Two new poems from Robert Selby

As well as bringing the Days of Roses anthology on home, Rob’s been published in the TLS and the Guardian online, among many venerable places. I’m happy to say he’s emerged from the trauma of being forced by me to perform ‘Shadows On The Barley’ to a point where it was in danger of becoming his Creep, and the trials of regular visits to Selhurst Park, to produce a batch of wonderful new poems, including these two little smashers.

Old Albums

Old albums from undergrad days;
is there a sound more redundant and sad
on the ear? They belong to someone else,
a you in a lovesick phase
when you were soothed by indie fad,
music that professed the uniqueness
you felt your feelings had.

Were these really the soundtrack to your life,
strumming then soppy-sad by turn,
and you a missionary, fervent to impart
their eternal truths on near ears in strife,
believing that, by listening, we learn
life’s greater plan? Now they impart
only the embarrassment adolescence earns

when long gone. The case for the defence:
back then, every song felt new, each new
album a step towards atonement’s
horizon, where love in its innocence
would be redeemed, and what it put you through
had culmination; not consolatory moments
in music, but the girl, choosing you.

Of course, now you deride such a notion,
deem music no omnipresence but
a piece of art, like a film or book,
pulled out without devotion
in the evenings, if time allows; shut
and filed back on the shelf, it looks
to prove a past you’d otherwise rebut.

London Gin

London gin with blackcurrant and elderflower
tips into tumblers in the coalition summer.
Egg and cress sandwiches and prawn sandwiches
melt in their sunlit plastic box
that, upturned, collects the first drops of rain.
And we sweep up our basket and blanket
and head back to yours again.

Damp Dulwich. You are sat by the door in the dawn
not letting me escape, even if I wanted to.
I am closing down the week in my body
to let my body rise up again as new,
to join you by the door and distract you
from Michael Longley, or Edward Thomas,

bring you back to bed, my lost lover found,
to perform what Larkin called love’s commerce,
and from left and right
come together in the centre ground.

Visit Rob’s own site

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