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I pause at the long window where the stairs turn.

The first hard frost of the season has rimed

the moss on the terrace. A neighbour has thrown,

as she does daily, stale bread on the flat roof

of her garage. Two Jackdaws arrive

then a small flock of Black-headed gulls

in winter plumage. The first comers

are aggressive. The gulls hover, swoop, feint,

feed swiftly, rise, return – like dancers.

(How truly ancient is these animal’s

ancestry! How arriviste we primates are!).

All, even the crows, are utterly silent.


I think of last summer: a beach in heat haze

and our three and a half year old grand daughter,

chuckling, chasing, gently, a Black-headed gull –

that had been intent on scavenging

crusts and crisps among the profligate –

then watching it take wing into the mist.


By the year’s end, to my unceasing surprise,

we will be seventy one. We have been

together many more years than apart,

so best to assume we will always be here –

and be deaf to the certainty of silence.



© Copyright David Selzer
9 Responses
  • Gilbert Franke
    December 20, 2013

    I appreciate the way a pause at the stairs’ turning illicits thoughts on the year’s turning! Subtle, but strong!

    The sight of gulls in winter recalls a summer beach scene focused on your precious granddaughter and calls for reflection on the endearing relationship with your wife, which has endured the turning of many years and promises to see many more!

    Thanks, David!

  • Howard Gardener
    December 20, 2013

    A beautiful last stanza, David. I can picture you both in your garden: for some reason, you are both drinking hot chocolate…

  • Ian Craine
    December 21, 2013

    Rather a beautiful set of seasonal poems. Gulls defying gravity and pools deep enough to drown secrets.
    Happy Christmas, David.

  • Steve Crewe
    December 23, 2013

    Touched a chord there, David, as each year I cook the turkey – something I enjoy doing – there is always the thought that this may be for the last time. Yet so much remains to be done. Let’s just hope we’re all granted the health to be productive until the inevitable!

    December 27, 2013

    Thank you, David. When I was innocent, young, believed what others (who knew more) preached, I shed a tear at the Cathedral’s beauty and the music that filled it’s mighty upward reaching confident glory. I still find beauty, solace even: but science and knowledge robbed my innocence, there is no God!- in my world now; still I sit, shedding tears for those who died to satisfy the ancient bishops’ pride.

  • John Huddart
    January 8, 2014

    Now the year has turned, and 2014 lends its own gravity, I have to add a small stone to the pile. Actually it’s the pile which is the starting point for me, because a good poem inspires others to write. These comments are proof of its spark. An audience is formed, a congregation.

  • David Selzer
    January 8, 2014

    I shall look forward to the stone.

  • John Chapman
    January 11, 2014

    A sense of morbidity overlays this month’s offerings, David, transcending even those other comments here. Four happier, uplifting offerings next to stir the heart perhaps?

  • John Huddart
    January 16, 2014

    I’m checking through for morbididity, but I think it’s the reverse. The elephant in the room is optimism, is hope, is the way poetry is a sort of winter fuel payment that helps get us through to spring. I’ll stand by my feeling that this is one of the best and brightest batch you’ve brought together. I think John C is secretly uplifted – or at any rate has had his attention engaged!

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