Drowning

From our place, the road meanders
River-wards; an oil-slicked snake
Glinting with glass slivers
Under that damned gun-metal sky,
Rock pools of tyre shards
Broken mud flaps, bent hub caps
Go unmoved by any tide.

The land is drowning;
Struggling to lift its head above the flow;
Gasping for air from grass-sward
To tractor-turned till,
It pleads for mercy –
But the waterboarding goes on;
No quarter. No end.

The river runs bank-full;
Soils super-saturated,
Skies soddenly sopping
Triple width, fast flowing
Fields become lakes –
Hillocks become islets –
Kettle holes, an ossuary.

When will it end?
The road now a causeway.
When will it end?
The bridge now a lifeline.
When will it end?
The spirit now eroded…
A barrage, unflinching, resolute.




Bankfull

They’re talking about building again,
Building on the floodplains
But it’s plain to see
That the floodplains flood.
Take today, for Heaven’s sake,
Breathing in across the Bailey Bridge
The river bankfull below
The water benignly still
In touching distance, calling out
An illusion – look closely;
Look closely at the ruckus,
The swirls on the surface
The whirls of pent-up energy
The commotion of power
The tumult of excess
Sicked off the hills
Like hot soup rolling in the pan.
If there was a levee, it’s gone
The old ox-bow, gone too
The cycle path, lost to the sea;
Only the swans are joyful
In their new meres; soon gone too
Flooded from plain sight
Snapped up by the river’s thirst
Smothered below a duvet
Asphyxiated by branches, roots, silt,
It’s where the shopping trollies go to die
It’s where they turn up
When the flood subsides
Cock-eyed, strangely slanting, half-buried
Like the fuselage of a downed plane
Draped in periwigs of sodden shrubbery
Head sore after a big blow out.
Beautiful, true,
But deadly too.