Luncheon Break Scribble.—Phantom Pool

December 16th, 2018

I was at my desk in a busy office and found myself unable to contain my laughter for at least fifteen seconds after reading the words ‘As uniform and tasty as its cooking’. I am no longer ashamed at being so badly read. If good health can continues to prevail for a little while longer, I’m hopeful there might be many reactions to poetry not unlike that.

As I write these words I am about thirteen tweets away from ‘retiring’ from twitter for probably the fifth time in two years. All that means is that I attach a throwaway email address to the twitter account I am currently using, log out and never return. I then use my active email address to start another twitter account. There are many reasons I do this, and the reasons are extremely varied. The main reason is that I am unknown, a nobody, a purveyor of racing thoughts who likes to monitor his own online behaviour. The magic number of tweets before I retire this time is 777, an interesting number that I have enjoyed learning about recently after trying to make sense of a song that I enjoy a little bit too much called ‘Phantom Pool’ by a ‘Gothic Country’ duo that call themselves ‘Those Poor Bastards’ who I will in future refer to as TPB.

I am not a public figure, I have not got books to sell, media appearances to promote, or newspaper inches to plug,  etc.,  so I think it foolish to keep tweeting and twittering in one place. I sometimes use it as a scrapbook, a notepad, a scrolling sea of bookmarks. When I decide it’s time to leave, I give the twitter scrapbook a title and move on, returning from time to time for easy-to-access inspiration in those rare moments of boredom, or in the hope of provoking forgotten memories.

My next twitter incarnation will be entitled ‘The Yolk in Me’ , it was going to be called ‘The Beast in me’ , but I saw a very attractive picture of a poached egg with runny yolk running down the crust of a rustic slice of toast, and the rest is not worth mentioning really.

‘The Beast in me’ is a song by, or at least recorded by Johnny Cash, that can be found on one of his ‘American Recordings’ albums.

And from Johnny Cash to TPB’s ‘The Phantom Pool’

‘All the folks who pass away
Before they get religion
End up in the phantom pool
Their spirits trapped and spinning


Phantom pool


 Here you stop to take a drink
Of pure and cleansing water
But on the surface floats a mist
Where long lost spirits wander


 Phantom pool


 You godless fool
It waits for you
The phantom pool
The phantom pool
It waits for you


The grass is brown and dying here
No creatures dare to gather
Listen closely to the wind
You’ll hear their frightened chatter


Phantom pool


See back there those crooked trees
That reach up to the heavens
The Holy Spirit keeps ’em safe
Old 7 – 7 – 7


Phantom pool


You godless fool
It waits for you
The phantom pool
The phantom pool
It waits for you


The stench of sin is on you now
You’re followed by a demon
If you do not learn to pray
Right here you’ll wake up screaming


Phantom pool


Look into my weary eyes
And answer this one question
Do you long for wicked things
Or do you seek redemption?


Phantom pool


You godless fool
It waits for you
The phantom pool
The phantom pool
It waits for you’

I will surely write at length about TPB in the not-so-distant future. They lead my mind to some very thought-provoking dark depths, and occasionally inspire me to not sit on my hands, waiting for stranger to help me do things that I am quite capable doing myself.

And like with so other forms of art I am attracted to, it serves as a reminder of what an awful selfish fool I can be at times.

If some sort of delightful eternity awaits me after my dying day, I hope it will be after a lengthy good talking to and spanking from a loving fatherly soul.  I really have a lot to answer for.


When I was copying out John Betjeman’s poem ‘Town Clerk’s Views’ a few days ago, something happened that caused me to think about  becoming a good poet one day. I was slowly reading and writing out the poem and I got to this point:

As for remote East Anglia, he who searches

Finds only thatch and vast, redundant churches.

But that’s the dark side. I can safely say

A beauteous England’s really on the way.

Already our hotels are pretty good

For those who’re fond of very simple food

Cod and two veg., free pepper, salt and mustard

Followed by nice hard plums and lumpy custard,

A pint of bitter beer for one-and-four,

Then coffee in the lounge for a shilling more.

In a few years this country will be looking

As uniform and tasty as its cooking.

Here is a link to ‘Phantom Pool’ by Those Poor Bastards.





Office clerk.

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