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Poetry

Sodom & Gomorrah

 

The jukebox sways the smoke-filled gloom

Outside, the traffic’s siren song,

Combustion fumes and filmy streaks

Of sin discard blue mellow sounds.

 

Concrete Babels scrape the turgid sky

And mad dogs roam the plaguing streets,

Pipes disgorge their hothouse fumy breath,

A navvy churns the city’s paving soil.

 

Chopped all the trees, paved paradise,

Of course, put up a parking lot,

Prefab boxes tumbledown dust,

This midden moulders mutant to the grave.

 

Tramps discern deformed scrap-sculptures,

Boulders mounting high blocks the lee

Where fish are bade to drink stewy froth,

No murmuring starlings set the evening scene.

 

Fat planners ooze a private feast,

Connive to conquer last year’s course,

Scowl and pinch, politically decide  

To waste the trust saved by public pence.

 

This craven town votes in vain

By sleight of hand of the masters

With the grand illusion of choice

And the sweet succour of promises.

 

Full well bends this town to the beat

Of the masters’ rod – drives like sheep

The poor by cruel chance bastard born

Never rise to the peak of stardom’s hill.

 

But annals crumble ’i the dust,

Rubble stacks so well this cannot be

From some celestial force this way was planned,

’Tis our deluded liberty.

 

Rocks and dust may in time beget

Shoots of flowers or some fresh tree,

This Earth won’t miss us when we’re gone,

A forgetful hiccup of history.

                                              [1981]

 

 

 

Manna

 

Little wonder the Israelites took forty years to book a taxi to the promised land:

Now here’s the amazing, wild and wonderful thing

about mushrooms: a cascading, heavenly rainbow shower

of pulsating red angel-cells.  

Eat all you can!  

Yum yum!  

Scrummy scrum

And then some.  

Scoffing like an elf or a hobgoblin.  

Till you’re sick to the stomach.

Here blows more and more light-showers

of iridescent red.

Heaven is red!

 

Count your many blessings.

 

Now we’re green.

 

Down to earth.  

                        [2007]

 

 

 

Ode to Dodo [Holland]

 

Oh Dodo, Dodo
Weirder than Odo, Odo
Chins wobble-o wobble-o
Worthless promises blow-blow.

You’ve met some people,
You’ve read some books,
Are you a tower of intellect
Not a second-rate crook?

Oh Dodo, Dodo
You’ve lost your halo halo
Where wisdom lies fallow
In a brain of blackcurrant jello.  

                                                [2013]

 

[In 2012 the Mormon (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) apostle Jeffrey R Holland was interviewed by John Sweeney for the BBC programme ‘This World: The Mormon Candidate’.  Holland said, ‘We’re not a cult.  I’m not an idiot, you know.  I’ve read a couple of books and I’ve been to a pretty good school, and I have chosen to be in this church because of the faith that I feel and the inspiration that comes.  I’ve met people, and if people want to call us a cult, they can call us a cult and you can call us a cult, but we are 14-million and growing, and I’d like to think that your respect for me would be enough to know that this man doesn’t seem like a dodo.

 

The world was shocked both by his claim to have read a couple of books and by the unrepentant unprovoked vicious attack on the Dodo.  Within twenty-four hours the apostle had acquired the sobriquet ‘Dodo Holland’.] 

 

 

 

The Happy Hangman

 

‘Death’s dredger delayed,’ cries the Skull and the Cloak,

I wait down at heart, the quay at low tide,

 

My friends are the rats, the rope and the rocks,

The Ferryman screams by the gate of the docks.

 

The depths of my soul enracked with my guilt,

To pay for my sins my blood will be spilt,

 

Too fallen to feel my life has been robbed

My offences to Heaven rise with the smog.

 

Betwixt Heav’n and Hell my name fit for curse

No appeal judge me granted, my case unrehearsed.                  

 

Help never coming, no saviour, no cheer,

Life my tormentor, my enemy clear.  

                                                         [2007] 

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