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AN AFTERNOON IN MAY

By our side gate the old laburnum – whose wood,

in time, may make a chanter or a flute –

is in bloom. I look up through its branches.

There is a little azure and smidgens

of green – and droplets, ringlets, links, chains

of cascading yellow, a torrent of gold.

 

***

 

Our Edwardian neighbourhood fills

with the machined roar of twin turbofans.

An Airbus Beluga – more Arctic whale

than Caspian sturgeon – with cargoes

of worked metal from Toulouse, banks low

over the churchyard’s antique horse chestnuts.

 

***

 

A heron, crossing from one river

to another, beats above our chimney pots,

and three swifts, harbingers, curve through the blue.

A blackbird, perched on the laburnum’s

aureate halcyon canopy,

imbues the street with song.

 

 

 

 

© Copyright David Selzer
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5 Responses
  • David Cracknell
    May 28, 2019

    Enjoyed this slow, circulating, meditative gaze into the earth-rooted sky.

  • Alan Horne
    June 2, 2019

    I agree with the previous comment, David, on this poem. ‘Enjoyable’ is the right word. It’s great read aloud.

  • David Selzer
    June 3, 2019

    Thank you, Alan. I hadn’t thought of readers reading my poems aloud when they receive them but, of course, that’s what one does with certain pieces.

  • Dave Williams
    June 12, 2019

    ‘An Afternoon In May’ captures the lazy English springtime, with nature at its finest but 21st century life carrying on regardless. A good one on which to reflect in an outdoor chair, nursing a cup of tea ( or even a cold beer)! Very relaxing!

  • John Williams
    November 29, 2019

    ‘Poppies’
    ‘Poppies’ begins with a concessive adverb ‘Though..’ contrasting what the poet knows with what he sees. In this case, aware that November should be barren of flowers, he is surprised to see poppies bloom. The anomaly, far from bringing delight, prompts a moralistic note: weeds are ‘usual scoundrels’, other plants are ‘properly autumn’ in the onslaught of wind and rain. He becomes alert to the purpose of human endeavour : foundations stones to keep a house intact are easily undermined by rats with all their ominous symbolism. The poem, a skilful shift from recording an unusual sight in the garden to a comment the futility of human activity, might have brought joy, but doesn’t.

    Yet, perhaps the delight of poem lies in the euphonious names of flowers: ‘Papaver orientale: voluptuous,
    shell-pink; stamens a dark heliotrope’

    and
    ‘sedum,
    rhodendron, berberis, fresia’

    These contrast with the cacophonous last word of the piece, the best mankind can do, lay ‘ slabs’.

    ‘ a shibboleth of belonging’ gives pause.

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