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All Posts By David Selzer


The purple, jagged rocks on the island’s shore

were molten lava from volcanoes –

mere craters for aeons now – across the straits,

and limestone boulders in the hinterland

the slow detritus of the last ice age.


RAF Typhoons have flown from their air base,

ten miles or so from here, every day,

leaving the island with their stormy thunder,

over the mountainous Llyn Peninsula

out into the north east Atlantic,

as if it were quite another sea.



At the end of a dull August afternoon,

two little girls, sisters perhaps, in hijabs,

and a stocky boy of ten or so,

and two women, probably their mother

and grandmother, dressed in woollen hijabs

and abayas, are preparing to picnic.

They lay out a tartan rug, and Tesco bags,

on that part of the Green closed to vehicles:

between the low stone wall – beyond which

is the narrow walk along the sea wall,

and occasional notices of bye laws

strictly prohibiting the feeding of gulls –



Caernavon Bay is below, and to the west

the Irish Sea. The restive winds and waves

are lulled now to a breath, to a swell.

In the distance the London-Holyhead train

crosses the causeway. A multi-decked ferry

from Dublin is entering the harbour.


After the Druids hid, and the Romans left,

there came a multitude of saints, mostly

martyrs, not infrequently princesses,

renowned in death for healing the heart’s anguish.

St Gwenfaen – ‘Blessed White Rock’ –



As usual Uncle Tacko is trundling

his Flea Circus to the end of the pier,

and the Island Princess is embarking

for a trip up the Straits and around

Ynys Seiriol with its nesting puffins,

its elderberry woodland purpling.

And the dogged chambers of my heart, open

and close, open, close, like an harmonium.


All the familiar sounds – the Flea Circus crowd,

the paddlers in the pool, the revellers

on the hotel lawn next door –



For Annabel Honor-Lissi


In those stark dreams when sleep shades into waking,

dreams that haunt the light like a taste in the mouth,

or a name half-remembered, half-forgotten,

I am always travelling – this dawn

along the black tops and the turnpikes,

from the Texas Panhandle north east

to Casco Bay, Maine. Ahead is the thought

of moments, or a non-stop two day drive:

from the sun-belt’s stubborn, garish pandemic;

via the fame of Dallas,



I listened to Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman.

I liked the keys’ silver superstructure,

and the ebony stick with its subtle bell,

and its tones – mellow, lustrous, shrill, caressing.

So, to and from school, I chose to pass

a second-hand shop with a clarinet

on display in its eclectic window.

I saved for a year. ‘No,’ said the man. Next day

it was gone from the display forever.


My daughter took up the instrument

unprompted. Her daughter has followed.