Photo By Jools Thatcher

Photo By Jools Thatcher

The theme for this week’s JVG Radio Method poem is “Dog Noises” (Jon is back in good form)

Ed Bates guitar is joined by Dave Evans on box this week

Play this poem directly in your browser! Just click the “play” button below:

Dog Noises

Mavis Thrip was first to hear it
Faint, but definitely there
Ted Cleary noticed something
When the church fell silent in prayer

Soon most of the congregation had heard it
And if not, they reckoned they had
Except Sidney Barnsworth, deaf as a squid
Who thought everyone of them mad

A dog, no mistaking – best guess was a spaniel
But a dog, without any question
Old Sidney scoffed and stuck to his guns
Claimed it was all just auto suggestion

The Deacon remarked, it sounded distraught
Betty Fidge thought it sounded in pain
Sometimes the cries would be absent for days
Only to surface again

The Reverend Wesley Bullcock
For once quick into action
A man of conceit, he took pride in his sermons
Resented the unwanted distraction

He rallied his flock to assist in a search
Of the presbytery, church and the hall
The unfortunate beast was injured or trapped
And one of God’s creatures, after all

But their efforts, well intentioned, proved fruitless
Despite an exhaustive inspection
The trouble was, those plaintive wails
Seemed to echo from every direction

Some thought the altar, some said the ceiling
The garden, even under the ground
They examined the vestry, anti room, cupboards
Alas, nothing was found

Word soon spread through the neighbourhood
Meeting with much scepticism
While others, more governed by superstition
Called for an exorcism

Notions the local Catholic Church
Did nothing at all to dispel
“God” they suggested, to punish the protestants
“Had unleashed the Hounds of Hell”

Week after week, the pitiful whimper
The entire congregation was stressed
The Reverend Bullcock, near his wits end
Transformed from annoyed to obsessed

He ripped up floor boards, unbolted pews
Stripped shelves in the Sunday School
Dismantled the pulpit, unbricked the cellar
Stripped carpet from the vestibule

“Nothing, not a thing – God why do you mock me?”
He cried, having failed in his quest
The Deacon convened a meeting of elders
And poor Bullcock, sent away for a rest

The following Monday, the cleaner, Miss Clegg
A dour, but dependable char
Noticed the whimpering louder than usual
And the door to the bell tower ajar

She peered through the crack, trembling
At the sight of an abomination
Two bodies entwined, an impious act
Of sexual gratification

It was Edith Cribbs, the organist
Miss Clegg had a birds-eye view
But who was the brut held in Edith’s embrace?
The bell ringer Nigel Pugh

Poor Miss Clegg, the horror and shock
Nearly fell down dead on the floor
So appalled was she at the carnal sins
She hid watching, for ten minutes more

Creeping forward for a closer look
She tripped and let out a squeal
Nigel lurched forward and was caught in the ropes
The church bells started to peel

A crowd soon gathered around the couple
And needless to say felt aggrieved
But despite their ire and howls of outrage
In truth, most were relieved

Our dogs, now collared, wearing nought but the ropes
Rolled over and quickly confessed
Miss Clegg volunteered, for morality’s sake
To keep an eye on the pair while they dressed

“The goat with the mighty horn” sneered Mavis
Quoting from the book of Daniel
“As for the howling” added Betty Fidge
“I think I know which one was the spaniel”

The tower was closed and boarded up
In hope they’d all forget
The bells that rang from that day forth
All came from a cassette

The organ, too, was silenced
Banished, to rot in the cellar
When they sing “Mine eyes have seen the glory”
They sing it a-cappella

Edith and Nigel now breed Basenjis
Which they raise, with success, in their attic
The Reverend Bullcock was retired with a pension
They felt he was too dogmatic

© Copyright 2010 Ian Bland

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