Hélène Demetriades: a poem



The plumb line

Father, I lift your thinning thighs, nudge

down your trousers, peel off your socks,

edge on your night vest,

rub your gridlocked shoulders, swollen feet.

I slide over satin skin

tenderised by the grit of your 105-year-old flesh.


Tonight in our goodbyes you stumble for words

and bless me for protecting you.

In the early hours, I wake, words flooding my mouth:

It's not me, it’s not me the safe-keeper

but the plumb line between us.



Hélène is a practising psychotherapist and poet living in South Devon. She is joint winner of the Hedgehog Press Full Fat Poetry Collection competition 2020, and will have her debut collection The Plumb Line published in 2022. Her poetry can be found in numerous magazines and webzines. She was highly commended by Patience Agbabi in Marsden The Poetry Village Competition 2019.