Sunday Poem-Holly Hopkins

Here is your delayed Sunday poem fix folks. This week the poem is by Holly Hopkins, and it is one of my favourite poems of hers.  I love the description of the ducks and the ‘What excellent thrift’ verse.  And then the mysterious ending..

Holly is a young writer based in London.  Last year she was awarded an Eric Gregory and this year she has gone and got herself a coveted place on the Creative Writing MA at Royal Holloway.  She has been published in various places, including Magma and Poetry Review, and is one of the most intelligent people I know.  I think she is already someone you should keep an eye out for…

To find out more info about Holly, check out her blog at where you’ll find more poems! Go and say hi! Introduce yourself!

‘Duck’ was first published in The North No.47.  More information about The North can be found at



You teach children how to give.
They tear bread into damp figured lumps
for you to shovel up in your snorkeling gear.

What excellent thrift
to make your feet from old umbrellas
and to colour yourself with muesli!

To eat the river’s beard
where it sprouts between the cold washed scales
and to clean your own pond as you swim,
trailing a black ribbon through the glazed weed.

But though you can drag yourself up
and pass through the sky like a windscreen wiper,
and your voice is loud enough to fill in the river,
you cannot stop the treading.

The banks grow lush with shame
as they stamp out the fire on your tail.

By Holly Hopkins

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