The Pythia’s Prophesy

Let the light of Apollo be with you
Above all ‘Know thyself to be content’
Remain the protector of what is true
Of Phoebus’ quarry do not lament.
Beyond five hundred years of injustice
When a million suns have set over Greece
The name de Vere will be rememberèd
As cathedral quires sing votive songs of peace
When in the eyes of men you are exalted
And muses on high rain tears to earth beneath
From the rose of poets – come the best of blooms
As if sprung from English limestone springs
For you will repose in a Westminster tomb
Blessèd beside – immortal poets and kings.

01 – Philip Cooper Fecit: © 11th August 2014

Parallel Universe

There were days of remorse where my sole thoughts
We’re get me off this carousel for good.
Suffering – from over sensitivity,
Brooding – about crimes against humanity,
All meaning life was hell on Earth.
Which is why I have moved from the real world
To a parallel universe,
But where my person still casts a shadow
And tears fall fast from emotional pain,
While in the view through my new world window
Everything appears – exactly the same.

02 – Philip Cooper fecit: © 11th November 2011.

Barefoot Geese

As sure as geese go barefoot everywhere
And eggs is eggs – and honey runny,
Great herds of cows will gormlessly stare
But can’t see a mad March hare is funny.
While April showers find pigs in wellies
Ham-fisted farmers with sties in their eyes,
While hamsters with feet-up watch the tellie
The harmless Mrs. Giles – zaps a fly.
To the world she announces, ‘it’s all to late’
While the menagerie all agree
Humans should have capitulated
When very first they were given feed.
Her potted shrimps were beside themselves
Tickled pink as they limped into tea
For they had heard from pixies and elves
That flamingo’s flew low across the sea:

03 – Philip Cooper fecit: © 11th September 2018


Yes, I was tickled, when I took a look
At the brown trout that swim in Fullers-Brook,
Only surpassed by the warbling refrain
Of songbirds that sing by Nightingale Lane.
With eyebrow-windows Mouse-Cottage stands near
Having fine downland views when the weather’s clear.
The sky in Mouse Lane is secluded by trees
Which cast shadows of mice when there’s a breeze,
Who scurry along to a bygone poor-house
Then vanish – which is the wont of a mouse.
In Dog Lane, dog’s slurp from a granite rill
To where rain cascades where the south-downs spill,
There’s an old brewery too – most stoutly built
A Malthouse next door a short hop I’ve no doubt.
We don’t have a crèche for babies in town
But for fathers there are – four pubs to be found.
I live in Church Street near a cottage forlorn
Where cats slide on thatch from chimney to lawn.
Now, to you good people, I have to confide
For many years my own life’s been on the slide
I am a poor poet – though I don’t pray for doom – But praying the poor-house will re-open soon:

04 – Philip Cooper Fecit: © 29th June 2018.

Small Whole-Meal Loaf

“A small whole-meal please.”
“That’s £1.33” said she
“How much for cash.” said I
“£1.33” said she
“Anyway, as it happens, I haven’t got any cash.”
So I pulled out my card.
“O.K. if I flash?” said I
“O.K. if I gnash?” said she
“I might find that pleasant.” said I
“I might call you peasant.” said she
“Peasant I’ve been called before – followed by that other word.”
“I’m not surprised.” said she
“I see you sell scones.” said I
“Some have sultanas inside.” said she
“Well beyond the sultanate I have found nirvana.” said I
“Oh, save me from that cacophony.” said she
“Cakeophany!” “Surely that’s your vocation.” said I
“No, that’s listening to diatribe.” said she
“You misunderstand,” said I. “My karma is actually nourished by hot rhubarb scones and clotted
“You talk some B.S,” she said thoughtfully “With no little drama, but at last you have found my
weakness it would seem.”

“Then” said I, “this afternoon at Steyning Tearooms we could meet – and I will buy you tea, and
when I pay – I’ll be discreet.”

05 – Philip Cooper fecit: © 17th August 2018.

