The Rime of the Ancient Astronaut


                     The Rime of the Ancient Astronaut

It was an ancient astronaut,
he stepped lightly from a tree,
to ask an earthly scientist,
who had lately had his tea,
to help fix his astral engine,
for he had forgot its key.
“Why ask me? Are you some kind of loon?”
said the earthly scientist.
“No, but unless I find my key,
I will never play my tune,”
replied the ancient astronaut,
his face white, cratered, like the moon.
“Tell me, ancient astronaut,
what’s it like, out there, in space?”
asked the earthly scientist,
lines of interest on his face.
“Space is very vast and empty,
and no solid shapes are seen,
but there is lots of air out there,
and all of it is clean,”
answered the ancient astronaut,
who beamed, like a sun lit bean.
“Why do you travel on so far,
in so much void and distant stone,
seemingly so solitary,
and so obviously alone?”
asked the earthly scientist,
his skin thin upon the bone.
“I map the cosmic pyramid
from its root to its cone,”
answered the ancient astronaut,
in a stern but solar tone.
“Why have you come and landed here?
It now dawns how strange we meet.
You are an ancient astronaut,
not a stranger on the street.
If I informed the newspapers,
they’d pay money to my bank.
I’d be rich enough to retire,
and I’d have you to thank,”
said the earthly scientist,
who was otherwise quite blank.
“I came to mend my astral wheel,
but I’ve lost my first light key,”
said the ancient astronaut,
as politely as could be.
Then in the pattern of his palm,
saw the imprint of his key.
Laughter relief after alarm,
flittered in him, like a bee.
“So sorry for disturbing you,
seems I had it all the time.
I must fly off and go away,
in lemon hues and lime,”
said the ancient astronaut,
and stepped back behind the tree,
leaving the earthly scientist,
to wonder what next would be.


After Reading Metamorphosis


                      After Reading Metamorphosis

After reading Metamorphosis,
he woke a giant spider,
crawled out of bed,
how many legs he had,
eight or twelve,
was beyond him as decider.
Lay sprawled on grubby carpet.
For this, he thought,
I’ve Franz Kafka to thank,
now I’ll never be a
bowler hatted businessman,
civil servant at the bank.
Found he had retained
his human appetite,
sniffed the carpet fibres,
for food trodden by his slippers,
he ached to smell a frying pan
sizzling tomatoes, eggs and kippers,
even licked the legs of chairs,
soon gave up, never ate in his room,
only in the communal kitchen,
down a narrow flight of steep
descending stairs.
Started butting the door
with the furry, black soot bag
that functioned as his head,
wished he was not a live arachnid,
still glad he was not dead.
Landlady creaked up the stairs,
each step made a dent,
thumped the door with her fist:
“Are you in there? It’s Mrs Hock.
I’m here for the rent,”
she bellowed, like a gorgon in the mist,
and that is all she said.
His stomach made a growly noise,
wanted to make a human excuse,
that his spare money had been spent.
Then came the nightmare true.
Landlady turned the key.
He legged it up the wall,
and to the ceiling clung.
She bulldozed in the room,
looked up at him, as if she had been stung.
Wanted her to go away,
now she saw him as he was,
he was certain she would come at him
with a hammer and a can of fly spray.
And to think he had planned
to read The Castle and The Trial,
no more books by Franz Kafka,
even if he did write well, made him think,
and oddly made him smile.
Was then he woke,
human, pale, cold and dry.
Won’t read a book like that again,
he vowed, no more transformation dramas,
glad to see his window framed
the grey early morning sky.
Creaky boned, he fumbled out of bed,
drew his yellow mothy curtains,
and looked through his smudged glass window,
felt thin and hollow in his rumpled
dark moss green pyjamas.
What an existential nightmare, he thought,
as he planned his summer visit to Peru,
to see the Andes, Inca ruins,
and to ride about on llamas.

Angel War by Philip Dodd: Wishing Shelf Finalist


In 1967, when I was a fifteen year old schoolboy, here in Liverpool, England, I read Chapter Six of the Book of Revelation for the first time, which spoke of the war in heaven, fought between Michael and his angels and the dragon and his angels. The idea of there being a war in heaven astounded me. That was when the seed of my story was planted in my mind. It was not until 1986, when I was thirty four, that I began to write what became Angel War. In September, 2012, when I was sixty, I completed the final version of my story. Angel War was published as a paperback by Fast Print Publishing in April, 2013 and as an E-book in March, 2014. It was chosen as one of the twelve finalists for the Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards for 2013 in the adult ( fiction) category, I am very pleased to say. The Gold, Silver and Bronze medallists were announced at Author.con in Manchester, England in May, 2014. Angel War was awarded with a Wishing Shelf Finalist logo and a sticker for its cover and a Wishing Shelf Finalist Certificate. Before the end of July, 2014, I will be getting feedback on my book from the group of judges in London and the other one in Stockholm and reviews of it by them on Goodreads and on Amazon.
  Angel War could be described as a work of fantasy fiction, rooted in The Bible. It is fundamentally the biography of Azel, the Prince of the White Castle of the Angels of Light, who plans from an early age what he calls his great rebellion against the Father. It is he who begins the war in heaven. After his defeat in that war, in his exile from the angel lands, sat upon his Citadel throne, he becomes the one known on Earth as Lucifer, the Devil, Satan. From the time of the garden of Eden to the time of the tensions caused by the Cold War in the 1980’s on Earth, the later chapters of the book reveal how Azel used Earth as his battlefield in his war against the Father and his holy ones. More about Angel War and reviews of my book can be found on Amazon and on my Author Profile Page on Goodreads at: http// and in the Fast Print Publishing on line bookshop at





