After West Midlands Poet Coach Brenda Read-Brown saw a guitar floating down the Thames during the Shake the Dust Weekend, she was challenged to write a piece about it. Here’s the brilliant poem she came up with!

I just saw a guitar floating down the Thames

You played that song for her,
And now you’ll never play again!
And she picked up his guitar,
And she flung it in the Thames.
Now it was drifting past me,
A sad and dirty swan,
With a neck held low in shame,
Playing only river songs.

We need a few more shots!
Please just lean backwards; rock and roll!
The guitar slipped away  for a soggy stroll;
An escape from Jack and Coke –
It never minded the odd toke,
But it was worried for its sanity,
And now it sought serenity:
The life of a slow boat;
And it was happy just to float.

You mean nothing but frustration!
I can’t play you – so damnation!
And he dropped it overboard,
With one last weed-infested chord
That sounded sweet as icy springs.
He had made the guitar sing,
But oh! Too late! The echo faded,
And the guitar – well, it couldn’t swim;
Couldn’t breaststroke back to him.
Aah! It gently weeps, he said,
But he had made the watery bed
In which it sailed; he’d failed;
And the guitar was laughing to be free,
No strings attached, and heading for the sea.

Your time has come, my sweetest friend.
Her tears soaked into varnish,
Yellow, wrinkled with old age.
Your score has reached its final page.
Sleep sound; let waters take you.
I can’t let any stranger break you.
With the tiniest of pushes,
She cast it from the shore,
The guitar that needed rest;
The guitar that she would play no more.

I just saw a guitar, acoustic,
Floating down the Thames,
Playing its lonely game of Poohsticks.
Why? Where from? I’ll never know
What tunes it hums as it sinks below,
In a damp diminuendo, after the Embankment’s bend.
I watch the mainstream take it to the bridge,
And silently applaud as its rippling music  ♪♪♪ ends.

Brenda Read-Brown