Gargoyles are architectural structures. Made of stone, protruding from buildings and monuments of historical interest. Built with a channel of some type formed along the top and through the head to divert rainwater from the building. Thus protecting the mortar joints and masonry from erosion.

Gargoyles protrude outward, sending the water spouting away from the face of the building, from the mouth of the mythical creature the gargoyle represents.

The famous Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris has many gargoyles. All seen protruding from the roof area. Or at least this was the case before fire ravaged it in 2019.

The medieval churches are the principal residences of these stone artefacts. Much work went into these buildings, in such forms as their stone carvings. The elaborate columns, pillars and lintels. The intricate shapes and aesthetics of the buildings are an appreciation. As are the wooden structures. Such as vaulted ceilings and internal ornate corbels, stone corbels that the timber roof structure sat upon. The vaulted ceilings lay open and engineered to carry the heavy load and stresses. Designed to please the eye, so also incorporated much craftsmanship into their making and appearance. Glance up inside any church and you’ll see the results.

Gargoyles have many variations. A lion’s head with its mouth open was a common feature. They varied from cathedral to cathedral. Many took on a distorted form. Later, gargoyles became a mix match of many creatures and forms. In medieval times, their appearances morphed into many forms. They always had a sinister or terrifying presence.

Another form of gargoyle is the chimera. Its purpose is not for diverting water from the building, but strictly ornamental. Referred to as grotesques but classed as gargoyles because of certain similarities.

The authentic form of a chimera comes from the description in Greek mythology:

· Chimera: a monster from Greek mythology that is fire breathing, has a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a snake’s tale.

In ancient Greek mythology, they fear the chimera as a bad omen when sighted. The term “chimera” came to symbolise any mythical creature with two or more mixed body parts of various animals.

Gargoyles often lent themselves to the chimera or variations of that form.

· Some carvings of gargoyles take on the image of mixed animals (chimeras). Some carved as half human and half animal.

Apart from diverting water away from a building, they also supported another purpose: to ward off evil.

It is odd to think that a grotesque figure could do this. When the figure itself seems to err on the side of evil.

With their unusual shape and contortions, their unnatural hybrid configuration, and their medieval demonic looks that some gargoyles portray, it’s easy to think of them as threatening. With so many despotic looking stone statuettes staring down at the congregation from high above their heads, it’s a wonder they didn’t refuse to enter the churches of that era.

Church hierarchy of the time sort various ways to coerce their flock into repenting. The church building offered spiritual security for those seeking it. Outside the church lurked temptation and sin. Religion and the church represented a sanctuary to the masses, a haven.

Gargoyles reminded them of the evil in the outside world. Sending out the message, it is better to be inside the sanctuary of the church rather than on the outside, where temptation, sin and wickedness lie. A means to sway the pagans over to Christianity.

A ploy adopted by the Christian church in medieval times to put fear into the hearts of the people in the hope of them attending church en-mass.

Gargoyles go back long before Christianity, though.

In Olympus, in ancient Greece, The Temple of Zeus has many lion shaped water spouts. The ancient Egyptians build and carved many gargoyles as lions.

Built between 470 BC – 456 BC, the Temple of Zeus comprised limestone and had much marble used also to incorporate the finer finishes. Many sculptures of marble included its 102 lion – headed gargoyles.

The ancient Egyptians preferred the lion form also, although they constructed other forms. Such were as hooded snakes and demon types. The Egyptian gargoyles were to keep their temples safe from Seth, a god of chaos. They were not for diverting rainwater from the buildings. This would have been less important in a desert climate.

More modern gargoyles, seen in our churches and such, came into being round about the 12th century AD.

Noise of water rushing through the gargoyle resembles a gargling sound.

The word gargoyle is from the French word Gargouille, which means throat.

If someone throws their head back, their mouth represents the shape of a funnel. Then, if they blow air from their lungs through a liquid at the back of their throat. What they are doing is gargling. Hence the word gargoyle.

D. Marsden © 2020


The Exodus

Good people leave in hordes their troubled land
behind their homes and life built from the sand
a vengeful war is raging, death is rife
the killers have no care for human life.

