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South Stack, Ynys Môn, ©Sylvia Selzer 2009


Of course, by the time it’s my turn at the ’scope

the bugger’s turned its back. ‘It is a puffin,’

reassures the RSPB girl – and,

since she’s pretty and young, I believe

that what I see is not one of the teeming,

noisy, noisome, nesting guillemots,

razorbills or gulls. A hat trick: ageism,

sexism, anthropomorphism – plus

being churlish as a bear rather than

valiant as a lion. Intriguing opposites. Grrr!

We came here last when she was five or six.

Decades on, she stands with her lover

at a turn in the steps –  both happy,

both blooming with her longed-for future,

and wrestling with the breeze for your camera.

Some gulls have eschewed the crowded cliffs

to nest in the lighthouse’s disused kitchen garden.

We lean on the wall like pig farmers.

There is a dead chick amongst the gooseberries.

A living one stands, yes, surprised, startled but resolute

though even here winds roar like lions or bears.

I hold my breath…1,2,3…for us all.


Note: this piece has been subsequently published in ‘A Jar of Sticklebacks’ –







© Copyright David Selzer

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