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Begun the year of Waterloo, finished

in that of Peterloo, built on rents

and sugar, this – according to Pevsner –

‘modest’ Palladian mansion sits

on a slope, a belvedere. Mature trees

overhang the erstwhile stable block,

now a spa. The hotel is a venue

for weddings – featured in ‘Bride of the Year’ –

and funerary teas, like today’s in sun.


From the terrace, and over the ha-ha,

sheep graze in broad fields hedged with hawthorn,

pasture that stretches to sparse, managed woodland.

Beyond, as if added by some British

landscape artist – a Constable, Turner,

Wilson – there is an horizon of low hills

beneath a sky of indefinable blue.


We do not talk about the wealth of nations,

about the origins of money,

about enclosures or slavery.

This early evening, after the rites, as if

what we see were not a trick

of the eye, and what we know were not a sleight

of words, we are relaxed about dying.




© Copyright David Selzer
2 Responses
  • John Huddart
    May 28, 2021

    That we too could end up, calm and serene, beneath the midnight glow of all our yesterdays.

  • Alan Horne
    June 2, 2021

    I like the combination of reflections on politics and history with more existential stuff about the funeral, quite an unusual mix I think.

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