A place that once belonged to family fare
husband with wife, child played without a care
a gift from God for everyone to dwell
evil has turned it to a living hell.

Innocent child sees torture, rape and more
beheaded man, blood, flesh and gore
it’s etched into their minds, seen night and day
when they should have it in their hearts to play.

But not for them, the joy has long since fled
they have not any home to rest their head
they trudge along through valley, field and road
most of them laden down with heavy load.

Sick and old, man and woman, girl and boy
babies being carried, no glint of joy
heavy burdens hauled to who knows where
No sign of hope just gloom and vacant stare.

One by one borders closing every day
the refugees arrive but turned away
left alone a spectacle to all of us
a desperate and lonely exodus.

© D Marsden 2018


Oh Well

Someone told me there is no hell
I said there is,
They just said, …oh well!

They've never seen a shanty town
and all the faces-mostly frowns
nor have they seen the poverty and despair
and their tin shacks and vacant glare.

The children have no toys or games
they don't go dancing in the rain
they've never rode on swinging chair
just sit in the blazing sun and stare.

That wretched sun it is so hot
nowhere can I find a pleasant spot
I'll be home tomorrow among the leafy trees
and sit drinking in the English summer breeze.

I'll watch the children on the park
running around and singing like the lark
I'll see my wife and kids as happy as can be
we'll sit and dine and talk, then watch tv.

I'll gaze at the stars and ponder
why is this place I do wonder?

I told someone there is a hell
and he just said… oh well!

© D Marsden 2016


The young boy grew up, wanting much more
burning inside was a decadent fire
he did what he liked and liked what he did
but it wasn’t enough, wanted much higher.

The devil knew this, he offered a deal
I’ll fill your desires to exceed your goal
till your heart’s content, fun, take what you want
but a levy I’ll need, my price is your soul.

How long do I get to taste all life’s dreams?
will you grant me till I’m thirty years old?
the devil he grinned then laughed out so loud
such a large price for a fool to be sold.

Youth and the devil shook hands, the deal was struck
you go on your way, you go and have fun
the man strolled along with great joy and glee
he held his head high, thought life had begun.

The years quickly went, the man had indulged
he took all the pleasures the devil laid out
sat in his dim room with drink in his hand
thirty years, it’s midnight, the clock shouted out

A shadow appeared; a figure so black
a demon approached, I’ve come for your soul
the devil has sent me to collect his due
“please leave me alone, please let me grow old”

You made a pact, you had pleasures abound
you took all you could without much regard
the devil gave out his promise in full
a deal is a deal no matter how hard.

The man fell down on his knees and prayed fast
a frightened boy, his pride all in tatters
please take me away from this journey to hell
oh Lord save my soul, what really matters.

At that point, a bright light, an angel stood
Begone you demon of old, your powers are weak
I come in the devil’s name, the demon said
the man he repents, in God’s name I speak

The devil knows his errand is futile
he has been cheated, a wound to his mark
no torment to please, no suffer of soul
the demon backed off, formed into the dark.

All of the angels in heaven cry out
a chorus sang loud, the way has been paved
the glory of God, how brightly his light
a time to rejoice, a soul has been saved.

© D Marsden 2020

A Tortured Soul

A tortured soul
he died of his fear
family and friends loved him
held him so dear
but sometimes seemed distant
when he was so near.

The life and soul
made everyone laugh
joking at parties
his favourite gaff
but his tormented self
chose the wrong path.

To teenager from child
where to or from where
his thoughts pulled him down
thoughts of despair
but never showed signs
or gave vacant stare.

Thoughts we didn’t know
or being aware
a kind gentle soul
with too much to bare
thought all would judge
be hurtful and stare.

Started to drink
took drugs without care
mind full of torment
too lonely to bare
alone on his path
the world didn’t care.

Thought God didn’t love
heard prejudice and hate
so kept it inside
from family and mate
not knowing we knew
and now its too late.

If he just came out
of the closet they say
life would have been good
just happy and gay
his life really mattered
he threw it away.

Not willingly though
not his real choice
the world shut him out
took away his voice
should have lived on
a right to rejoice.

Society pulls down
causes the rot
the ones that do judge
for sinners they're not
they cast the first stone
that unrighteous lot.

