Caught by the River


6th March 2022

A poem by Daniel Bennett

Here I learned to thrive
full as cow parsley, ripe
as roadkill bursting sweetly
in teeming hedgerows. 
These were the places 
I first alighted into the world,
on trips to the crossroads
and beyond, the garage shop
already slumped into lichen
and ivy, where I would buy
bars of chocolate and return 
along the same wild edges,
where belladonna beaded
and brambles yawned whitely.
Later, a boy racer zipped
through the late eighties
collecting licence points
and stragglers from Saturday jobs 
and I was amongst them, 
walking to a redbrick hotel 
to burn rubbish and mulch
and return through rape flowers
the back route through beet
and carrot fields, a stream
spreading its coppery fingers.
Hitching time, snagging
experiences, I wandered
more than travelled, I never
learned to drive, although
found myself, frequently
at the roadside, as some
cheap jalopy crumbled 
into corrosion and brake fluid.
Battered by the tide of traffic, 
I tasted the bittersweet foraged 
at the edges, off the map,
along with bluebells, dragons,
the inevitable presence 
of a bleached out tennis ball.


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