Poetry by Rod Stone – 12/17

Choir Boys (a surreal Christmas fantasy)

and the unclean spirits came out and went into the pigs, and the herd of about two thousand rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the water.” Mark 5:13

Brothers, it is indeed a strange tale I repeat.
They were all well coached and in nothing forced,
our little boys garbed in white with voices sweet.
No cause for grave alarm when they began the chorus
of carols but the smiles were strained, I admit,
and from “We Three Men” had all become scowls.
At “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem”, there was an evil fit
of coughing and as ruddy cheeks turned into jowls,
the singing fell to sulphurous belching for a start.
Added insult, someone threw a hymnal that careened
upon the bald pate of the bishop who took it to heart.
The orchestra then broke into cacophonies obscene,
most reverend sirs, and pandemonium generally ensued
as grunting pigs, yapping dogs, crazed crocodiles
discarding gowns in the confusion and going nude
ran helter-skelter down the grand cathedral aisles.
I tried to stop them but they stampeded over me
and tumbled pell-mell over a steep incline into the sea.

Skid Row Christmas

X-mas week and feeling down  
in an up so jingle many bells town;
seeking shelter from the cold
sitting on a sewer grate in Toronto

One of the shadows passing by
hearing my “spare change for a coffee” cry
said with a voice that cut like tin 
Dude, would you like some gin?”

Out here on the frozen fringe
time’s always right for a merry binge.

So I took the cup; it was ginger ale – 
skid row’s version of wassail.

A snowflake has no purpose

the mad wind’s night-work,
The frolic architecture of the snow.”        from The Snow-Storm by Ralph Waldo Emerson 

A snowflake has no purpose;
comes not as a prophet
with words of comfort or warning,
heaven sent.

It whirls here and there
wherever the wind takes it.

Winter’s vagrant,
it cannot say, “Ye must repent
or bring good tidings
to a fallen world
being deaf, dumb and blind.
It carries no omen, augury or sign.

It cannot seek to win
with wisdom or a cunning wit
the fame, riches, power
to make God’s kingdom come.
It cannot wave a papal blessing
from the parapet

or sit in purple robes
upon an opulent throne
and like proud Herod Antipas
pretend to be a god.
Despite its lovely glister
it has no power to heal or save.

But when it joins
innumerable others of its kind
in haphazard congregation
without a plan, director or design,
why then the line
between nature and miracle gets blurred.

Thaumaturgy occurs
as cars are changed into coaches,
corn silos into gothic cathedrals –
a kind of sanctum sanctorum
we can’t reject or control
that might cover all the world some day.


Rod Stone’s artistic statement: I want to thank the members of the Brooklin Poetry Society for helping me improve my craft. Reading widely in the poetic canon has also helped me develop a sense of taste in poetry. Some of my favourites are the French Symbolists, W.B. Yeats and great modern poets like Philip Larkin and Elizabeth Bishop. Reading and writing poetry has been one of the joys of my life because as Mallarmé said “beauty has only one perfect expression, Poetry”. You can visit me at www.rodspoetryblog.wordpress.com.