The Fallen Angel

Part of the fun of this blog is that I sometimes don’t make up my mind what I am going to write until my fingers hit the keyboard.

The family are betting on horses in the Grand National tomorrow. Like buying the occasional lottery ticket, it invites the possibility of some random aspect of good fortune entering one’s life in the form of lucre – silver or filthy it is hard to tell the difference when turned into numbers in a bank account. I speculate upon the bension of the universe finding it’s way into my life. Some of my new agey friends talk about inviting good things in etc and there is an aspect of truth about it that must surely arise from opening out the doors of perception to these opportunities and doing more practical things – like actually working for it. I suspect the latter is the surest option, and the universe surely does not play dice with men… The betting industry does not flourish as a philanthropic organisation. Mathematically, I have a certain chance of a return on a bet. It is much more fun however to take an irrational fancy to a horse because you like the sound of its name, or – if you are horse-minded – you could do some research to investigate form and running conditions and so on. I’ll keep to the more writerly way of things and listen to the sound of the name. The horse’s name, at least. Perhaps the jockey should get some credit…

Below I paste on an old poem of mine that is a bit of an unfinished symphony but has some resonance to the above.

I like pub names for their tradition, cultural references and resonance of place. I should assert that I spend little time inside them, but I spend even less time in betting shops.

The Fallen Angel

…The King’s Head,

The Ship Inn, The Rope and Anchor.

The White Hart, The Green Lion,

The Fallen Angel

This is some time at the beginning of the 21st century,

no pun intended, but this board

has seen 21 and more. Much used,

it bears the scars of triumph and, all around,

a halo of carelessness – a scale of intoxication.

…The Mortal Man,

The Ring o’ Bells, The Black Horse,

The Lost Chord,

The Flying Dutchman…


The game’s over.

Look at the blackboard wings,

scrawled initials,

white chalked numbers.

The last game ended in wishful thinking;

that score is impossible.

…The Flying Saucer,

The Mermaid, The Jack o’Lantern.

The White Lady, The Green Man,

The Crock of Gold,

The Headless Horseman


Those lucky flights you used

got you the odd bull’s eye

but never a high score.

Often you missed, or hit the wires

and the arrow fell back to the floor.

You stand at the occhie like unnumbered men before.

Some took their time,

others let go quicker.

Who’s next?

…The Mortal Man,

The Salvation Arms, The Last Drop,

The Golden Ball, The Salutation


3 thoughts on “The Fallen Angel

  1. Let me know if you need some tips on WordPress formatting for poems. I suspect you want to indent some lines? Took me a while to suss it out for use on the New Writing Cumbria blog/website, but I cracked it eventually. If you send me a Word (or some other text) version that shows how you want it to look, I’ll see what I can do.

    1. Thanks, Mick – will do. The poem is not ‘finished’ in any polished way, but I find that single-spaced Word text comes over as with strange ‘before and after’ blocks that I can’t delete so I assume they are typsetting issues. It is sometimes quicker to re-type in the case of poems! I’ll send you the word file. Thanks again. Elizabeth

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