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Two Poems by Selina Whiteley

The Resilience of Lithe Lemon Trees


In proverbial perfection,

my mind is elsewhere,

on the resilience

of lithe lemon trees,


no yellower than the grass

at the paths end,

and on the green fruit,

not yet ripe

to tomorrow’s bitterness


And when I see the wild cacti,

between pampas grasses,

and cascades of land-slid rock,

I think of you.

and the poems I wrote for you.


And of how oportunia pears,

jut out on mauve skies

like harsh words,

or the secrets of a wild cacti,

fecund with fruit.




Stargazing in Venice


I remember the knotwork

of ten million stitches on a loom

in a crowded, musty room in Venice.

A place you never visited.


I wish my cranial nerves

would form a perfect tapestry

not this tangled mess of rich pastels,

Aurora Borealis of beautiful tragedy.


White porcelain masks might be pages

painted with words and my pen

would glide to make luscious canals,

calligraphies of carnival ribbons,


With needle and thread, I could resew

the torn tapestry of stars and time,

emotions, immutable as a billion nebulae,

In those widening estuaries,


there have always been friends. whose sentences

are lightyears that bridged an abyss of darkness.

And your voice might have been a crescendo

in gathering stardust against the string quartet of time.




Selina Whiteley is a human rights activist and feminist from a family of colour. She has poems widely published in two books, “Up to Our Necks in It” and “the Kaleidoscope Chronicles” as well as in several magazines, most recently, Literary Veganism. She has a poem forthcoming in The Lake.

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