THE DROWNING OF CHARLOTTE ANSELL

Updated: Jun 7

I didn’t know her long -

met her first in Chatham Library,

pleased to be paid as poets,

with ten minutes,

supporting John McCullough.


The next few months were nice:

saw her read once or twice,

drank coffee in Store 104,

Liked Tweets and Facebook posts

and, under a pale sun,

ate banana bread on her boat.


On the morning of Welcome to Cloisterham,

alone in the lake, she felt the draw

and knew she might not make the shore –

a distant line,

etched way beyond the swelling storm.


A drowned poet is a fine thing for a town to boast:

words weigh heavy under sod.


Chatham Waterstones,

still clinging to life,

would dedicate

a central table to her work.

Open mic nights would decide

whether respect was best served

with applause or

as a cold and silent plate.


But, no.

She kicked back against the drag:

fought Shelley’s plaintive siren song.

Felt grit of sand beneath her feet.

Wrapped dry towel around wet limbs.

Stood damply in the wind.


Later, at the festival,

lamenting loss,

the wind whipped the tent where writers read

(for a poet’s empty chair is prized).

But, Ansell didn’t give a shit.

Unphased by death’s near-icy grip,

she sat, certain in her solid flesh,

with still unwritten words

itching at her fingertips.



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