Ascent of the Prophet to Heaven


                                                     Ascent of the Prophet to Heaven

Jade mountain, white crested in winter,
stars, black and red, stabbed the sky,
punctured the void, like diamonds
on a playing card.
Not for his body or his pride,
he wound up the mountainside,
to prove, maybe, he had a spirit,
heard the tick of clockless time.
His feet bled, grew hard.
Looked up, saw the summit waited,
bare, broken, made vague by mist.
Dice game of gamblers, behind him,
left in a wayside inn,
further down, the mutter of shepherd men.
Persian painting path he pursued
from when he was eleven,
glinted gold, silver, red,
on a page of verse,
ascent of the prophet to heaven.
Light, he rode from the summit,
as if on a horse,
then, winged, he flew, like a bird.
Cheerful ones met him,
asked if it was worth the effort.
He smiled, nodded,
said he wanted to turn,
tell those left behind:
it’s all true.
They shook their heads, told him,
there’s nothing you can do.
When we came up here, they said,
we felt the same as you.
He understood, knew,
for a moment, everything,
then, higher up, he followed them.



Song For Gabriel


                            Song for Gabriel

( Poem by Philip Dodd, included in the chapter called, The City of the Scorpion, in my book, Angel War. The above print, The Fall of Babylon by Gustave Dore, can be seen on the back cover of my book. )

This is my song for Gabriel,
the Angel of the Word,
I’ve sung to you so many times,
this time I may be heard.
I sing to you from fellowship,
past times I sang alone,
but now I can extend my love
to wood and air and stone.
Your golden wings have cradled me,
your voice has made me kneel.
Your actions turn the universe,
your wisdom spins the wheel.

This is my song for Abraham,
the shepherd of mankind,
you led your tribe out from Canaan,
and none were left behind.
O, come, fulfil your prophecies,
and say the war is won.
Must I wait in vales of visions,
and leave my song undone?

Windmill and Rainbow


                           Windmill and Rainbow

 ( Poem by Philip Dodd, inspired by the above painting by Turner. )

Windmill and rainbow,
noon light and shadow,
canal and meadow,
busy stone worker,
mirror on water,
brush stroked by Turner.
Another world lensed,
I cannot enter,
only gaze on from outside,
still stood in my corner,
wishing I could walk in,
step over the border,
explore what lies beyond frames,
where there are colours and shapes
too new to have names.
Somewhere, find an inn,
for bed, beer and bed,
quietly, upstairs, sleep in a loft.
Morning, at the window,
smile on more than windmill and rainbow.
Journey on, further and deeper,
onlooker no longer.




( Poem by Philip Dodd, inspired by the tale of Math Son of Mathonwy in The Mabinogion. )

Welsh wizards, Math and Gwydyon,
conspired together, met in a wood,
to form a woman out of flowers,
petals of oak, broom, meadowsweet,
so she woke, more fair than spring
song of birds when leaves
drip and shine with showers.

Later, Gwydyon regretted the deed,
for as the wife of Lleu,
she did deeds not fair, but foul,
renamed her Blodeuwedd,
and changed her into an owl.

Now she hoots all through
the black dark night,
among the trees and ruined towers,
and longs to be a woman fair again,
made of woodland flowers.

Maze For The Minotaur


                                             Maze for the Minotaur

      (Poem by Philip Dodd, inspired by the Minotaur sculpture by Michael Ayrton.)

Here we are, this is it,
his last work, his final finished sculpture,
made of stone and glass,
intriguing, enigmatic,
not one to easily pass,
compels the mind to study,
step up a ladder,
to reach the higher mass,
the homes of golden tomes,
small enough to stand
on this sturdy legged table,
as you can see,
deserves a room to itself
in the exhibition,
I think you will agree.
An oversized paperweight,
he called it once,
more serious than in levity.
Maze for the Minotaur, its title.
Why did he carve this bull headed monster?
What did he search for?
Proof of the soul as something separate,
intellectual clarity?
He knew Greek, all the myths,
so its subject is no surprise,
the Minotaur, the creature unique,
the prisoner of Crete,
trapped in a maze,
the labyrinth Daedalus made,
held by his own reflection
in a mirror wall,
his bull brow frowns,
his beast mind asks:
who am I, me or him I see?
The longer he looks,
the harder the puzzle.
As ever, he was trying
to say something with his sculpture,
grasp something, heal his mind,
step into his own maze, blind.
For Samuel Beckett’s dramatized despair,
he had no time.
No, no, he protested,
it is not that,
there is something there.
Understood that Heart of Darkness quote:
the horror, the horror.
Yes, when the veil is torn,
what is real can seem that way,
to study history, a slow, silent, self torture,
he said, to concentrate on war and empire,
unredeemed by culture,
was to hunt with the wolf,
nest with the vulture.
With existential works,
he refused to agree.
Surely that is not philosophy,
but a passing mood,
an arrogant adolescent attitude,
that some of us go through,
he once said, that he for one had long out grew.
What did the Minotaur see in the mirror?
Why did he strive to be victor
over the ones who said all was futility?
It was his last work, as I have said,
we have gone through all his papers,
his sketches left behind,
since he was found, full stretched,
collapsed, in his garden, dead,
and found no new lines he planned
to build upon.
His heart failed him before he reached
his small quarry of broken stone.
What he would have made next
will remain unknown.
Let us leave it here,
his bull headed guardian,
to study his reflection
in one mirror of his maze,
his stony labyrinth underground,
closed off, sealed, silent,
no interruption of sound.
He said he knew what Theseus saw,
after he had slain the Minotaur,
more than ocean with no shore,
more than sky stunned by thunder,
with a grey glint in his granite eye,
as he left the maze behind,
no longer in peril, no longer blind,
he glimpsed, for a moment,
there was something more,
and found release in a cry,
the wonder, yes, the wonder, the wonder.




Listen. Thunder clouds,
herds of black bison
stampede silent space.
Wait. Relief of rain.
Hut folk from windows watch
lashed land, hardened face.
Trauma. When storm broke,
something slept in a sudden woke.
Loom weaver hand mosaic moved,
bright beads changed place.
Wake. Birds spread wings in water.
Air clear. Survivors show gratitude
for given grace.
Blown horn. Names of mighty men remain.
Sword of Sigurd the dragon Fafnir slain.Image 

Searching For The Sangreal


                                                 Searching For The Sangreal


Farewell, my lord, King Arthur,
this may be my last farewell,
I go on the quest you gave us,
I go searching for the Sangreal.

This task is great you gave us,
one so worthy of our name,
I’ve a token of my true love,
for I may never see her again.

Searching for the Sangreal,
our Lord’s Holy Grail.
Searching for the Sangreal
in my shining mail.

Sir Galahad you dubbed me,
all at your fair table round.
A dragon’s head I gave thee
that I slew on dark, burning ground.

Searching for the Sangreal,
our Lord’s Holy Grail.
Searching for the Sangreal
in my shining mail.

I stand before a tower,
it shines ruby, sapphire light,
and I walk across the drawbridge,
and kneel before tall angels bright.

Farewell, my lord, farewell, my lord,
this is my last farewell.
I achieved the quest you gave us,
I have seen the Sangreal.

( Searching For The Sangreal was published in the Summer 2013 issue of The Dawntreader, a quarterly poetry magazine, published by Indigo Dreams Publishing:   Facebook page:


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