This poem was published in The Poetry Review, spring issue, 2016.

The Red Helicopter

by Matthew Sweeney

Who authorised the red helicopter
to fly over the city, and stay
buzzing there, cruising in wide
slow circles, like a giant vulture?

The noise crashed into my sleep
yesterday morning before I knew
what it was, then when I realised,
I looked out and saw nothing

though the blades kept whirring,
getting louder, then quieter, but
never stopping – they wouldn’t until
they’d found what they were looking for.

I ducked under them to go into town
to buy the dinner. A cloud emptied
so I taxied home, and heard a search
was on for a sixty-three-year-old man.

I was that man but what had I done?
Had I killed someone and not noticed?
I went into the kitchen, played Coltrane
so loud it silenced the helicopter.

I also attacked the Scottish malt.
This morning the noise whacked me again,
so I ripped the shutters open, and
there it was, big and red in the sky.

It was hovering right above the house.
There was no hiding-place anymore.
I pulled on my kimono, marched out,
barefoot, onto the terrace, to stand there.

The Poetry Society was founded in 1909 to promote “a more general recognition and appreciation of poetry”.  Since then, it has grown into one of Britain’s most dynamic arts organisations, representing British poetry both nationally and internationally.  Today it has more than 4000 members worldwide and publishes The Poetry Review.

With innovative education and commissioning programmes and a packed calendar of performances, readings and competitions, The Poetry Society champions poetry for all ages.

More about the Poetry Society…

Tweets @PoetrySociety

Celebrating #nationalpoetryday? Ten of the best new poetry books for children, recommended by @clpe1's Charlotte Hacking in the NEW #BfK232 @kidspoetsummit @PoetryDayUK Retweeted by The Poetry Society

We are delighted to announce that the 2018 Live Canon poetry prize has been won by Jon Stone, @shotscarecrow, for his poem ‘The Lookout’. The Borough prize was won by Oona Chantrell. Thank you to everyone who came to today’s event, and to guest judge @MissLizBerry... Retweeted by The Poetry Society

'What vision wilt thou give me, autumn morn, To make thy pensive sweetness more complete?' The Earthly Paradise by William Morris #AutumnEquinox Retweeted by The Poetry Society

A fantastic day out at @PoetryBookFair today! Congrats to @juliamarybird and @PoetrySociety for a lively packed room in which I spent far too much money on poems. #freeverse18 Retweeted by The Poetry Society

Fill your glass + tune in at 4.30pm as we toast the equinox with autumnal poems from ⁦@hollycorfield@commoninkcap⁩ ⁦@theglassaisle⁩, live music + a cocktail called ‘The Heartbeat of Fruitfall’ inspired by Gillian Clarke’s poem, ‘Plums’.… Retweeted by The Poetry Society

Lovely to see you all at #freeverse18 yesterday! How many books did you buy? Want to win some more? Zip through our visitors' questionnaire and let us know how you got on, and we'll enter you in our prize draw for £100 worth of books

I hope, beyond anything, that me winning the @ForwardPrizes will encourage publishers & readers in the UK to look to their young BME poets, including and especially those who come from spoken word, and keep this same energy for them. You don’t need to outsource it, they’re here. Retweeted by The Poetry Society