Suicide on Pentwyn Bridge Gillian Clarke

Suicide on Pentwyn BridgeGillian Clarke(from Selected Poems, Carcanet 1985

ISBN 0-85635-594-1)

I didn’t know him,

the man who jumped from the bridge.

But I saw the parabola

of long-drawn-out falling in the brown


eyes of his wife week after week

at the supermarket cash-out.

We would quietly ask “How is he?”

hear of the hospital’s white


care, the corridors between her

and the broken man in the bed,

and the doctors who had no words,

no common supermarket women’s talk.


Only after the funeral

I knew how he’d risen, wild

from his chair and told her

he was going out to die.


Very slowly from the first leap

he fell through winter, through the cold

of Christmas, wifely silences,

the blue scare of ambulance,


from his grave on the motorway

to the hospital, two bridges down.

A season later in a slow cortège

he has reached the ground.



this was the poem I (tried to) memorise, the final 2 lines always defeated me, i have no idea why!


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