THE DROWNING OF CHARLOTTE ANSELL
Updated: Jun 7, 2022
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.
still clinging to life,
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.
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,
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.