LOOKING FOR PUFFINS: SOUTH STACK REVISITED – A POEM FOR OUR DAUGHTER

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.

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ONLY ONE IN STEP

 

 

 

 

Plato's Allegory of the Cave

 

 

 

 

 

i

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is

somehow very ‘Thirties: lots of chaps in

the dark behind high walls; much shadow-play

with unidentifiable voices;

belated, blinding suddenness of light.

The decade’s putative worthies (who all,

by the way, seem to have been chaps) go forth

unknowingly in parallel: e.g.

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MARJORIE BEEBE’S BOTTOM

For Ian Craine

 

‘Marjorie Beebe is the greatest comic possibility that ever worked in my studio. I think she is destined to become the finest comedienne the screen has ever seen.’  Mack Sennett

 

Marjorie Beebe in 'The Farmer's Daughter' 1928

 

Her bottom was a serious matter:

the butt, as it were, of numerous pratfalls

in many Mack Sennett two reelers – like

The Chumps, Campus Crushes and The Cowcatcher’s

Daughter

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TRIGGER AT THE ADELPHI, LIVERPOOL, MARCH, 1954

For Alex Cox

 

This is the year Dien Bien Phu falls,

Algeria rises, segregation is

ruled illegal in the USA,

the first kidney is transplanted and UK

wartime food rationing finally ends.

 

Lime Street was filled with thousands of boys and girls,

gathered to greet the singing, celluloid,

Born Again cowpoke, Roy Rogers (erstwhile

Leonard Slye), and his entourage – combining

a promo tour with a Billy Graham

crusade.

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WISHES

For Evelyn b. 13 1.10

 

Born to good music by strong women,

Ella’s ‘isle of joy’, Nina’s ’it’s a new dawn’ –

how you nestle in your parents’ untrammelled

love, how you suck with unrelenting hunger!

 

Born into a world of rubble, with children

buried alive, a world of chicanery

and hatreds – you have entered a difficult

place, little Evie, somewhere remarkable,

full of tears and amazing kindnesses!

 

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