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All Posts By David Selzer


Low water now and the motley of crabbers

is crammed towards the end of the pier,

leaving space for a merry metaphor

of our times, Uncle Tacko’s Flea Circus,

with its innuendo and innocence,

its knowingness and charm, its vaudeville

of outrageous unnuanced half-truths,

its charivari of anachronisms.


The Bulkeley Hotel on the front (once

a private mansion of many rooms)

and the stone terrace of late Georgian

town houses in this holiday resort

speak of its erstwhile strategic value.



Along the path beside the forestry road,

through the plantation of pine and larch

planted as saplings to keep the dunes in check,

there is a first sighting of the island

with its mediaeval saint’s ruined chapel,

between the trees and across a sandy beach.


Out of sight is a pebbly strand exposed

except at the highest tides: an impromptu

causeway – for holiday makers now;

once, for lovers to the chapel with its

rumours of martyred blessings;



The harbour breakwater built from limestone blocks

was the longest that the Admiralty

had commissioned. How important Ireland seemed!


On the Country Park lake sown with lilies

an old man sails his battleship. The lake

was a man-made pond that served the brickworks,

built to make the harbour buildings that are dressed

in the limestone quarried from the crags

beside which visitors park their cars.


A grass path leads through heather and gorse

down to low cliffs above the pebble shore.



Beside the first angle in the zigzag steps

that descend steeply to the lighthouse –

where I have stopped to rest lungs and knees

and vow again this will be the last –

unique to this place on our planet

a fleawort is growing, its flowerheads

like miniature sun flowers. A red beaked chough

calls from the heathland above – pyrrhocorax,

pyrrhocorax. I can see Ireland from here –

the hills and mountains south of Dublin –



On the coast road across the straits the blue flash

of an ambulance appears, then disappears

behind a stand of trees and a barn.


The mainland late morning is so pellucid

one might almost count the dry stones in the walls

that mark the fields, climb past the sparse woods

and delineate the cropped moorlands

from the mountain tops. A cannon thud

starts the regatta of red sailed dinghies.

They scud and tack on the silvery straits,

their spinnakers burgeoning vainly.



Yesterday was New Year’s Eve and the fountain

was drained to prevent too much merriment.

So the bronze, nude young ladies disport themselves

in dry, cold air. The equestrian statue

of Maria Theresa, mother

of sixteen, and the last of the Holy

Roman Empresses appears unamused,

though whether by the municipality’s

actions or the girls’ appears unclear.

Last month’s heavy snow remains in small,

sheltered drifts behind occasional trees.

What was an Hungarian aristocrat’s

formal palace garden in the French style

has become –