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We have moved once to accommodate the tide

on this August strand, crowded with many

who otherwise would have been in the Algarve

or on some island in the Aegean.

At least the sands are free this year of the Christians

whose jocular misanthropy of games

of tug o’ war takes up so much space.


High tide is still nine minutes away,

and the beach here rises just perceptibly –

but ramparts have gone, and a castle keep.

Someone has placed a child’s spade in the sand

guessing where the flow will end, the ebb begin –

or knowing it will be so, for the sea turns

just as it laps against the blue blade.


We are so pleased watching the waves recede,

as if we had outwitted them, outlived them

almost, we do not notice the spade has gone,

its modest owner emulating Canute.

On the horizon, anchored until high tide,

container ships and tankers are moving now

safe to cross the Bar, and sail into the Mersey.


Curious to face the sea as if facing

the future. Though the waters surge and swell

with many metaphors, for the most part

only the inevitable happens –

like the wave, the invisible tsunami,

that will strike these islands’ shores this coming

New Year’s Day. Something the hateful, the greedy,

and the ignorant have willed – for a chimera,

a mere abstraction.




© Copyright David Selzer
8 Responses
    September 25, 2020

    Da iawn wir. Cario ymlaen, sgrifenwr.

  • David Selzer
    September 25, 2020

    Diolch yn fawr iawn, gydweithiwr – chi hefyd!

  • Pat Rogerson
    September 25, 2020

    As ever, David, you have captured the spirit of Anglesey.

  • Elise Oliver
    September 25, 2020

    Well, Dafydd, I can’t resist asking whether you’ve been invited to join the Gorsedd Cymru? After all, your ‘awen’ deserves bardic recognition.

    I was transported to the shores of Sir Fôn, listening to the whispering of the waves on the sand but I was also reminded of something you have often told me, in your wisdom, that although problems and catastrophes may be inevitable, solutions are not.

  • Tim Ellis
    September 26, 2020

    I like the metaphor of the ‘invisible tsunami’. When I do a political poem I usually take the bull in a china shop approach, but this comes at the issue in a pleasingly oblique manner. I’m wondering if ‘jocular misanthropy’ is a subtle dig at our at our PM, or if I’m reading too much into it.

  • David Selzer
    September 26, 2020

    Many thanks, Tim. A colleague’s commendation is always much appreciated – as his improving the poem: ‘jocular misanthropy’ was not intended as a reference to Bojo but it is now. A (serious) thank you for that.

  • Keith Johnson
    September 27, 2020

    RE: Re Tsunami you may enjoy my article: ‘Boris to move Irish Border to mid-Atlantic and cede Kent to EU?’
    As Boris reflects: “Sometimes I’m a Brexit Superman – and sometimes I’m a Limited Access Lorry Park Kent”

  • TziganeMcD
    September 28, 2020

    Beautifully written, all the more tragic for its portents… Thank you, David.

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