Robert Selby - Portrait
Robert Selby
Sample of Work
This poem appeared in the Times Literary Supplement
No.5433, May 18 2007

By the side door her van is parked
and bales lie side-by-side in the lane.
Was she here whilst I was showering,
lining yelm with her muff ligger?
Is it a good idea to call up
while she busies with her withy rod?

At elevenses, she comes down
for a builder's tea and a sandwich.
She stands against the ladder
scratching her gnat-bitten back,
stretching knees sore from the biddle,
braces unshouldered round her waist.

Seeing me in the window she waves.
I wave back, pretend to be busy.
Maybe she'll catch her forefinger
with the spragger and need me
to carry out first aid, play doctor.
But she's done this hundreds of times.

Her fulfilment is no empty cliche
about A Woman In A Man's World.
It's something I inhabit, a warm dry
that keeps me snug in the backroom
when I'm at my desk quoting a line
by Mao: Women hold up half the sky.

[Lady Thatcher]


My debut collection, The Coming-Down Time, was published by Shoestring Press in June 2020. A website for the book - including recordings of me reading poems from it and links to where to buy - can be found at

The collection has been reviewed by Agenda, Ambit, Caught by the River, The Friday Poem, The High Window, the Los Angeles Review of Books, London Grip, Magma, The Manchester Review, PN Review, Poetry London, Review 31, The Scores, and Under the Radar.

Really enjoyed reading at Ledbury Poetry Festival, Hastings Bookshop Poetry Festival and Poetry in Aldeburgh in 2021. I'm next reading on 19th February at Faversham Literary Festival's poetry hub. Details here.

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