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Tag Archives charity

SOMETHING LOST IN TRANSLATION

We are in the thronging, discordant food hall
at Euston Station, London, sipping
a latte and an americano from Caffé Ritazza,
taking the first bite of our Upper Crust bagettes –
mozzarella & tomato, pastrami & emmental –
while looking out for the disabled pigeon
that hops, scavenging, under the tables,
when we are approached, politely, gently,
by a bearded man with a shabby shoulder bag
from which he presents us with
an asymmetrically trimmed piece of paper
comprising a printed list, which appears
as if processed on an Amstrad PC:
‘I am a deaf mute.

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SEA AIRS

It’s good, at times, to have grown old, though not

to ‘wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled’

but to be allowed to sit upon a fold up

picnic chair beneath a beach umbrella

and read – something, as a stilted youth,

I would have paid for if I’d had the dosh.

 

Now, between paragraphs, I watch, across

a quarter of a mile of sand, the family

paddle and swim. Suddenly, behind me,

the Christian Beach Team strikes up,

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CHARITY

The gusts of wind, that fling the scattered rain

against the panes and flail the eucalyptus –

which jerks as if a frantic, shaken doll –

are lowing in the chimney like an owl.

I draw the curtains as the twilight goes,

switch on the laptop and begin to write,

thinking of those who are without – homeless,

hungry, thirsty – no more than a mile

let alone a continent away.

Though giving assuages, on stormy,

desperate nights,

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WAITING FOR THE BUS FARE

The bus, its doors still open, is about

to depart on schedule. A young mother,

with a toddler, is talking loudly

on her mobile in the bus shelter,

telling whoever it is that she lacks

the fare and will wait for whoever it is

to bring it however long it takes.

Should I offer to give her the fare?

How would she react? How it would look?

 

With a pneumatic sigh the doors close.

I turn.

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A DEFINITIVE HISTORY OF VENICE

DECLINE AND FALL

 

Once, there were no panhandlers in La

Serenissma. Now there are four beggars –

men from Dalmatia, the old colonies,

and a Roma woman with no past.

Near the Rialto, two alternate

on the same pitch: heads sunk, hands out, their stories

in English on cardboard. The third plays

an accordion near the Accademia,

his history on plywood at his feet.

Only the woman, dark-eyed, distressed, who sits

anonymous, huddled,

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VIRTUTIS FORTUNA COMES

Stepping Stones, Kettlewell © Sylvia Selzer 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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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,

share