Selma

On the other side of the river,
She sees me, smiles and waves.
She cups her hands.
She waves
She calls.

Standing on this side, I wave too, smiling back.
Though I can’t make out her face,
I know her. I know I know her.
Somebody once very close.
‘Selma is that you?’

Approaching me she becomes the water between life and death
But I can’t be sure who
Or which of us is alive.
Or dead.
Or unborn.

‘Selma is that you? Just give me your hand
No you won’t fall
You’re safe and now
the other one
Hold on tight with both hands

The camps have long gone, the soldiers have left
Fear is but the shadow of the past
Far shall we go and high
and nothing will pull us apart
Clear skies and hills overlooking the sea await us

And my guide took me by the hand
and led me
into a darkness that was not a darkness and
into a silence that was not a silence

And paused and said in a voice as quiet as running water

‘You have come from a country where truth
is so trammelled up in clever
elegant words
that only opacity is praised and prized
by the blind
And faithless fools

But if you will listen and open up
Your hands
I shall teach you about truth transparent and pure
as the wind and as impossible to pin down as light.

I listened and was kissed by the light.

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2 Replies to “Selma”

  1. Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful. I love your poems. Love them with a seamlessness – as if they are equally my voice…

    … and I was re-reading Selma’s poems very very recently.

    God bless you. Have a year full of health and happiness.

  2. I am glad the words relate to you as they do me. It was, sorry it is a dream that kept on appearing in the night. All my defences are gone, and then beauty in the timeless utterances of poetry. And I know then how sad it feels; to know what happened to Selma, helpless that nothing could have saved her, and finally that her legacy is a more humane understanding of beauty. Its a full circle.

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