Carolyn Waudby


She has trusted it to me –
this chemise still warm from the night, her tryst.
It is as though she has lifted a layer.
If I wash it, the Lord and her husband will not see.
I have a root gentle for a job such as this,
will palm its oil over her trouble.
How the linen clings!  So fine I can spy
the world through its weave.
Desperate, it dies – heavy on the stone.
But the dirt will rise. The water will open
its jaw, swallow it,
and close again like the grave.
The river will remember how I dipped her,
left her secret in its depths.

I’m a poet and a journalist. I also blog about cafes where I spend a lot of time reading, writing and consuming cake. I’m currently working on a collaborative project with artist Michael Hutchinson called Dark River, inspired by the River Don. The above poem is one of the river poems which will form an exhibition with Mike’s monoprints at Kelham Island Museum for Off The Shelf. Cafes from Cornwall to Turkey can be visited at


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