Phew. I’ve actually managed to submit some poems for the Faber New Poets competition. Feeling weirdly bereft now. My brain wants to analyse my choice of words, poems, now it’s too late to change them. Sometimes the mind is a bit twisted like that.
Part of the submission is on What the River Stole, with a sequence of poems on rivers we’ve paddled on. Here’s a little taster. It’s linked to the local floods in late 2013 / early 2014. It was a surreal time, watching the river rising on Christmas Eve, the supermarket car park flooded by several feet of water, unmoored rowboats jammed under the bridge.
Anyway, here it is:
What the River Stole – Medway
Today a door –
Latched to nothing but the weir
It dives and surfaces
Caught in the swirling waters
The slosh and gurgle of Flood.
A ball, a branch or ten,
Sometimes a whole tree
A field of turnips, judging by the quantity bobbing along
Gathering in the eddies, by drains
A Christmas dinner
a life? A Breath snared
and overwhelmed, a grasping
but finding only muddy banks
Cat-like the water torments it’s prey
Turning it over and over
Releasing it, only to pull it down again
Keeping the body
Keeping the stolen things
Until bored at last
The wrecks discharged to the edges
Recovery seems futile now
Soaked as they are with too much rain
Too much heartbreak.