Where do we go
in a world full of hate
say you don't fit
don't open the gate
let’s all give our love
before its too late.

D. Marsden 2022©


The world is on the brink
a tyrant's heart so cold
evil shoots across the sky
a fear of dread around the globe
of rising mushroom clouds
a future yet untold.

History again repeats itself
a scale not seen so long
evil knocking at the door
peacemakers sing their song
a mighty army in defeat
defiance to submit still strong.

When will the missiles silence
their destruction on the land?
Patience all around running thin
enemies suffer by their own hand.
End this diabolicle war,
a world shouts out its command.

Silence falls upon the towns
a bankrupt army in retreat
the sound of cheer in Ukraine
the crunch of marching feet
the cities to rebuild
they will never taste defeat.

D Marsden 2022

A Poem of Poetry

I put down words of thought
to write poetry in rhyme
sometimes tender, sometimes bold
some may take a little time
but a feeling from within
is from no heart but mine.

The form of love stirs the mind
romance has its place on high
irony take on its silent punch
we read and ponder why
the truth and its poignant grasp
to make the reader cry.

A verse of summer time
brings joy to our hearts
flowers dance in gentle breeze
while sunshine plays its part
blossoms hang on tender branch
a bird in song at day’s start.

But don’t forget the tragic poem
of war, and death, despair and need
no scent of bloom and words of love
just tragedy, hopelessness, and weed
all by the hand of human kind
caused by selfishness and greed.

D Marsden © 2022

The Extinct Animal

Strolling through the jungle
I met a lamb in ragged clothes
he told me of injustice
he had a bloody nose
he sees it all around
wherever his journey goes.

I turned a darkened corner
and met a tiger selling spice
have a little try, he said
it really is quite nice
but he was laying a trap
a big cat killing mice.

Above the grass and trees
a mountain to the sky
made of glass and concrete
I dare not venture why
hungry rabbits in their homes
young bunnies, here them cry.

I wandered through the trees
to a place I know not where
I met a lion with golden mane
and a castle for his lair
he told me to clear off
you are not welcome here.

So I turned around
from suburban park
back to concrete jungle
where I met a lark
with grinning face and shiny blade
you don't come here at dark.

I'm looking for justice, 
that rarest breed of all
I cannot find him anywhere
he must be really small
no such animal, said he
he exists not at all.

Call me a merchant
one of doom 
but first look around
and see all the gloom
when will it all end?
maybe very soon.

Unfairness roams the woods
the wolf he has a gun
no truth, just greed and lies
power thinks he's won
but as it is in heaven
on earth justice will be done.

D Marsden 2022 ©

Mr Teflon Man

Society in the dump
but no need to hide
they'll swallow all his talk
why stay inside
he walks with head aloft
while so full of pride.

I'm indestructible, I'm feared
watch me for much longer
it's party time once more
see me do the conga
if you stop all the moaning
I'll sing you a songa...

A jolly old sing-a-long
of all the mince and caviar pies
an abundance of food and drink
champagne before your eyes
but take heed my learned friends
a note to the wise.

No Chinese whispers
keep your mouths shutter
you are all in this together
or you'll be in the gutter
so keep it zipped tight
not one word must you utter.

Making merry behind closed doors
prancing in our three-pointed hats
it's a secret knees up
for myself and my fat cats
a river of booze flowing
hope those stains come out the mats?

Don't match the walls anymore
I think I'll just replace
maybe some new curtains also
shove it right in their face
the coffers are full, I'll dip in
so what, they think I'm a disgrace.

Don't they know who I am?
why shouldn't I stoop so low?
I won't be overruled
telling me where to go
this is my circus
and I'm the star of the show.

Harping on about my parties
all the corruption and greed
a fix, a real buzz I feel
it's what I always need
bring it all on I say
nourishment, it's how I feed.

We are the ruling classes
keeping the workers down
make them stay in their place
not venture near my side of town
they only know what I say
if they don't see, they can't frown

Maybe they think I'm doomed
but I'll not go down the pan
I'm the leader of this mob
and arrogant because I can
whatever I wrong, nothing will stick
for I'm Mr Teflon Man.

