Above whitewashed, tabby-haunted Kamari,
I wearied of the incessant inversions
in Pope’s Homer, and left my self-improvement’s
cooling terrace to the night, now drawing in
here too, across May sycamores and beeches
my holidayed eyes devour. Home taught me
nothing of heat, nor the muscular gods
who, through heat’s haze, I climbed the Propylaea
and felt among. My schooling was Brutalist,
its floors linoleum, waxed to an ethos,
and the gods were God, who was also England,
which was also Jerusalem, which we stood
and sang to, enjoying it, feigning not to.
In prefabs tight as boats, we were misled,
asked to decipher heroes of mud – Owen,
Sassoon – while elsewhere, oversubscribed beyond
cricket fields, dynamic lessons engaged
privileged youth in the Classics they, as slick
adults, charm us with their references to.
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).