One Poem by Dominic James

Beside the river

The evening’s air in summer, warm
by moorings of the pleasure craft
gently knocking, hull on hull,
when I encountered Joan

in Kingston, on the esplanade –
soft ripples tap the wharf’s ledge
dark by cherry trees, where bats abide,
where the smaller boats tailed off –

Joan, settling her last account
as wife and mother, a crab’s claw
diagnosis pressing thought
on currents of departure;

resigning to the water there
her husband, son and daughter,
balancing a husband’s loss;
that of her growing children.

One of the parents’ school run crowd,
Scots, likeable, reserved that night
(I hadn’t known) albeit more
approachable in her quiet, calm;

we said a short hello. When I glimpse
the end of life, what the parting is,
I think of Joan at one step back
within the river’s shade.


Dominic James lives near Stroud in the Cotswolds and has been writing poetry for the last is it really 10 years. He visits Open Mic nights up and down the Thames Valley and his collection, Pilgrim Station was published in 2016 by SPM Publications. His blog needs feeding at:

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