Poetry: Claire Collison

Pharaoh's Island is on the River Thames, and was the site of a boating accident in 2011. Claire Collison wrote this poem after kayaking around the site last summer.

Pharaoh's Island

She puts in opposite the eyot,
where the common lawn slopes
down to the bank

on the slippery
decking of the private launch,
drops from plank to bench

through the willow’s fringe, keeps
close to the rushes and the dark tree roots
that drink from under the waterline.

She easily imagines the rest:
men and dogs and Waitrose bags;
keys and hellos flung into the hall, floating back,

the smell of blankets, kitchen drawers reluctant
with damp, bottle openers, little whisks, the guests,
the long and boozy lunch, the quick tide.

Claire Collison is a London-based writer, photographer and facilitator, who runs Writing The City workshops, and generally encourages flâneurs. Her first novel, Treading Water, was a finalist in the Dundee Book Prize. Her poetry and short stories have won various prizes. She is a member of the Outdoor Swimming Society.

Photograph of Pharaoh's Island by Chris Hill.