Caught by the River

Risk: a poem by Martha Sprackland

Martha Sprackland | 1st November 2015

As you would catch a rolling bottle before it fell

As you might swerve the bike before a jutting root, and cycle on

As you pull a pan of onions from the heat just as they start to catch

or a spark springs the campfire, nestles into leaves and glows, and is stamped out

As you pull back from an overhanging edge or lift your feet before they touch the water

As you miss a flight that crashes on take-off. As you remember suncream this time

As you hesitate at a branching fork, and take the wider road or

As a running bath is shut off before the brim, or your clothes are got in in time before it rains

or you cut a conversation short just as it starts to rain and something is almost said

As one word is let pass, and the risk is felt, and held between two people

before you go inside and shut the window just as the sky begins to break

As you almost smash the bottle, set it back upright, and are from then on more careful

Martha Sprackland has previously won the Foyle Young Poet Award, and is Assistant Poetry Editor at Faber & Faber. She will be joining us at our Bush Hall event on 15 November. More information here