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For a generation, like weather cocks,

their skeletons swung near the highway.

James Price and Thomas Brown had robbed the Mail.

Years turned. The Gowy flooded and the heath

flowered. Travellers noted the bones

hanging in chains by the Warrington road.

Justices ordered the gibbet removed,

the remains disposed of. In Price’s skull,

while Napoleon was crossing the Alps

or Telford building bridges or Hegel

defining Historical Necessity

or Goya painting Wellington’s portrait,

a robin made its nest.



Note: first published on the site April 2009.




© Copyright David Selzer
2 Responses
  • John Huddart
    April 26, 2019

    A rich collection, starting with the much loved ‘A Short History’ – which serves for an appropriate and ironic title for the ten magnificent years of your writing for the web – it has been a lifetime’s work, and many lifetimes conveyed. It is also an inspiration for which I am truly grateful – as are all your devoted fans!

  • Alan Horne
    May 3, 2019

    One of the best, David. The last sentence always made me smile, but I’ve only just noticed that it includes all the achievements of civilization: empire, industry, intellect and art.

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