Dr 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 several countries from the USA to Vietnam. Patrick has been successful in several international poetry competitions and is the winner of the 2015 Blackwater International Poetry Competition and was commended in the 2018 Gregory O’Donoghue International Competition. He has read by invitation, at poetry festivals in the UK, Ireland and Italy. 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 performed at the 2017 Leeds Lieder Festival.
His two latest collections, An Anniversary of Flight, and Shenaniganswere published by Valley Press in 2013 and 2016 respectively. His third collection – entitled Remarkable Occurrences – is scheduled to be published in 2019 also by Valley Press.”
She dusts off the wooden box
her mother gave her
in another life. A star
emerges in cellar gloom;
interlaced strips of trees
seen now only in dreams:
peach, apricot, walnut, rose.
Inlaid is nacre, lustrous
as brushed hair.
Look at this, daughter,
and be calmed,she said,
on that special day.
She opens the box,
takes out a lipstick,
a shard of glass
from her grandmother’s
mirror that had hung
for ever in the hall.
Carefully she paints
her mouth; rose-lipped wife,
her husband smiled once.
If he does not return
and the soldiers come
she will use the glass, bloom again.
Light Up, Caravaggio
(Cesari Chapel1, Santa Maria del Popolo, Roma)
Light up Caravaggio,
the sign on the brass box tempts.
Wanderers ghostly in their gloom
wait for the first to crack.
A tourist drops a euro in the slot;
the world becomes fluorescent
as if lightning had struck –
for a few minutes we are actors
aghast in saintly altar visions.
Paul, like us, falls flat on his way
to righteousness. The world’s a horse’s arse,
blocking the divine light that poked
out his eyes. He’s shafted; no reason in it.
Perhaps Peter thought it through, though
his world’s spun topsy-turvy – a euro’s
worth of radiance proves a shocker.
He blinks, as if just noticing his nailed palm,
the sweaty efforts to exalt soles heavenward.
And the painter – exposed to acres of holy
canvas, but still at heart, leaden,
a saturnalian. Lit up in brothels,
dressed to kill, swinging sex like a sword,
he clubbed light into corners
the better to shadow his own virile misery.
Burning the candle at both ends,
until bad blood and the bright sun
spiked him in some Tuscan shithole.
At least he sucked it up while he could;
deny it as many times as you like,
but, at a stretch, we’re all bound
to walk that walk, like it or not.
Clockwork ticks on; brilliance dims.
Clink! The coin falls, the chapel recedes.
Unaltered souls, we’re out of this prison
of devout darkness sharpish.
Time to hit the bars; time to lighten up.
1 The side altar of the chapel has a triptych with Carracci ‘s The Assumption of Maryin the centre flanked by Caravaggio’s The Conversion of St Paul on the Way to Damascusand The Crucifixion of St Peter.
Yiannis in His Bar
Yiannis in his bar is restless; counting
covers, cradling a cappuccino, he watches
the impossibly taut, tanned staff make money
for him, in accents from the steppes.
He stares at the waitress’s legs, remembers
wild nights, drinking with cockney spivs,
dancing film star syrtaki with peroxide women;
flips his worry beads like an impatient groom.
Yiannis lights up, his one for the night; rests,
where old men smooth the pebble seat.
shiny as an ossuary. Eclectic house leaks from his bar,
sound-tracking the mute satellite football;
Yiannis conjures the punch of rock ‘n’ roll, the smell
of patchouli and lust in the backstreets.
Bells toll from the Panagia; the choir chants,
incense coils from a censer.
Yiannis recalls village girls in their innocence,
forsees his spotless wine-washed bones.
He spits and flicks his butt into the churchyard;
no pain, nor sorrow, nor suffering.