Tuesday, November 11, 2014



Published by SPM Publications

in association with Excel for Charity in aid of The Psychiatry Research Trust

bridgewatcher front cove rweb




Penny Shutt


I don't ask you to unbutton the sleeves

of your smart work shirt

to show me the cuts

because I believe you.


You tell me you typed 'suicide'

into Google again last night,

tell me about the website that came up

and I nod as though I don't know exactly

which one you mean.


I know it wasn't methods that work

you sought

but the solace of those voices

clamouring across the pages

for help amongst the helpless.


On the way into work, my train flies past

the bridge I know you go to.

In the morning glow, a crow perched on the railing,

it doesn't hold the same poignant splendour

I know it holds for you

at four a.m after the wine, the cider, the gin.


I know when you're up there

there's a certainty to the smooth flat concrete

below. That just grasping the cool steel

of the railing, toying

with that quivering possibility

is all the release that cutting

no longer gives.


I'm meant to be the one who manages this risk

but I don't

because I know that's not why you go there.

Instead, I up your antidepressants

so it looks like I did something.


As I write the prescription,

you recall a time when you were little,

the judder of the car across the Forth Road Bridge

the sparkle of South Queensferry

across the still black water

and the sudden horror

of seeing a man let go and drop

into the unglimmering depths,

flashing blue lights arriving seconds too late.


'Sometimes people just don't want to live anymore'

your dad tried to explain from the front

but he was driving, hadn't seen

what you had;

the sickening courage

of that hand

letting go of the rail.

© Penny Shutt

Where to buy Bridgewatcher & Other Poems

SPM Publications

Also available at Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and all other amazon channels.