In the stretch from here to where the river bends
around the meadows, there have been drownings –
crowded pleasure boats upturned, youths,
desperate with raucous bravado,
jumping from the suspension foot bridge.
The river, which is a whorl and tension
of conflicting, muddied undertows,
seems linear today, almost emollient.
A children’s cancer charity has fastened
awareness-raising memento mori
to the wrought iron railings of the bridge.
The cards and photographs – obscuring
the occasional lovers’ padlock – are tied
together, and to the rails, carefully,
almost gaily, with golden ribbon.
The charity promotes research. The bridge’s
wooden walkway registers each human step,
shifts with each tread, beating like a slow heart.
One card begins, ‘If love could have saved you…’
We dare not imagine such loss, such
unendurable humility, such
self-effacing courage.Chesterchildren's cancer charitylovers' padlocksriver Deesuspension foot bridge