D Marsden 2021©


Goodbye our dear mam
our tears do flow like rain
you seem so far away
and yet so near the same
farewell our dear mam
until we meet again.

The body an empty shell
a mother steps into the light
dad, family past, and friends
waiting for the unite
no more the devil’s curse…
of death having to fight.

To suffer the most
our hearts ripped out
when will they mend?
one day…no doubt
but not very soon
a light has gone out.

Death has no sting,
as Paul the apostle said
you left behind
sad thoughts in our head
we cared for you here
now God cares for the dead.

We know you are well
and not far away
a place full of peace
is where you will stay
waiting…together again
on that wonderful day.

You gave us your love
your blessings as well
sweet memories you left
to take us from hell
our happiness will grow
for in paradise you dwell.

Don’t know if we can endure
all the heartache and pain
but when the day comes
all sadness will wane.
Goodbye our dear Mam
’til we all meet again.

D Marsden 2021 ©



The pain in my heart
I thought I was dead
before long I’m all wired up
all for a plate full of bread
you gotta lose weight
the consultant looked down and said.

The yoyo-ing started
making me spin
ten years of losing
but just couldn’t win
I’m doomed to fail
before I begin.

The plans were all fake
my mind told me lies
said I could go back
to eating pudding and pies
Then I joined Slimming World
Louise opened my eyes.

The sign said, SW this way
so I walked through the door
life was about to change
a world not seen before
I’m in a secure place
where pounds roll off on the floor.

A consultant as wise as an owl
SW was my new club
and to top it all
it’s inside a pub
the bar may be closed
but the menu has succulent grub.

I was finally home
the pounds started to shed
understanding and knowledge
now secure in my head
good friends giving support
Wonderful folk it must be said.

Unconditional Love

Unconditional Love

Love is like a violin
someone wrote it in a song,
but if the strings asunder tear
then the heart is all alone
and the world is full of hate
a place of hell for everyone.

Someone sang there is no God
no heaven above or hell below.
The truth is written in the texts
for all to see and all to know
but who will read and be so wise?
Who will love and who will grow?

Love pangs yearn in all our hearts
but when absent hate will show
its vengeful head will rise to fill
and like a virus it will sow
it reigns where love once was
the seed of vacancy will grow.

The world won’t turn for very long
not without such love to sow
we cannot see the joy or peace
that earth gave us to grow
vile words, a crown of thorns
witnessed by all who know.

If you choose a different route
if you don’t believe…Your loss
if you don’t lend yourself to love
the devil will be your boss
if you don’t believe in Christ
who’s he they nailed to the cross?

D Marsden ©2021

Another Soul is Saved

A stroll through nature’s paradise
an icy breeze in dead of night
full moon’s street lamp across the land
makes a steady stroll so bright
a sound so cold rushes by
night is broken by a fright.

The rustle of the autumn leaves
shaking like silver paper points
an eerie sound to endure
no time to repent or anoint
in flight swiftly through the woods
heart beating faster, straining joints.

A breath encroached on my neck
a groan called out to my fear
I run faster but can’t move
away from hells’ tormented pier
I taste it all, Satan’s deeds
as he whispers in my ear.

Leave me alone I call out
wheezing, gasping on the hoof
I say a prayer while in full flight
to the Mighty Lord above
deliver me from this evil
please send me down your love.

A brilliant white light appeared
a million stars on command
a hoard of angels stand their ground
numbered like the grains of sand
the devil and his advocates
lay down their defeated hand.

The Yellow and Black Polka Dot Pumpkin

Far far away on some distant dry land
coiled up like a spring in my polka skin
staring over the sea and velvet sand
a reptile in me, lying deep within
anchored silently in an eastern breeze
sitting, waiting, hoping for turn or spin.

All dumb and docile but for instinct
silently waiting, ready to announce
still but for a ripple of shiny scales
hunger driving me to an eager pounce
another day of life I could endure
if only a morsel crawled, a tiny ounce.

The hot yellow sun supports us both
the land, the sea, our home, Japan and me
waiting for the tide of opportune to turn
my hunger pangs once more set free
soon the precious light will fade away
my eyes no longer sense the prey
tomorrow I’ll hunger for one last day.