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Poetry – Page 53 – David Selzer – page 53
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Garden, Hoole © SCES 2006



For more than half our lives, we have lived

in this enigmatic, anachronistic

Victorian villa – built to look like

a Georgian farmhouse – with ashlar blocks

at three corners, the fourth unfinished.

A Valentine’s Day removal, we ate

a takeaway in the kitchen with friends.

The wife is a widow now. Our daughter

has grown, gone and visits: her childhood

still blesses the rooms sun touches through the day’s

compass.

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REPRISE

Window, KwaZulu-Natal © SCES 2006



This is a declaration of love

on August the 6th, our anniversary.

Here is your essence: the pathos of ink

pristine on domesday parchment makes you cry –

“Ah, bless them!” you say – not only the sad,

the halt but the deluded and the unmasked.

Wisely, you leave me few pretensions.

On Hiroshima Day, I celebrate

our forty four years with ephemera:

images of figures in landscapes;

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SEASONAL GREETINGS

Door, Marrakech © SCES 2009



GUBBIO, WINTER 1992


Where the tourist buses turned, the Werhmacht

had murdered partisans – La Piazza

di Martiri Quaranti.  The cold from the hill –

old, old rock – rose from the cathedral’s floor

into our very soles. Outside, February seemed mild,

seasoned with wood smoke. We bought a hand thrown,

hand painted jar with an ill fitting lid.


Since then: earthquakes, marriages…



GUILDFORD,

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VIRTUTIS FORTUNA COMES

Stepping Stones, Kettlewell © SCES 2007


Lasting longer than the Thirty Years War,

than half our biblical shelf life, this marriage

has grown like coral – drops of the slain

Medusa’s blood – become, like Corallium

Nobile, a charm against fits, poison,

sorcery, whirlwind, lightning, fire, shipwreck!


From Norway’s fjords to the Cape Verde isles,

the Niger’s delta to the Orinoco’s,

reefs build, decline: the slow massing of

defunct algae,

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INTIMATIONS

Embrasure, Spinalonga © SCES 2003



This house is sentient, light with rapture,

replete with canny, familiar ghosts.


This house has been indifferent

to vicissitudes of human fortune:

train wreck and famine, siege and tsunami.


The grounds have diminished. From the residue,

you have made an L-shaped paradise:

rhododendron, camellia, nasturtium,

eucalyptus – a global gazetteer.


On some summer nights, the pomaded air

heavy still with heat,

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BEARINGS

They lie after loving in a shuttered room,

lit with an underwater vagueness,

replete with jasmine. They hear but

do not listen to the hoopoe calling

in the almond tree or the goats clinking

softly in the olive grove. They no longer

even hear the roar of the cicadas.

She lies in his arms. They sink into sleep,

lovers drowsing in a perfumed sea.


The spate plucks willows weeping from the banks

and careers them swirling, whether or not,

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PERSPECTIVES

From the long window on the half landing, I saw,

almost as soon  as you had filled the small bird feeders

under the pine and come inside, the big beasts land

to eat the scattered seeds – three wood pigeons, two turtle doves

and a solitary magpie –  then a cat appear, the birds scramble

and you again, shooing.

From where the hawk stoops, I heard the magpie’s

irrelevant chatterings, saw a tableau of live flesh;

saw our Victorian suburb from where the airplane flies –

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ARE WE NEARLY THERE?

The tide is at its ebb. Late sun quick-silvers

the narrowed estuary,  where river and sea

conflict and oyster catchers race upstream.

An ice cream van’s jingle jangle sounds

across the almost empty sands. ‘O sole

mio’… And you are suddenly there –

aged three – digging with purpose into the dusk.


Your daughter – that longed for, longed for joy –

already strives unprompted towards the sun,

scrabbling beyond the bounds of her play mat!

‘…n’aria serena doppo na tempesta!…’

How calm you are,

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THE DROWNED FIELD

The Duke owned both banks. The pleasure steamer,

stuttering, washed his clay into the current,

older than property. His oak woods moved

past us into dusk. We disembarked and

strolled between lascivious, attic blooms

to where, before the Great Hall, his Grace

had let the play be set. Like smoke on summers’

nights, the plot unwound down the lawn’s gentle slope.

The crossed, cross lovers mazed each other

but we knew how it all would end neatly –

the affluent young,

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ZELEZNIK’S THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE

Though there is no evidence that Busby

Berkeley was a descendant of Bishop

Berkeley (in spite of the Californian

connection),  who would deny that George

were the spiritual, or, rather,

philosophical ancestor of Bill.

Bishop George Berkeley, John Smibert, circa 1729

Busby Berkeley circa 1935

Hundreds of girls’ legs opening in unison

is a pure if anachronistic

example of the Irish Divine’s hypothesis.

And Busby was keen on fountains too!

Fountain Scene from 'Footlight Parade',

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