Almanac Poetry: Propinquity


Woman with wax tablets and stylus. Fresco from Pompeii, c. 55-79 AD.





Curled up dogs – plaster cast –
entwined lovers
wrought similarly;
pots and drinking vessels;
murals on the walls;
eternally-halted attitudes
of flight and passive acceptance
mark Pompeii’s inclusion
in the pages of history.
But the same Vesuvian fate befell
nearby Herculaneum,
Stabiae, Oplontis,
– Pompeii’s lesser known
little sisters-in-tragedy.



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Kevin Densley is a poet and writer-in-general. His fourth book-length poetry collection, Sacredly Profane, was published in late 2020 by Ginninderra Press. He is also the co-author of ten play collections for young people, as well as a multi Green Room Award nominated play, Last Chance Gas, which was published by Currency Press. Other writing includes screenplays for educational films.


  1. DBalassone says

    Nice poem Kevin. I’ve always been fascinated by the excavations and was lucky to be there in 1999. And you’re right: Pompeii gets all the press and many are unaware of those lesser known towns nearby that the mighty Vesuvius also claimed.

  2. Kevin Densley says

    Thanks, DB. Like you, I’m fascinated by the archaeological work concerning Pompeii and the nearby areas that also suffered because of the 79 AD Vesuvius eruption. I’m also interested in a general way in those aspects of history that are for various reasons not emphasised.

  3. Caecilius est iratus!!

    Can you imagine the terror!

  4. Kevin Densley says

    I can just imagine the terror, Dips.

    That’s why I chose a charming, gentle piece of Pompeii artwork to accompany my poem, as a kind of counterpoint to the apocalyptic scenes of the actual event.

  5. Grand word. Grand sentiments. Grand song.
    Mike Nesmith – Propinquity “I’ve known you for a long time, but I’ve just begun to care”.

  6. Kevin Densley says

    Yes, PB, propinquity is a fine word, with its connotations of nearness/closeness, that kind of thing.

    And yes, I was aware of the Nesmith song, too; in fact, it may it may have been the means – a long time back – by which I got to know the word itself.

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