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David Selzer – Page 87 – Writer of Poetry, Screen Plays, Stage Plays & Fiction – page 87
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GOOD HOPE

Pegram's Point, Cape Province, SA

Pegram's Point, Cape Province, SA © Sylvia Selzer 2009

At her back, the South Atlantic’s rolling seas,

those ice blue waters, break, skittering

on the silver sands. Burgeoning with child,

she smiles for the camera, as always

optimistically. Mussels encrust the rock

she leans on, kelp bobs like seals on the foam

and Southern Right Whales blow almost out of sight.

Due west, across the unbroken miles,

is Buenos Aires and the teeming hectares

of the Americas.

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LOOKING FOR PUFFINS: SOUTH STACK REVISITED – POEM FOR OUR DAUGHTER

South Stack, Ynys Môn, ©Sylvia Selzer 2009

 

Of course, by the time it’s my turn at the ’scope

the bugger’s turned its back. ‘It is a puffin,’

reassures the RSPB girl – and,

since she’s pretty and young, I believe

that what I see is not one of the teeming,

noisy, noisome, nesting guillemots,

razorbills or gulls. A hat trick: ageism,

sexism, anthropomorphism – plus

being churlish as a bear rather than

valiant as a lion.

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AT MYCENAE 1984

Behind the lintel of the Lion Gate,

swallows had built their nest. Two Mirage jets,

burning Nato dollars, buzzed the valley.

A sweatstained, overweight American

squatted in the shade of the ashlar ramparts,

fanning himself with a bush hat. “Hey, which

pile of stones is this?” A veteran’s pension

kept him in exile. His mom and dad

had once stood arm-in-arm with that eager,

cropped marine recruit, who was altogether now

someone else. Thanksgiving and each birthday,

he would call collect.

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A BIT OF A SHAMBLES

Before Churchill took the railings, evacuees

from Liverpool were lined up by the park

one September Sunday afternoon.

Local residents queued to take their pick.

Innocent days! My widowed Granny

and two spinster aunties – ex-Scousers

(though Toxteth Park not Scottie Road),

the sisters Great War collateral damage –

lined up to do their duty. They couldn’t cope.

The one they chose used the ‘f word’

and wet the bed. They gave her back

– and mentioned her,

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THE EMBRACE OF NOTHING

Chester, View from a Balloon, John McGahey, 1855

i

Rome’s legionnaires quarried its sandstone cliffs

and Ptolemy put the Dee on the map.

William the Conqueror, in winter,

force-marched his army over the Pennines

to reach the river and waste the town – the last

to submit.  For eighteen years, Prince Gryfyd

ap Cynan, shut in the keep, heard only

the river’s voice, dyfrdwy, dyfrdwy.

Parliament’s forces sent fire rafts downstream

to purge besieged citizens.

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THE SPIDER AT OUR DOOR

All summer a spider, mottled like a cheetah, 

managed a web by our kitchen door.

 

Tap the net

and it would do its eight shoe scuttle. 

 

It went finally:

but the engineering survived –

intricate, pliable, foolproof –

through seasons of drizzle and bluster.

 

On an April day, a pallid sun

backlit trapped raindrops,

shimmering prisms.

We paused on the step, delighted.

 

The power of things to strive to be themselves

is absolutely self-regarding,

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