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My first, and, so far, only – and that minor –

cardiac infarction fell on the date

of the sixty fourth anniversary

of The Battle of Cable Street, when the Jews

and the Irish stuffed Mosley and his Blackshirts,

the Old Wykehamist and his numbskulls,

the Daily Mail’s darling, a Great White Hope.




The consultant – of the old, aloof school,

and treated with awe by theatre staff –

liked Benny Goodman for accompaniment.

On a vast black and white monitor I watched

as, through my groin, the catheter sidled

the arterial highways to my heart.

How essentially anonymous we are!

They could have been anybody’s body parts!

I turned away, listened to the King of Swing’s

version of Bessie Smith’s ‘After You’ve Gone’ –

‘some day when you grow lonely your heart will break…’




Today is the eighty fourth and the nineteenth

respectively. There is no need, perhaps,

for barricades, and I have almost learned

the lessons of my heart.




Note: the poem was first published on 4.10.19 on Facebook .

© Copyright David Selzer
4 Responses
  • John Huddart
    October 25, 2019

    In the words of the pantomime. Almost? Oh, yes, you have. Lovely and moving.

  • Ashen Venema
    October 25, 2019

    Interesting, how we connect things. No need for barricades.
    Be present to the heart. Be well.

    October 25, 2019

    Good stuff this – not so the source material(s).

  • Clive Watkins
    November 9, 2019

    Connexions… My mother, who died in 2009 aged 94, was a young nurse working in the East End of London at this time (as I have mentioned privately) and would talk vividly and in disparaging terms of Mosely and his followers. I, too, recall your experience with a catheter (which in my case did not do the job). There was no music playing, but I recall very clearly chatting to the Registrar who had inserted it, a very pleasant fellow not much older than my own doctor son, about this and that, as he stood with his thumb pressing on the point of the insertion in my groin for what seemed a long time till he felt the small wound had sealed (which it did). The combination of the serious and the banal in such an immodest circumstance struck me as absurd.

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