow.
Meanwhile, the snake and the lizard
crawl up the sides of the pit
from its unseen black basin.
If you think this a riddle,
work it out, if you have the wit.

The air of Armenia smells of water and stone.
If you are there you will remember
your first taste of a fresh pomegranate
plucked from a local garden tree,
its juice so good it cannot be described.
I think they must chew and drink them
in eastern heaven.
Walk the aisles of an English supermarket,
and you will not find them,
only those imported from places like Syria.
So you don’t have to ask why they taste rather dry.
Close your eyes, count the holy number seven.
Taste a freshly plucked pomegranate,
you are in eastern heaven.

Anonymous Duck

Anonymous Duck

If you’re a duck you’re out of luck,
you’re never going to be famous,
unless you’re Donald Duck,
but he’s not real,
he’s just the creation of an artist
who worked for the Walt Disney company
in the early twentieth century,
but why would you want to be,
when you have a pond or even a lake,
a canal or a river to swim around in?
To understand the purity of your pleasure
we humans cannot begin.
We can only watch you waddle through the reeds,
rest your webbed feet in the shade
with everything to have and nothing to lack.
I have no time for envy
but I would not mind being an anonymous duck,
to startle the air with the occasional quack.

Today is very May.
England wakes as a green island,
celebrates itself and its very own merry month of May.
Trees lift their leaves on their branches to the sun,
waken from winter to strengthen in its light and warmth.
And I’d like to be, no, not a platypus,
but an anonymous duck,
better than being a pilot or the driver of a truck.
A duck is never short of friends.
They waddle about in company,
not like the lone heron or the stork,
and they have a gift for cartoon comedy
when humans make them talk.

O, God, it was cold in the winter,
but now it is warm in May,
a bird’s chirp seems to say.

Blue Sails

Blue Sails

poem by Philip Dodd for the Six Best Poets Project
painting by Kathryn Carlyle

Narrow my eyes,
look out over the harbour,
strain till I know
my concentration is certain,
my vision clear,
free of mist and miasma,
distinguish boats in a line,
moored to the foot of a far wall.
At rest from a voyage,
blue sails sag in a low wind.
With them I would go,
feel and hear the flap
of blue sails on the blue sea of summer,
follow paths whale and dolphin may furrow.

My poem, Light Ships, published in Along the Shore

My poem, Light Ships, has been included in Along the Shore, an anthology of Poems of the Sea, published by Lost Tower Publications, I am pleased to say. An anthology of poems on one theme is a good idea, I think. The book of poems inspired by the sea is illustrated with seven prints of original oil paintings by the Bulgarian artist Boyan Dimitrov.
My poem, The Redundancy of Gods, was published in Greek Fire, an anthology of poems inspired by Greek mythology, and my poem, Dandelion Time, was published in The Poetry of Flowers, an anthology of poems inspired by flowers, both of which were published by Light Tower Publications.




Feeding Ducks In The Park

Feeding Ducks In The Park

I bought two buns from the bakery.
The shop keeper would have thought they were for me.
I had to smile on his wrong assumption
as through park gates I passed
into the green of grass and tree.
On my way down paths, between mown lawns,
I went to see the aviary.
Rare birds from foreign parts,
I studied through wire netting.
Peacocks stamping over gravel
remain in my memory.
In time I turned away,
continued my journey.
The smell of mud and water grew stronger,
the air damper, the closer I came to the boating lake shore,
till they were there, finally,
what I had come for,
some of them resting,
others web footing over wet roots and stones,
the ducks I had come to feed, a pleasure not a chore.
It was freedom, release from routine,
to throw bits of bread to them, chunks of my buns.
I smiled to watch them
squabble and quack over every crumb.
And when my white paper bag was empty,
I sat on a bench, under a tree.
Felt light, at peace, for it was done.
The ducks had come, eaten my buns to the last crumb.
I stood to go, stroll away.
They quacked and waddled after me.
Maybe I will sit there one summer
when my hair is grey and my legs are numb,
and smile on the memory of when I was younger
and I spent an afternoon feeding ducks in the park.
If I had nothing much else to do,
and blew loud on a kazoo,
I could almost sound like you,
ducks stalking rudely after me.
Where did you learn to be heartless?
Who taught you to be cold?
Cry to drain the darkness from your eyes,
try and haul back what you have sold.
I say to those who think and speak
from a negative root.
I prefer rough winds in an anorak
to stale air in a suit.
Cheerful times, things done for a lark,
like feeding ducks in the park.


Collage Of A Life

Collage Of A Life
poem by Philip Dodd for the Best Six Poets Project
painting by Kathryn Carlyle

A collage of a life painted on canvas.
Images separated by pale tone spaces.
Is that just a random tree?
Could it mean nothing to you but something to me?
And what are those buildings?
Why are they there?
Did you walk by them one summer,
the south wind in your hair?
It is strange, seems to do us good,
the way we create things with words,
pictures and sounds,
steered by the spirit we tune into
that moves through the air.




poem by Philip Dodd for the Best Six Poets Project
painting by Fati Tomaera-Gabellini

Why wear a band to hold back your hair?
Why is it green, not red, black or blue?
Why do you stand at the half open door?
Does the room you look in belong to you?
Is that pain peeled back in your eyes?
At whom do you stare?
The one you intrude upon,
are you afraid in his glance
you will see nothing there?
Time to douse the candle flame,
the ink pot has run dry.
The scribe almost ends the tale,
at least he had a try.
Who was it who sat in the chair,
painted the painting on the screen?
The mind demands answers,
wonders what it all could mean.
It is the colour of leaf and grass,
seems to be a good sign,
the band you wear to hold back your hair,
to keep your steps in line.

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