Postcards from Malthusia DAY FIFTY-FIVE: Katharine Towers

The Winter Who is Coming

An improvisation on Jules Laforgue’s ‘L’hiver qui vient’


There is nightfall and rainfall and there is the wind.

There are the soaking wet park benches and the rusty leaves.

There is the last ever Sunday which has been spoiled.

There are the cobwebs sagging under the weight of the rain.

There is yellow broom and the sun like white spit.

There is a hunting horn like a torn-out gland or a memento mori.

There is no one to take Little Red Riding Hood into the woods.

There is no one to make stretchers out of leaves for the faraway soldiers.


There is the hunting horn shivering on the ground like a memory.

There are the echoes going round and round under the chestnut trees. 

There are the school dormitories where children cough.

There are the children dreaming of infusions and homemade remedies.

There is an old piano harbouring news of an epidemic.

There is a quaint little planet spinning in the lamplight.  




Katharine Towers’ second collection The Remedies (Picador, 2016) was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize.  In 2019 HappenStance published her pamphlet The Violin Forest.  She is currently working on a book-length poem to be published by Picador in 2021.


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