JULY…

the month we found, beyond the rose of sharon,
past the mint and the sage, in the sunless
corner by broken pots and upturned
zinc buckets, the first wild strawberry…

when we walked up the Acropolis,
with feral dogs among the olive trees…

when we walked through Carnac’s standing stones
and heard the wind shake the fields of wheat…

when we decorated our first home,
with Chris Montez, ‘The more I see you’…

the month we met on a date blind like Cupid
or Justice –

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CONCRETE MYTHS

We have explained about Knossos in the car,
so she is keen to see the palace.
(We have not mentioned the Minotaur
or Daedalus and Icarus). She likes
the cats, the peacock and the cicadas
and appears not disappointed at all
by Arthur Evans’ concrete. Maybe
she knows the concerns of grown-ups are
more illusionary than substantial –
and a young woman, posing like Betty Boop
in high heels and sharp yellow dress
by an amphora, would prove her point.

Knossos is on the edge of Heraklion’s
southern suburbs.

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POETIC JUSTICE

A wishful thinking editor changed
a poem’s final words from ‘a tramp woman
nurses an infant/under a tumbling sky’
to ‘under a trembling sky’. Humbling to find
an editor’s chance choice of epithet –
she had spelt my surname with a ‘t’ –
happier than my own! Mine was truer.

 

Note: Here is the poem referred to above – https://www.davidselzer.com/2012/04/dedham-vale-revisited-2/

 

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MIRAGE

On Little Eye, a family appears trapped
by the incoming tide – two adults,
a boy, a girl and a dog marooned
in some Enid Blyton adventure.
We anticipate an RNLI
Atlantic hoving to the rescue.
But they wait in the sun for the ebb,
the dog barking at black headed gulls.

By a sandstone outcrop are high, thick bushes
with vivid orange berries – ‘Poisonous!’
we hear our childhood’s guardians call.
But a woman is gathering them –
Sea-buckthorn berries – nutritional,
medicinal throughout Eurasia.

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PHILLIS WHEATLEY: 1753-1784

Enslaved in the Gambia or Senegal,
scholars surmise, she survived the nauseous
and violent bottom line of the
Triangular Trade to be bought aged eight
as a maid for his wife by John Wheatley,
merchant and tailor of British-ruled Boston,
a known progressive in education.

She was christened ‘Phillis’ after the slave ship
that took her childhood. She was prodigious
and was removed from domestic duties.
Tutored by his daughter, at twelve she knew
Latin, Greek, the Bible and, later,
became a genius of Augustan
couplets –

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