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PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST

The hardback quarto exercise book opens
at ‘Funny Valentine’, an unfinished,
blank verse piece – full of Auden, Larkin, Yeats –
in thick-nib fountain pen on feint ruled lines.
Four decades old and more – and pristine:
‘Today, at best, brings scented, satin hearts,
Numb messengers of somebody’s desires…’

I can see the back room in the shared flat:
sagging bed, faded armchair, torn carpet,
wobbly table; I’d brought a large ashtray,
a glass fronted bookcase and a small, handmade
Chinese cabinet; a tv blared upstairs.
Through the sash window stuck fast with paint
was the littered garden –

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THE OUTING

Each Armistice Day, she remembered it.
A walk along the riverbank. Her teacher took them –
one Saturday when the hawthorn was out
and the river slow after weeks of sun –
her and three of the other older girls.
Miss Davies’ young man came too –
in his uniform, on leave from the front.

When they all rested in the shade of a willow,
he unwrapped a large bar of chocolate
slowly, looking away, or pretending to,
across the river.  Suddenly he turned.
‘Voila!’, he said, holding it out to them.

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HERRINGS © David Selzer 2005

HERRINGS  is a very short stage play. There are three characters: H. Griffiths, M. Bogush and Voice Off. H. Griffiths speaks first:

I am H. Griffiths, the celebrated writer of novels of romantic, unrequited love. What you are about to see took place in the bridal suite of a 5 star hotel on Sunset Boulevard. It was during the afternoon of July 21st 1969 – the day mankind first walked on the moon.

You can download this stage play as a .pdf

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