The gusts of wind, that fling the scattered rain

against the panes and flail the eucalyptus –

which jerks as if a frantic, shaken doll –

are lowing in the chimney like an owl.

I draw the curtains as the twilight goes,

switch on the laptop and begin to write,

thinking of those who are without – homeless,

hungry, thirsty – no more than a mile

let alone a continent away.

Though giving assuages, on stormy,

desperate nights, survivor’s guilt intrudes

like a draught. Can we only save, at best,

ourselves and not the world?




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  1. #1 by Ian Craine - March 22nd, 2014 at 16:49

    A lovely poem, David, complemented by the final one. The eucalpytus ‘jerking like a frantic shaken doll’ is a deft image.

  2. #2 by Adrian Ackroyd - March 24th, 2014 at 11:49

    Good! Reminded me of the need to pollard one of the eucalyptuses in the back garden this spring!

  3. #3 by John Huddart - March 25th, 2014 at 10:33

    Thanks, Ian, for pointing out the thematic link in this carefully selected quintet. As a starting point, this explores an aspect of the old simile “as cold as charity.” And you can hear David’s mother saying, “You do what you should”, if she had such doubts.

  4. #4 by Tricia - March 25th, 2014 at 12:30

    Survivor’s guilt – I know it well. That eucalyptus image is most powerful

  5. #5 by David Selzer - April 8th, 2014 at 11:09

    And they say poetry has no practical value.

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