Chevening

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    This is the real England, I say, so what do you think?
    It’s a place of trees; of apple, pear, cherry and plum.
    In the gaps is man’s history, his urge to link
    with others, forge commerce, lick a thumb
    to count the realm’s tender or sample harvest.
    The railway came, but the speed it gave the world
    entangled in this bracken and broomy darkness.
    Life here is at the pace a picnic blanket unfurls.
    Do you want to reset your watch to the toll of here?
    Our years would lengthen into a summer’s evening
    of wine on a lawn under bat-flight. Then we’ll disappear.
    All that’ll be left: two glasses filled with morning,
    your silk scarf over one of the two empty chairs;
    two lit candles in the church for us, if anyone cares.


    Robert Selby was highly commended in the Faber New Poets scheme of 2013/14 and his poems and reviews have appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, New Statesman, Oxford Poetry, and elsewhere. He undertook a PhD in Creative Writing (poetry) at Royal Holloway, University of London, under the supervison of Andrew Motion, and co-edited Mick Imlah: Selected Prose (Peter Lang, 2015).