Shelley’s drowning

Issue FiveIssue Five PoetryPoetry

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By Duncan Richardson



they knew it was him

though the fish had scribed their own verses

on his skin

they knew it was him

from two sodden books

stuffed inside his pockets

Sophocles and Keats

bent to fit

grabbed for some blithe moment

though he knew the storm was coming

but he thought they could outrun it

racing night across the bay

in Don Juan.


When the bodies came to shore

someone buried them by the beach

but Shelley’s friends dug him up

for a pyre worthy of legend.


They knew it was him

from the women he left behind

all those words

blurred by tears


and small graves

his poems his life

in the hands of Mary

mother of a creature

who lives




Artwork by Kathryn Lamont.