An Ode to Life’s True Certainty

Though I like it warm
I have this great dread,
Of inferno before
I’m completely dead.
So without being profane
Only profound,
When laughter’s usurped
By a winding sound.
When my clogs have popped
And the clowns removed,
Put me in a box
And low’r me in the ground.
So actions annul
This anticipation,
Of not being quite dead
At my cremation!

06 – Philip Cooper fecit: © 28 th December 2018.

Pickle-Herring Quay
[A Song]

My lass she sang a song
And then she clung to me
Beneath the waves they lapped
On Pickle-Herring Quay.

She would not let me go
She squeezed my breath from me
My love was in full flow
Eyes misty as the sea.

She sobbed her breath was warm
I faltered fleetingly
To weather her sweet storm
On Pickle-Herring Quay.

My bird upon the rocks
She sang so sweet to me
That I pledged to marry
When I returned from sea.

Our hearts bore a river
0f flowing unity
What gift could I give her
On Pickle-Herring Quay.

Her breath upon my neck
Her body pressed to me
She watched from in a nook
My ship put out to sea.

My image now she paints
Within the pottery
For earthenware they make
On Pickle-Herring Quay.

On chargers I am shown
In feats of bravery
For I protect the crown
When I put out to sea.

Men challenged by the horn
Lost all their dignity
I thought but of my love
On Pickle-Herring Quay.

A raging battled stormed
From portside to our lee
We were wrecked on the rocks
All hands were lost at sea.

How for my love I felt
Her art blue as the sea
Immortalized in Delft
On Pickle-Herring Quay.

Our vessel lies, fathoms
Five, washed with blues and green
My bones white as china
Pickled beneath the sea:

07 – Philip Cooper Fecit: © 16th August 2007.

Donatello’s Conquest

Innocent and demure
In all things she was pure,
Until her visit to the Bargello
And her tryst with Donatello.
Though virtuous and learned
For art alone she yearned,
But as life blinds with attrition
In the mortar grinds the pestle,
Of these wild awakening times
With her conscience
She would wrestle.
Of beauty she was warned,
Though soon her eyes were peeled,
As all conquering David –
She turned toward,
Therein her fate was sealed.
For by him she was utterly crushed,
Slain –
But not by his sword.
Drawing closer she slowed,
Nourished by his art
She flushed a mellow smile
Which never quite revealed
The awe that burnished in her heart:

08 – Philip Cooper Fecit: © 13th December 2007.

White Blossom

Wind-song through the reeds
My hand – her heaving bosom,
A fragrant symphony
The dawn of damson blossom.

An act of sowing
Loosely scattered in her hair,
Violets overflowing
Petal centers just as fair.

Eddies swirl freely
Wild the river of yearning,
The splendor cascading
A ripe summer unfurling.

Downy white blossom
In the breeze flow the petals,
A gentle commotion
Which recedes as it settles.

Gathered and cradled
Within the hem of her dress,
To nature abandoned
The primal beat of her breast.

But, as woman’s – how quick
A man’s heart quickens;
The slender whiteness of her thighs
Like damson blossom.
Oh! The breeze, her grace,
The flood, the fawning,
The gold, the violet,
The lace upon her knickers
The damson buds – crowning morning:

09 – Philip Cooper Fecit: © 5th August 2018.

Crimes of the Imagination

With illicit acts against humanity
I seek not to become notorious,
Far more cultured is my proclivity
Towards pleasures far more glorious.
Now listen; you lovers & you villains
To that never previously foretold,
For every kiss and Every crime is
Written into the History of the world.
But of a stolen kiss what irony
My lips softly touching the sublime,
In her face I saw no felony
Though eternity records a crime.
Now of kisses & criminality – Yes I admit it’s true
But of love and sensuality – these I blame on you:

10 – Philip Cooper fecit: © 4th September 2018.


One day from this fleeting life, I must flee
Whilst amongst all this striving, I must strive
To leave behind some little part of me.
Some infinite glory, some crucial rhyme
Some reminiscence of my little life,
Then I shall stride forward in triumph
Always a day ahead but never behind
And with each rising sun a fresh defiance.
When seasons past become seasons ahead
When spring and summer, autumn and winter,
When flesh and bones and everything I dread
When to dust – I graduate from cinder.
When bells prevail in every place and time
When ringing’s proclaim my little-songs of rhyme:

11 – Philip Cooper fecit: © August 28th 2018.

