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‘Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound…and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.’ Leviticus 25:9 & 25.10


Much of the chapters and footnotes of England’s,

though not Britain’s, history are scribed here

in stone and iron – Roman Walls, Norman weir,

marshalling yards – the rest is on paper,

of course, and from hearsay. It is said,

for example, for Victoria’s Jubilee,

in our street, lilac trees were planted.

Some have survived changes of taste or neglect.


This city, where I have lived most of my life

by chance then choosing, is shaped by the Dee,

that brought wine and the Black Death from Acquitaine,

powered the long defunct tobacco mills and still

draws occasional salmon from the oceans.

I imagine them waiting in the deep currents,

fattening on sand eels, squid, shrimp, herring,

and then the long, fasting haul from west

of Ireland, homing for their breeding grounds.

A cormorant perches on the salmon steps.

The last of the fishermen is long dead.


Like the calls and wings of Black-headed Gulls,

blown by April storms, the names and titles

of princes echo from the neutral sky

and sound through the deferential streets.

No doubt, there will be the splendid nonsense –

the cathedral’s ring of  bells will peel

and the Lord God Almighty will be urged

repeatedly to ‘save the Queen’. So,

let the ram’s horn blow like a trumpet

through Mammon’s and God’s obsequious temples –

and ‘…proclaim liberty throughout all the land…’


Almost which ever road you take westward,

in the distance, are the Welsh hills. The Legions

exiled the Celts from here – Saxons et al,

with legal threats and occasional killings,

kept them out except for trade and prayer

but forbade their songs. Now, waiting, we

are everywhere. Let the ram’s horn sound.



© Copyright David Selzer
2 Responses
  • Kevin Dyer
    June 1, 2012

    I really like ‘Jubilee’. I’m no poetry expert – but I loved it’s tautness, the held in, through gritted teethness, of it; the mix of internal feelings and landscape. Yes, really liked its measure and its vastness.

  • David Selzer
    June 1, 2012

    Thank you, Kevin. Much appreciated. You know yourself how good it feels when a reader or an audience just ‘gets it’!

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