ONE POEM – Jonathan Chadwick

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Photo by Ayotunde Oguntoyinbo on Unsplash


The last three nights, I dreamt I was a sail
Lifted, swept and thumped from here to there.
I hauled a mast which dragged a weary man
Aboard a wave which had long stopped listening
Aboard a wind who had never stopped to think.

The last three nights I guided him
hellojjh I guided the boat
hellohellohelnlhThe boat that was built to sink.

If I practice, I can see the helm turning,
Each oar a turbine ticking past midnight.
Or I can count the splinters in the planks
That briefly bind me to the waves.
They inch towards breaking but
My passenger doesn’t seem to mind.

He’s written something. He just finished.
If I let go, I know I can never read it.
If I let go, it will always be obscured from me.
I know it won’t be erased – it will exist somewhere
But behind the glassy wall the letters will grow darker.
If I let go, and let him sink,
hellohellI allow this
hellohellohellohI am complicit in this.

The wind tears down one of my arms
The salt spray stings at the loose ends.
You are not what you were, nor what you are
You are the choice you make right now.
hellohelBut I am not letting go.
hellohellohellheI am torn but I can tear yet.

I dreamt that the mast bent and creaked
I dreamt the knots that bound me broke
I dreamt that I saw the craft retreat
hellohellThe last three nights, I dreamt I was a sheet




Jonathan Chadwick is a writer and theatre-maker based in South Leeds. After graduating with BA English and Creative Writing from the University of Birmingham, he has been a part of many independent theatre productions in West Yorkshire including Leeds Pub Theatre and 2 iterations of Slung Low Shorts. Last year, in addition to showing his own work, he produced and directed Relatable, a showing of short plays by student writers at the University of Leeds.

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