(The garden sign)

Glyndebourne is a very English affair
Where opera lovers cajole to impress
Each other while taking the South-downs air
Exceedingly chic – the state of their dress
They promenade under pollarded trees
Where misogyny feels under duress
To a hallowed spot and then to their knees
Two lovers slowly begin to undress
It’s almost o.k. – to do as you please
In your fingers eat lobster thermidor
Adjust suspenders in the Sussex breeze
But – Please don’t picnic on the croquet lawn.

Prima-donna’s pinch a puff of powder
While tenor’s gargle with gin ‘cause their soar
Upon the opera our revellers ponder
Sloane’s chatter without a thought for the poor
Gardens soon fill at the intermission
Eyelashes flicker and weaken cold hearts
All aware of the rise of the passion
Some party as if their vicars and tarts
Yes it’s almost o.k. – do as you please
Become Muslim, Sikh or Christian reborn
Stand on a soapbox and spread your disease
But – Please don’t picnic on the croquet lawn.

You may natter about the Mad-hatter
Think Crystal Palace without any glass
Should you be at the Henley Regatta?
Or is it a much too difficult task
There’s a sublimity in theatre
A serenity which music extends
Above all metaphysical matters
But where in entropy all things descend
It’s almost o.k. – ascend with the breeze
Meditate way back before you were born
Float peacefully above the lakes and trees
But – Please don’t picnic on the croquet lawn.

For a laugh you could straddle the ha ha!
Though organic sheep still panic and bleat
Doze in a boat to a tinkling guitar
While slimy sticklebacks tickle your feet
Drain fuddlecups ‘till your soaked & muddled
Consider yourself to the manor born
Be you upper or lower or middle
Here the class act is the opera performed
So it’s almost o.k. – do as you please
Drop your britches if you’re feeling forlorn
Get close and personnel with birds and bees
But – Please don’t picnic on the croquet lawn:

12 – Philip Cooper fecit: © 18 th January 2014

The Gentle Curve of Love

I let you pass though my hands – without really understanding how much I loved you,
You came to me in whispers, ethnic, pure.
Gently gravitating like a Sycamore’s wing,
Letting me fondle the patina of your skin.
Just how old were you – I was never really sure?
But now you are returning on a flighted path
And I alone with thoughts,
Will trample down green grass
And I alone with thoughts,
Hear whistling as you pass.

While Cupid flew above – my broken angel’s wing showed me the gentle curve of love,
When whirling shadows spoke in Eucalyptus glades.
My sultry sun-drenched love turned on and on again,
And of your heritage our peoples should feel shamed
While drenched in beverages and sporting accolades.
But now you are returning on a flighted path
And I alone with thoughts,
Still stumble through the grass
And I alone with thoughts,
Salute your arid heart.

13 – Philip Cooper fecit: © 11 th June 2014.

Petworth Pools

Beyond the lake, beneath the trees
To where capriccio – so – rules,
A day destined by vagaries
And whimsical crystal clear pools.

A Maple of cathedral height
Towered above the dark green Yews,
Where dappled bark – entrapped sunlight
All appearing motley to the view.

Three Graces arrived Grecian clad
Garlands of Myrtle in their hair,
Sweet-talk, sweetmeats, sweet moments shared,
As lips to cheeks we did not spare.

Leon of course knew all the stars
Cindy and Claudia and Elle,
They just flew in – no need of cars
To fly – they simply cast a spell.

A massive cistern pre-prepared
Was filled with subterranean ice,
Flowing ewers of wine we shared
Believing abstinence a vice.

We all bathed in the higher pool
Ducks and ducklings in the lower,
The day was hot – the water cool
Though our pulses beat no slower.

Liquid porcelain were there skins
With tiny rosebuds on their breasts,
But they were not content to swim
Our resolve – they desired to test.

At the point of penetration
Vertical was the Maple bough,
Starry leaves felt saturation
In the pool centre where they ploughed.

A page arrived all black and gay
Yew-berries he bore with great glee,
He waded with his silver tray
Into our little dappled sea.

