Patrick Lodge

Patrick Lodge lives in Yorkshire and is from an Irish/Welsh heritage.

A retired academic, Patrick now devotes much of his time to writing and to reviewing poetry. His work has been published, anthologised and translated in many countries from the USA to Vietnam. Patrick has been successful in several international poetry competitions and is the is the winner of the 2015 Blackwater International Poetry Competition. He has read by invitation, at poetry festivals across Europe. He is currently working on a sequence commemorating Captain Cook’s first voyage to New Zealand in 1769. A poem from that sequence was put to music and preformed at the 2017 Leeds Lieder Festival.

His two latest collections, An Anniversary of Flight, and Shenanigans were published by Valley Press in 2013 and 2016 respectively.

 

SHENANIGANS

 

(On June 5 2014 BBC Leeds news reported that a fox was stealing dozens of shoes in a Leeds suburb and dumping them outside a woman’s house every night. Shenanigans is thought to derive from the Irish, sionnachuighim, which means I play tricks or, literally, play the fox)

 

 

I play the fox; what else do you expect in this

moony garden?

 

You stand, alone at the window, tall, white

as down,

 

staring as if I was will-o’-the-wisp,

a green-eyed seducer

 

versed with pulpit words. Nightly I come to you

with a sermon of shoes:

 

brogues, balmorals, wingtips, winkle-pickers

trainers and loafers.

 

Trophies lifted from careless men, cradled in this

cunning grin,

 

laid out for review and match. I preach a choice,

silly goose.

 

Let each man claim his own, tie you tight as a lace.

But don’t be deceived

 

by any glib-tongued spiel. Test the snout, the brush,

the shining pelt of it –

 

my fox paws are real, make no mistake. The woods

call us: stay wild and free,

 

put on your dancing shoes, step out, trot a tricksy

measure with me.

 

 

 

HER MOTHER’S FUR COAT

 

(“the end of the affair is always death”, Anne Sexton)

 

It wasn’t that cold

for October

in Massachusetts

enough chill

to make

her mother’s fur coat

a rational choice

 

fifteen years hanging

in the labyrinth

darkness of the closet

it rose

to the occasion

arms hung out

a dusty red embrace

 

you offer yourself to

Asterion

soused with vodka

old perfume reek

roaring

for the garage

where the obedient car

 

at one turn of the key

surged current

ignited    the monster

V8 rumbles   chthonic

falls back

to a muted chant

from the pit

 

the front seat    a woman

regresses

into     a fur coat

ringless    to complete

a deeper circle    head down

the engine    will stop

the worn satin lining    cool.

 

 

 

 

ERGO SUM (Venice, 2013)

 

These JYA1 girls pulse like shining

platelets, through backstreet San Polo;

scouringcalle or canal, clumping

 

in churchesand galleries, eager to

ensure everything sticks. Voices trill

likeburnished castrati, fluting up

 

columns and altars in search

of the awesome;the point, click, flash

epiphany of being there.

 

Maybe more opera buffa than serious

work; though, at sunset,as a vaporetto

sluices past San Marco, elevating  iPads

 

andiPhones, the girls become numinous

as Tintorettocherubs,concelebrants

of the mystery of the eternal digital now.

 

 

 

1 JYA – Junior Year Abroad, an American educational programme.

 

 

UNCLE HO REMEMBERS

 

From the Saigon train,

all is earth or water.

Through window grills,

athin strip of sustenance

shinesbetween sea

and mountain jungle;

rice fields wanton with family tombs,

studded across the draughtboard

of water and berm.

Now the paddy dead

are become ancestors,

germin the cycle

of seed to spike to seed.

 

Across the tracks,

light cuts in low

from the tree line;

a cobra flaring, it recoils

from a red-starred obelisk

mooringa uniform

cemetery, a muffled hysteria

of plinths and plaques.

In this lake of abundance

which once snuffed

out the fire at its heart,

which dammed the flood

of bullets and bombs,

Uncle Ho remembers.

His lost family of liberation;

each a grain of gold,

never to ripen. Harvests pass;

nobody comes

to burn joss and paper,

tocall their name.

 

A child on a dyke imitates

his grandfather,

better to become him

when he teaches

hisown grandchildren

to follow the buffalo. He eats fruit,

recalls the planting of trees.

In his palm, a bowl of rice,

yellow as a pagoda wall.

 

 

 

ORKNEY: FOUR MINI SAGAS

(“firgivevussinnavora” – part of the Lord’s Prayer in Norn)

 

No1 Broughton

It’s a scream; that

here is where it starts.

Bluish shutters, salty,

wind-worried;

slats askew,

so that the rising sun

scratches a shadow ladder

only halfway up a wall;

no climb out of the hole from here.

Raise your eyebrows,

see it clearly –

skull, blood, bones.

We can’t escape.

 

On the Low Road

Driving from Isbister

at noon,

I see oystercatchers

probe for shellfish

but snub

the gull settled on the low road.

It rose from the tarmac,

was held spread-eagled in a crosswind,

like a totem image,

until the car’s impact

defleshed it,

disarticulated

the intricate bone structure,

gravely laid it aside.

 

Hamnavoe

Going home peaceful

from the Ferry Inn;

a cobbled carriage-track

curves away

glistening wet after rain.

It catches the sunset,

becomesa shimmering, swaying

path to somewhere else

that breaks apart as I walk it.

A piper starts up

withCumhanaCloinne,

the drone bringing

me back to earth.

 

Pierowall

Dawn. From the window,

a rainbow selects

Freya’s house

across the bay.

Fortunate people, sleeping

under a feather cover,

dream of transfiguration,

half their souls already lost.

A seal snouts seaweed rafts,

settling as the water recedes.

The fire hots up here;

closer, Freya cries bloodshot tears,

but stays cool.

 

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