Caught by the River


16th March 2022

A poem by Daniel Bennett

We headed for mountains
after dark, a drunk plan
hatched in his apartment,
scrawled like graffiti
along the strip malls
carparks and empty lots, 
the sullen edges of the city.
I’m not sure I ever walked
so far during those days,
my idea of place stitched 
by car journeys themed 
by grunge soundtracks,
recidivist punk. That night 
we thirsted for geography 
the way, earlier, we had 
pumped Pabst Blue Riband,
the foothills at midnight
our glorious intoxication.
Slab rock, its muscular 
textures. The tilted angle
of landforms. Starlight
on tracks and hunt shacks.
Glitter of scree and frost.
We did not think of bears
or exposure. Only now do I ask 
what we were doing,
with one blanket to protect us 
from the blade of autumn
what had made us want 
to sleep a night in the wilds.
High on the adventure,
we talked of astronauts,
pioneers, never realising 
that the precipice ahead
was the edge of our childhood.


Daniel Bennett was born in Shropshire and lives in London. His poem ‘Clickbait’ was commended in the 2020 National Poetry Competition and his work has been published in a variety of places, including Wild Court, The Manchester Review, Structo, The Stinging Fly, Under The Radar, Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal, and The Best New British and Irish Poets 2017. His first collection ‘West South North, North South East’ was published in 2019. 

Visit Daniel’s website / follow him on Twitter