Caught by the River

Hurricane – a poem by Will Burns

Will Burns | 4th August 2016

The tops of the palm trees
(invasive) had been cropped
by a coalition of the local
woodpeckers and weather.
They say the season
is getting longer each year.
We saw seven black seabirds
(unmistakeable, very large, tail-shape diagnostic),
effortless in the wind
and throwing shadows
across us on the beach.
I saw a man who had lost
both legs and half of one arm
sink out into the sea to swim.
I stood in the doorway, quiet,
and waited for you to dress,
to put on make-up and jewellery.
When we ate, I drank
bottles of imported beer
from Europe, almost as strong as wine.
I was dead tired too early-
by ten each night, every night.


Will Burns will read in the Faber Poetry Chapel, which has he has co-curated alongside Martha Sprackland, over both days of Caught by the River Thames – which takes place this weekend at London’s Fulham Palace.