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The old Hungerford bridge

The river in winter,

no sound, no breath,

except our own.

The streetlight whitens the garbage

frosting on the bank.

The smoking mists roll up.

Somewhere, a dog fox barks.


We five are rolled tight in our duvets

by the old Hungerford bridge.

Masher coughs and heaves a breath.

“Got to take a piss.” Blanket cape-like over his head,

he stands on the water edge.

He’s coughing. Dying, maybe.

An old man. Needs time to get the piss going.


Mags is snugged down on her stone ledge,

well out of the wind. She shifts and curses.

“Shut up. Drown, why don’t you,

                                                                    old piss tail?”


Masher, blue lipped, hunches down.

“Saw a thing coming up the river.”

“What you see, Mash? The angel of death?”

“Grim reaper come for you?”

“It’s only them black bags floating down river.”

              “Go to sleep, old man.”

He mutters and hawks into silence.


Our Mags stone dead in the morning.

Now to turn the evil, them who know go silent,

and still their curses whenever they cross near

                the old Hungerford bridge.

The old Hungerford Bridge: Text
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