Postcards from Malthusia DAY TWENTY-EIGHT: Claudia Daventry



It was a wonder when the water rose

in low areas, where in those days

their cottages were built in valleys

and declivities beside industry

and the roar of the stream

when it was swollen to the banks

meant quick machinery – the grunt

of iron and brass pistons sliding

in oil and a hiss of steam; it was a free

gift from nature, more bacon

for the humble more brass for the boss

more product dropping off and off

the end of the belt, more

for horsepower to haul

up the same cobbled hills to

a redbrick station with latticing

on the canopies, the soot-blacked

windows, the draughty waiting room


– now they seek high ground: no room

here for sentimentality or soot-blacked

minstrels on one knee: the old latticing

breaks and splinters as valleys flood to

the very oxters, too late now to haul

your alpacas or 4×4 to safety, no more

sleeping easy at night with the latch off

– this is the stealth intruder your boss

has no power to stop. Now bacon

is scarce; no such thing as a free

lunch – watch the company sliding

into doldrums, cue a curt grunt

from insurance firms and banks,

the torrent of my income stream

a trickle in spite of my industry,

my fathers’ mills folding into valleys

as rubble. Wait, now: one of these days

this earth might again yield a rose. 



Claudia Daventry has been widely published, appearing in anthologies from Bloodaxe, Bridport, Arvon, Irish Literary ReviewPoetry London and The Dark Horse. She has won several awards for her poetry, taking first place in the Bridport, Ruskin and Hippocrates prizes. She is currently researching the effect of light pollution on circadian rhythms and mental health.



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