Sign up with your email address to be the first to know about new products, VIP offers, blog features & more.

All Posts By David Selzer

THE FIVE GIANTS

Walking down Renshaw Street from ‘Rumpelstiltskin’

at the Unity then along Bold Street,

with its strolling crowds and varied eateries,

to Central Station, thinking of spinning gold

from straw, we pass beggars in doorways.

‘What are they doing?’ our granddaughter asks.

We explain. ‘Why don’t they get jobs?’ We explain.

 

My mother would tell me how, when she moved

to London before the war to be a nurse,

she was appalled by the rough sleepers

on the benches along the Thames Embankment.

share

WINTERING

Pink-footed geese are wintering on the marshes

west of here – flocks from Spitzbergen, Iceland,

Greenland. This late October morning

the garden is full of noises: the trimming

and shaping of hedges, bushes, trees,

the blowing and gathering of leaves –

and high cries as a skein flies eastwards

to feed on wheat stalks in the stubble fields.

 

The afternoon is disturbed by sirens –

not fire or police or ambulance.

There have been explosions somewhere north

we are informed –

share

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS

i.m. John Wareham

 

The tide of chance may bring
Its offer; but nought avails it!

THE OPPORTUNITY Thomas Hardy

 

Each week on Tuesday promptly at seven –

chicken curry and chips from Barry Wong’s

on West Derby Road at the ready –

he and I would turn on the TV

in our rented rooms to watch Hughie Greene’s

‘Opportunity Knocks’.  It was an hour –

including adverts – of metaphors

of the mid-sixties: kitsch;

share

THE POET’S EYE

Maya Angelou would pronounce ‘poetry’

with each syllable given equal, gentle

weight, and the first two clear as a call, a soft

sonorousness as if water spoke.

 

***

 

There are few words in the English lexicon

with so many, diverse, Attic meanings

as ‘poet’: maker, inventor, composer,

speech writer, legislator, author:

images of workshops, and lecterns;

chambers with high ceilings and long windows;

the law’s austere and tempered modalities;

stanzas memorised then taught by rote;

share

THE GRAIN LOFT

There are gaps between the Velux windows

and the blinds – intentional, of course,

to let in shafts of sunlight. At night

the sodium street lights make arrow shapes

on the bedroom’s walls. Raindrops the flood tide brings

slide like orangey, silvery glitter balls –

almost the colour of the wheat grains

that would have been piled on tarpaulins to dry

on the oak floorboards of this converted loft.

 

Thinking the street lights daylight herring gulls

halloo all night from chimney tops and gables.

share

ARS POETICA

For Keith Johnson

 

‘Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits.’ Carl Sandburg

 

I presume, since Carl Sandburg was a poet

of the railroad and the five-and-dime,

of prairie skies and the remarkableness

of the people, they are American

biscuits – that cross between scone and bannock –

to mop up the gravy from your beans

on the Chisholm Trail to Dodge City.

 

According to Homer, among others,

Hyakinthos,

share