Almanac Life: Vale – R.J.W. Selleck


A tower constructed of intellect,

Humility is the foundation.

A fierce desire to endure,

At once unwavering and tender.


Conviction in his stride.

But a gentle man,

And a gentleman they said.



An athlete with strength and touch,

Who caught the eye of John Kennedy.

Football, tennis, cricket.

He played with just vigor and skill.


“You look like a man who needs ice cream”

He would joke with me as a boy.

Vanilla with chocolate topping,

Cradled in a bowl made of care.


He lived with his books.

And his books loved him.

A boundless concentration.

Art flowed from his pen.


We bid him farewell yesterday,

Cousins stooping beneath dripping umbrellas.

Rejoice! Say some Asian cultures.

For water brings new life.


Vale RJW Selleck.

A giant.

A teacher.

My uncle.




More from Dips O’Donnell Here



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About Damian O'Donnell

I'm passionate about breathing. And you should always chase your passions. If I read one more thing about what defines leadership I think I'll go crazy. Go Cats.


  1. Dips, condolences to you and your broader family.

    In yet another ridiculous Selleck-O’Donnell-Harms coincidence, I first encountered RJW’s work in 1985 when I was writing a uni assignment for Dip Ed. I was doing a history of Australian education unit and RJW had a book out about a key Victorian educator, Frank Tate, which I (half) read.

    I then met Mike Selleck in 1992 and, initially, did not make the connection with RJW until it came up one day – probably at the pub (Royal Exchange, Toowong).

    I only met RJW a few times, but the man I got to know is very much the man you describe in your poem to him.

  2. Amazing JTH.. the twists and turns.

    We laughed at the funeral as the prayer booklet had a minor grammatical error in it which would never have got through editing if Richard were alive!

    I’ll miss his presence.

  3. Thanks for sharing Dips. We stand on the shoulders of giants (if we’re lucky).

  4. Spot on PB.

    I’m very lucky.

  5. Superb Dips sounds like a life v well lived

  6. Beautiful, Dips.
    Well played, RJW Selleck.

  7. roger lowrey says

    Marvellous poetry that. Well played Dips.


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