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All Posts By David Selzer

TO SEE A WORLD

For Pat Rogerson

 

‘To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower…’

AUGURIES OF INNOCENCE, William Blake

 

From sixteen hundred miles away a friend,

on the southern most edge of Iberia,

with the Maghreb below the horizon,

and all of the South Atlantic beyond,

sends me a photograph of low dunes,

a cobalt sky, and flaxen sands that stretch

almost out of sight – and texts me to say

she imagines the poem I might write there.

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UNDER THE PLUM TREE

Under the plum tree, in the sun, an old man,

reads the last paragraphs of ‘Wuthering Heights’.

‘My walk home was lengthened by a diversion

in the direction of the kirk. When beneath

its walls, I perceived decay had made progress,

even in seven months: many a window

showed black gaps deprived of glass; and slates

jutted off here and there, beyond the right line

of the roof, to be gradually worked off

in coming autumn storms.’ From one of the branches

of the tree metal feeders hang with seeds.

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HOME TIME

The ditches along Duttons Lane have been full

much of March – because February-fill-dyke

was mostly dry, almost Spring for days.

The glinting water is dark as black tea,

brown as bitter beer. Along Acres Lane

the hawthorn hedgerows are beginning to green.

 

We park as near the school as we can.

The leafy lane is overflowing with song.

As we walk through the green security gates

a westerly wind brings the roars of lions

from the zoo nearby.

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LAMENT FOR THE FOURTH ESTATE

Once Parliament was in recess – both Houses

of Hypocrisy on their long summer hols –

in the basement of an office block near

King’s Cross (where you catch the Hogwarts Express)

one Saturday morning in July,

three journalists, watched by two technicians

from GCHQ, spent three hours to save

the Government’s face, and The Guardian’s,

by destroying hard drives with drills and grinders,

circuit boards whose data – from the exiled

whistleblower Edward Snowden – was

replicated throughout the Americas.

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GLOBALISATION

The summer LA hosted the Olympics –

the year the UK miner’s strike began,

and comrades became enemies, and things sure

fell irredeemably apart – we went

on a four day tour of mostly ancient Greece:

Corinth Canal; the amphitheatre

at Epidaurus; Nafplio’s converted

mosque; the Lion Gate at Mycenae;

Olympia’s temples; Delphi’s omphalos.

 

Swallows had made their mud nests in the eaves

of the three concrete hotels we stayed at,

the birds’ tender flights twittering omens

for travellers who were,

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PASTORALE

From the west front of this Restoration house –

built a century before the demand

for coal brought, in hearing of the brocaded

drawing room, the daily clank and hiss

of the pit head winding gear and the pumps

keeping the seams dry, and, in direct

line of sight of the spacious steps, the slagheap’s

incremental growth on land previously

considered worthless so not purchased –

was a view, across the shallow valley

and extensive pasture land, of benign hills.

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