Postcards from Malthusia DAY TWELVE: Clare Crossman

The Suspended World


I have seen those who knew the war, 

walking together like Old Testament prophets.

I have seen a lone white haired man lifting dumb bells

in a meadow to prove something to himself.

I have seen in nod and smile, a new courtesy

announcing suddenly, we are postulants.


I have heard the wind through the woods

and an early bumblebee that does not care.

And two larks rising over fields

beside the road full of cars going

to the ghost city. The larks reminded me 

of those ascending the cliffs of Dover in 1914

Vaughan Williams knew


The dog still wild, wades down the river

trying to chase deer. A lift of heart.


Now there is just the quiet of our rooms, 

the shadows and the clock

at different times of day.

A life simplified, to moving, breathing,

if we can 

Hoping we are being told the truth 

under the innocent flowering

of the cherry blossom trees.


At night the pillows soft against the dark.

are a presence, a scarf of ordinary things.

As others who have loved and lost, 

been ill for a long time, this is a place 

beyond the suspended world.

Sunlight outside the window  

and memory, like the early speedwell

I saw, tiny, blue, at the paths edge,

where nothing was being said.




Clare Crossman has published three collections of poetry and is working on a fourth to be published later this year by Shoestring Press. She recently collaborated with the filmmaker James Murray white on waterlight, a film about a chalk stream in Cambridgeshire where she lives.

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