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All Posts By David Selzer

THE FALLACY OF WARNINGS

for Ashen Venema

 

Walking back to the house from the composter

one late afternoon in early autumn

I looked up, and stopped. There was a roseate,

mackerel sky moving from North East Wales

over the Cheshire Plain towards the Pennines,

and drifting above me. Whatever weather

it presaged, it was ordinarily

lovely, a mundane epiphany.

 

At the kitchen door I turned and there

was a raven on the paving where I had been,

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THE BLACK CARAVAN

The front page of Brexit Day’s Forgers’ Gazette

was a photo of the White Cliffs of Dover

with ‘A NEW DAWN FOR BRITAIN’ superimposed

on the blue sky above  – and the sun, by chance,

highlighting the erosion of the chalk,

ephemeral and flaky as metaphor.

 

***

 

After the war, when things were in short supply,

and we had drawing, occasionally,

I drew a layered landscape with wax crayons:

blue sky with bird and cloud,

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NEW YEAR, BUDAPEST

On one of the corners of St Stephen’s square

is a café, the California

Coffee Company, with cheery slogans,

in English, extolling the benefits

of the bean. A window seat gives a view,

across the square, of the west entrance

to the basilica of Szent Istvan,

its portico embossed in gold with

‘Ego Sum Veritas et Vita’.

 

Our backs to the basilica we walk

down Zyrini Street towards the Danube,

Buda rising high on its western slopes.

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INTERSECTIONS

There is a young woman with a wooden hoop

almost as big as herself – and a small dog

not much bigger than her head – who performs

circus tricks, where Terez Boulevard meets

Andrassy Avenue – named for an Empress

and a Count before old Europe fell apart.

As the three lanes idle at red and the dog

waits on the kerb the girl and the hoop

become an astrolabe, a gyroscope

within the interstices of traffic lights.

When she stills and bows to the varied windscreens

the dog leaps to her shoulder and together –

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THE VIEW FROM THE BASTION

With her new camera, a  Christmas present,

and with the intuitive surety,

at not quite nine, of how to make a picture,

she makes a sunlit panorama of Pest

from the Fisherman’s Bastion in Buda –

a Magyar edifice of walls and towers

built in the nineteen hundreds to celebrate

the permanence of the Habsburg Empire.

In a wall’s shadow she shows me the screen,

and what she has angled by chance. I note

the parliament building, the Great Synagogue,

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BÖLCS VAR: THE HOUSE OF WISDOM

Formerly Buda’s town hall, courthouse, prison

and school, newly refurbished throughout

and re-named The House of Wisdom, it is now

bookshop, café, bistro, conference centre

and an esoteric museum –

in an eclectic city of museums

ranging from Marzipan through to Murder.

The refurbishment finally repaired

all the damage done by stray Red Army

artillery shells, and uncovered stonework –

exhibited behind glass now – not seen

since the Ottoman Empire ruled Hungary.

 

Eschewing the conundrum of hailing a cab –

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