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At twilight from the hills across the Straits, a sudden

drift of smoke – then a fire’s deep orange eye blinked.

We talked of cruising the Nile; of moon rise and sun set,

of the narrow compass of the earth’s curve;

the river pilots’ open armed, hand-on-heart salaams;

and the stars rushing through the night.


Later and sleepless in the early hours,

I kept watch at the bedroom window.

The hotel sign lit a faded Union flag,

threadbare at its outer edges.

The only hint of the far shore was

sporadic lights on the A55.


But the stars were unequivocal. In a cloudless,

unpolluted sky, how they teemed!

I saw the constellations pass

and the random magnificence of things revealed.

Understandably, you preferred to sleep.

And journey safely through the dark.

© Copyright David Selzer
2 Responses
  • Rob Golding
    October 31, 2009

    Having spent many sleepless nights during residential visits in this part of the world, this poem reminded me of those nights and the stillness of the area during the early hours.

  • John Plummer
    November 7, 2009

    The scope of these poems resonates with me. Sleeplessness is no fun but it has its occasional compensations – those unfathomable skies, the slow creep of dawn, and just once, in Spain, five minutes unbroken singing from a nightingale. Why didn’t you wake us, they asked? Partly misplaced courtesy but really because sometimes it needs to be just for me.

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