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Monday 30 April 2012

Suburban Village #3 : Dev the Rev

At first, my hero:
The Reverend J. D. Proberty,
billowing cloud on a sit-up-and-beg,
skirts of ankle length
doing nothing to hamper
the prowess he showed
on a bicycle made for trousered men.
To me that argued powers beyond
the human or the practical.
He had been sent by God, I had seen the sign -
but not that, human , he was set to fall.

My chest grew worse in London Smogs
and Dev the Rev
or Call-me-Father
(our two names for him)
suggested Switzerland.
He and I. To take the air -
and in the proceess, to
escape the London blitz as well.
An open-ended stay.
All expenses paid.
Umbrage he took
when my parents refused -
but for my grandparents
it marked the end of hm.

He it was persuaded me
to be an altar boy,
but called me sinful, hearing I had drunk
a mug of tea first thing, before
the early morning "mass" -
"Communion" to everybody else.

Sunday School was in the church,
but I was in his class,
which always met
somewhere in the vicarage:
his library, the orchard,
the great lawn or the garden.
In season he would give out windfalls -
though sometimes we'd have had
some apples from the trees.

Once in the church,
peeping through my knuckles during prayers
I saw high up in what we called the transept -
our misnomer for a chapel
tucked behind the choir - perched
in the apex of the intervening arch,
Blake's Ancient one of Days.
It hovered for a while then disappeared.
I told the Father what I'd seen.
He exorcised the transept for our sins.

William Blake's The Ancient of Days is from the Wikipedia Website


Daydreamertoo said...

It sounds a bit spooky to me.
Exorcised the transept. If you;re not safe in a church, where would you be.
Great writing Dave.

Tabor said...

I read scary overtones into this, but my fear of the church overrides all my readings of religious poetry.

Mary said...

So glad that your parents refused the offer of a trip to Switzerland! Doesn't sound like a religious pilgrimage to me.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful portrait--I am not sure that younger people would understand parts of it==isn't that terrible?

I really enjoyed - one typo? hm in line re grandparents? Is it "him?"

This is a lovely series. K.

Maude Lynn said...

I have to echo what Tabor said.

Brian Miller said...

i am def liking the meeting of people of the village, i def catch a scary undertones as well to this man...

PattiKen said...

This definitely raised the hair on the back of my neck. It sounded like Dev the Rev had something other than piety in his heart. Too many of his ilk took advantage of the young altar boy's faith and trust.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Marvellous portrait and stunning last line, really in Blake's mood. Haunting.

Windsmoke. said...

Very enjoyable, spooky and scary just the way i like it :-).

kaykuala said...

Scary a bit, Dave! But I like the portrait.


Adura Ojo said...

Great storytelling, Dave. What makes this poem so powerful are the things suggested but not really said. Nice touch even though somewhat unsettling. Brilliant!

Dave King said...

I found it spooky - very spooky - at the time, but in retrospect I am sure it was spoof more than spook.

To me it signals how different I am now from the way I was then.

Yes, I am eternally grateful for that. I've no idea, though, why they did so. I'm sure they didn't think then as we do now.

Well, I was young... I'm trying to recall if I would have understood it back then - and I've no idea - isn't THAT terrible?
And yes, you're corrct about the typo - though I'm tempted to leave it! Thanks for all.

Mama Zen
understood. Thanks.

No doubt about it. There were scary undertones, some of which I only got to realise years later.

Yes, didn't realise that at the time - and not sure if my parents did or why they turned him down.
(I still don't know if today's fears were justified. It's a different world.)

Thanks for saying.


Much appreciated comment.

Yes, well, I had to tread carefully. Surmise and memory - neither really trustworthy.

Kat Mortensen said...

The apples were a nice touch.

Janine Bollée said...

How I hated my sit-up-n-beg: so uncool as to be a real hindrance to my social life during schooldays :-)
Funny what our standards were.