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‘The Drowners’

They will step
into you –
first a toe, then
the ball of a foot.
Some will come clothed,
though most will leave
something behind –
a tell-tale coat,
a pair of shoes.
They will make it
seem easy, as if
they are stepping
into nightfall –
not even you,
nor the eye of a god,
will be able to stop them.
All you can do is slip
momentarily aside,
witness the last
bubbles of breath,
and then
they are yours.
You may wonder
what panacea they think
you possess –
but you’ll be out
of your depth.
All you can do
is offer up your home,
knowing that even if
the world tipped
sideways –
words would not spill
from your mouth.



‘It’s difficult to imagine the mindset of someone who deliberately chooses annihilation through drowning. The poem attempts instead to inhabit something that has no control over that aspect of human behaviour. The voice seems to be that of a benevolent godlike figure handing down wisdom, or it could be the actual voice of a lake, a pool, or an ocean. On another level the poem could be seen as an allegory about attraction, falling in love, the danger of losing one’s identity to another.’

‘The Drowners’ was written during Helen Mort’s Poetry and the Brain course and was inspired by the ‘Extended Mind Hypothesis’ which suggests that it is arbitrary and limiting to confine our notion of mind to something contained within the human body.


  • Brigid Sivill

    I loved this poem Maggie – although love seems the wrong way of saying it. The way these things do ‘take over’ how much it all hurts and how to be able to express it all – very moving and thought provoking. I’m doing Claire Trevien’s on-line workshops about the sea – can’t wait for them to start. I’ve followed your amazing progress – so glad that you are doing so well – miss seeing you though. We had some good workshops at Le Moulin this year.

  • Vasiliki Albedo

    Great to see this again. Such a mesmerising read.

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