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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Monday, June 22, 2009
    Everyday eclipses
    In the Millennium year when the solar eclipse was due, Roger McGough realised that his travel schedule in a farwaway part of the world would preculde him from seeing the much anticipated heavenly event. So, reflecting on all the eclipses he had seen, and continues to, he wrote this poem.

    The hamburger flipped across the face of the bun
    The frisbee winning the race against its own shadow
    The cricket ball dropping for six in front of the church clock
    On a golden plate, a host of communion wafers
    The brown contact lens sliding across the blue iris
    The palming of small change
    Everyday eclipses

    Out of the frying pan, the tossed pancake orbits the Chinese lampshade
    The water bucket echoing into the well, well, well
    The lifebelt spinning past the open porthole
    The black, snookering the cue ball against the green baize
    The winning putt on the eighteenth
    The tiddlywink twinking toward the tiddly cup
    Everyday eclipses

    Neck and neck in the hot air balloon race
    Holding up her sign, the lollipop lady blots out the belisha beacons
    The foaming tankard thumped on to the beer mat
    The plug into the plughole
    Two thin slices; first salami, then mortadella
    In the fruit bowl, the orange rolls in front of the peach.
    Everyday eclipses another day

    Goodbye bald patch, hello yarmulke
    A sombrero tossed into the bullring
    Leading the parade, the big bass drum.
    We hear cymbals but cannot see them
    One eclipse eclipses another eclipse
    To the cold, white face, the oxygen mask.
    But too late

    One death eclipses another death
    The baby's head, the mother's breast
    The open O of the mouth seeking the warm O of the nipple
    One birth eclipses another birth
    Everyday eclipses.

    Genius. Here at The Hayes this evening, Roger McGough held a theatre-full of clergy rapt with the attention of laughter and tears, just as he had at the previous Liverpool Diocese conference in 2004. It's the first night of the four-day gathering. With Roger's excellent contribution it feels - in a good way - like we've peaked already.