I sang on Cedar Mountain,
I rejoiced beneath the sky,
ran in glee on the grassy peak,
like an eagle, soon to fly.

I called the name of Enki
from old Sumerian stone,
saw the bright necklace of Ishtar,
who shine in the sky alone.

Enki built a submarine,
made from bended substance strange,
black bars and ordinary wood,
submerged from sight, out of range.

Wise god Enki in his boat,
built without windows or doors,
sailed far, deep beneath the ocean,
till he came to other shores.

There his own people landed,
children to whom he was king,
of the first civilizations,
to new lands he them did bring.

He taught them to build spacecraft,
pyramids of golden stone,
then, his helmet on, he lifted,
mounted to the stars, alone.

From his ziggurat platform,
inside his black starship bright,
tall in his eagle winged helmet,
free in his soul, born for flight.

The ziggurat of Enki
in the city centre square,
his people built in his honour,
like in Eridu and Ur.

Sumerian stone tablet
told tales of Enki the wise,
spoken by a poet prophet,
master of what floats and flies.

I rose up from Cedar Mountain
inside my own spaceship wheel,
went wandering, like Gilgamesh,
with the sky beneath my heel.

The ocean king, Oannes,
from his pearly palace floor,
once brought wisdom unto Sumer,
legged up and spoke on the shore.

He gave them his instructions,
he taught them all he knew,
from his holy laws and pattern,
a civilization grew.

Chadwick the Courageous Carp


                             Chadwick the Courageous Carp

Now hear me as I hymn and harp
of Chadwick the courageous carp.
By my newspaper, I was told,
he is two foot long, ten years old.
A chagoi koi carp, his full name,
so from Japan his kind first came.
In an aquatic centre lived he,
in Hampshire, happy as a bee.
Then came the floods, after the rain,
caused by global warming, some explain,
and he was swept from his still lake
with whatever else the floods would take.
His friend, Steve the sturgeon by his side,
he was taken on a tumbling ride,
over roads, industrial estates,
he was hurried with twigs and crates,
till driven in the River Test,
longing for the lake he loved best.
Now seven miles away it lay,
a dog walker saw him at play.
So from the river, he was saved,
his gills and fins he gladly waved.
His keeper came and took him home,
now no more will he need to roam.

Light Ships


                 Light Ships

On the far sea horizon,
a mirage of light ships,
a trick of my eye,
for only I can see them.
No human mariners can be on board
such luminous craft,
such unearthly vessels.
High on a mast, beams a lamp,
winks, sends a crystal signal.
Five colours I count,
sapphire, red, green, violet, blue.
Advanced aeroplanes,
silent, otherworldly helicopters,
for a few moments,
in a wider expanse,
circle above them,
vanish with seagull cries.
Suddenly, sand
feels hard beneath my feet,
my body numb, empty,
my eyes clean, certain.
Vision of light ships
swept away by natural cloud,
distraction of waves,
seaweed tangle on the shore.




( Written in memory of my grandfather, William Dodd, who fought in and survived the Battle of the Somme in the First World War, published in the Liverpool Echo on Thursday, 27th, February, 2014. )

1914, an English country lane,
a tender shining after early morning rain,
a cartload of village men,
soon to be marching to the thudding of a drum,
digging ditches in the waste land of the Somme,
and they were young.

2014, a bright bronze bugle call,
echoes of clarions disturb the churchyard wall,
in honour of village men,
whose names and dates are carved on the monument stone,
for black thunder cannons made them die alone,
when they were young.

Long ago, it was, but I remember still,
my grandfather, sat back in his chair,
Sunday morning sunlight on the window sill,
the silver chain of his pocket watch,
bright against his dark waistcoat,
his white hair well washed and combed,
quiet, remote, a serene smile still creased his mouth.
I was just a schoolboy, I did not understand
what it meant that he helped to save our land.
I only thought it good
that he looked like a grandfather should.

“He’s been working in the gardens,”
my grandmother would say,
meaning the local park,
where I flew my kite, pretended to ride a horse,
and did all I could to play.

“He was at the Somme,
the great battle in the First World War,”
my father told me.
Only now I understand.
In his uniform, with his rifle,
he fought to defend our shore.
Now I know he listened
for cheerful laughter at the door,
voices of friends lost forever in the war,
when they were young.

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