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Robert Selby
----> work
Lady Thatcher
Splendour
Dear Ralph Crozier
The Winter Wood
----> selected work
This poem appeared in the Times Literary Supplement
No.5495, July 25 2008, and the anthology
Days of Roses
(2011)


How easily people forget things,
The winter wood displays.
Hanging in tangles limp from brambles
Are scarves that were gifts on Christmas day,
And gloves adorn waymarkers and fences
Like cairns, or the butcher-bird's prey.
Now and then, a neatly folded Barbour
Or pair of hiking boots, as if a rambler,

Wishing to ramble no more, drowned himself
In the river down by the cattle byre;
Had to wait until a full day and night
Of rain, until it could swell no higher;
Thrust field guide in tweed one last time,
Hung binoculars from wind-bent brier,
And swanned in between dripping pine
Up to his deer-stalker - the only sign

A man gulped hard in there, ending things
As easily as people forget things. Frost
Stiffens body and bower just the same,
And all the walkers' accessories lost
From their selves soften in squally rain;
Decay, forming a rag-and-bone copse
Whose knitted limbs of knotted fabric
Stand as testament to the losing habit.

[ The Winter Wood ]