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Five men, in orangey yellow overalls,

using long handled rollers are painting

the paddling pool – which is the size of four

tennis courts – that blue which only colour charts

show or astronauts will see.  Beyond

is the limestone headland with rock-roses

amongst the scrub and fulmars nesting.

Far out to sea is a gathering,

stately and serried, of white, wind turbines.


I think of David Hockney’s iconic pools,

and of Robert Rauschenberg’s ‘Combines’ –

hybrids of sculpture and paint  – and his ‘Jammers’ –

unvarnished poles and coloured canvas.


Uniformed artisans – artificers

of the imagination – these painters

each year layer this surreal blue. Sea water

fades it, and tiny feet.





© Copyright David Selzer
2 Responses
  • Alan Horne
    September 1, 2018

    This is great, David. The best poems about manual work generally seem to be about rescuing workers of the past from obscurity, while more are pure nostalgia. This is neither. I especially like the changes of focus in the first stanza. Also, thanks for the reference to Rauschenberg, of whom I was ignorant.

  • Hugh Powell
    September 4, 2018

    The mention of colour reminds me of William Carlos Williams. So much depends on swimming pools and wheel barrows!

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