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This October’s high water has almost reached

the top of the sea wall, its lapping

silenced by two oafish nabobs on jet skis –

iconoclasts shattering the seascape

of the Straits. Rain clouds along the mainland

are lifting, greyness lightening, slowly

becoming white – revealing early Autumn’s

gradual alchemy. Two porpoises

surface briefly out in the deepest channel,

swimming, in the remnants of the Gulf Stream,

from Cardigan Bay to Liverpool Bay.


As the tide drains northwards over Lavan Sands

from the unexpected south a cold breeze blows.

A great crested grebe – a freshwater bird

only on sea coasts in winter – is fishing

among the moored cruisers, their pennants

tremulous in the wind.




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

    The poem takes the reader’s eye through a seascape and records sights, sounds and textures. People are absent except for ‘oafish nabobs on jet skis…’, whose noisy intrusion silences the sea. We becomes aware of absent owners of moored cruisers, their pennants touched and brought to life by the wind. And, of course, there’s also the poet himself to explore tensions between the land and sea, and problematise the role of human beings in the natural world. The sea, land and poet are united by the cold wind ‘As the tide drains northwards over Lavan Sands…a cold wind blows.’ Creatures of air and sea, the grebe and the porpoises, bless us with a brief appearance, brevity contributing to the fleeting overlay, the timeless message of Autumn’s alchemy.

  • Alan Horne
    October 29, 2019

    Thanks for causing me to look up the definition of ‘nabob’. Seems to be a Moghul official, and by extension someone who’d made a fortune with the East India Company. I see that people thought their wealth would corrupt parliament, so worth studying for contemporary relevance. But might a nabob also be someone with nay bobs? I quite like that idea too.

  • David Selzer
    October 29, 2019

    The Hooray Henries referred to in the poem had far too many bobs!

  • Clive Watkins
    November 9, 2019

    A subtly charged scene, David.

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