The graces all showed great delight
On the bank they placed a ewer,
Between them berries soon took flight
To decide the champion thrower.

But when the game was all played out
They encircled the maple branch,
Their graces now we could not doubt
As around it we watched them dance.

They giggled, danced – they went so fast
Until a vortex there they formed,
And when at last – the mist had passed
A scene without their graces dawned:

14 – Philip Cooper fecit: © 07 September 2006

The Churchyard Yew

Many visitors come to me
The robin and the rook,
When it snowed the shepherd sheltered
Beneath me with his flock.
The birds are often bickering
Though like the turtle-dove,
Their eyes are never flickering
At other birds for love.
The robin’s wings merge with my bark
My berries with his breast,
Though even with this camouflage
The rook won’t let him rest.
For he is keen for company
His home is born on wings,
Gone is the cawing rookery
To him the robin sings.
Now while the robin and the rook
Could not see eye to eye,
Across a field bearing a book
A young man wandered by.
Spring showers drizzled not in drips
Snowflakes fell as flowers,
He ran then stopped entranced by drops
Sheltered by my bowers.
The church bells welcomed him to me
When ropes where gently squeezed,
The rook took off – the bell struck three
The robin looked quite pleased.
The young man sat with thoughtful look
Peering beyond he searched,
He opened up his little book
And there the robin perched.
This charm of nature held the stage
Verse was eclipsed by wings,
For robin there usurped a sage
And then began to sing.
The young man smiled in disbelief
Steady he held his book,
When swooping low appeared a thief
Blackest-black flew the rook.
This raid curtailed the serenade
The youth looked quite startled,
The rook absconded with his book
In his beak it parted.
Its lines were metered and it rhymed
Though worth what – if not read,
It teetered high within my tree
The rook wished he were dead.
The robin saw in him remorse
Between them was a bond,
He flew his wing tip touched the book
Just like a magic wand.
The young man looked on anxiously
Of his book – he was fond,
Epistles of love falling free
That eve he’d sing those songs.
No attempt was made to retreat
The book to him belonged,
It neatly fell beside his feet
He smiled though he’d been wronged.
I can protect from rain not fears
The rook and the robin,
My berries fall with mourners tears
A sympathy of sobbing.
The young man wandered home for rest
He would return in spring,
His book would lay upon his breast
While robin sang to him.

15 – Philip Cooper fecit: © 13 th April 2007.

Spring Swoon

I journey as if in a flying dream,
But with the wind in my face and my hair;
A journey my dull spirit will redeem,
Though of myself the world will have to spare.
My sole witness knows not where I go,
Nor the pleasure that I feel to be free;
For I’m cradled in a streaming spring flow
Of air, which I know is protecting me:

Clearly below I see the daffodils,
That somebody kindly placed where I fell;
And cherry-blossom which each spring enthrals,
I brush with my hand so the petals spill.
Yesterday I drank in the pub garden
With dad, where those petals begin to lie;
Spring talk he hoped my spirits would gladden,
But my joy of life, just seemed to have died:

This calm passage I craved on stormy nights,
When all the world was a turbulent sea;
From my flailing crows-nest there was no light,
It seemed the whole world had forsaken me.
I craved this vision – a sphere and a swoon,
To take me from this world of enmity;
A warm, soft pale, beguiling light; and soon
A streaming spring flow of serenity:

16 – Philip Cooper fecit: © 4th September 2006. In memoriam,
Leon A Cooper, 26 March 1977 – 13th April 2006 (a full moon).

A Dream of Athens

I saw a city – once full of poetry
It’s humbled people entirely quite,
And there I perched upon the Parthenon
Between two eagles before the dawning light.
We soared the craggy cliffs of the Acropolis
Our Spartan-view bought plaintive cries,
For all lay tumbled yet enigmatic
Grecian ruins where romance never dies.
Olives in broken amphora rotting
Lost Gods of blackened terracotta urns,
A golden age that became despotic
With every stone of civilization turned.
Yet I flew – and was thankful for my flight
In a dream of Athens I dreamt last night.

17 – Philip Cooper fecit: © 12 th April 2015.

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