Friday, February 02, 2007

Silent Poetry Reading

Silent Poetry Reading, as spotted on Bekki's blog. I first saw this poem in a mock A-level exam, and stole the paper so I could copy it out. It's very London, but I love it. Finally typed out before the clock turns 12 and we all turn into poetry-lacking pumpkins.

Rising Damp, by U.A. Fanthorpe

At our feet they lie low,
The little ferment underground
Rivers of London
Effra, Graveney, Falcon, Quaggy,
Wandle, Walbrook, Tyburn, Fleet
Whose names are disfigured,
Frayed, effaced.

These are the Magogs that chewed the day
To the basin that London nestle in.
These are the currents that chiselled the city,
That washed the clothes and turned the mills,
Where children drank and salmon swam
And wells were holy.

They have gone under
Boxed, like the magician’s assistant.
Buried alive in earth.
Forgotten, like the dead.

They return spectrally after heavy rain,
Confounding suburban gardens. They infiltrate
Chronic bronchitis statistics. A silken
Slur haunts dwellings by shrouded
Watercourses and is taken
For the footing of the dead.

Being of our world, they will return
(Westbourne, cages at Sloane Square,
Will jack from his box).
Will deluge cellars, detonate manholes,
Plant effluent on our faces,
Sink the city.
Effra, Graveney, Falcon, Quaggy,
Wandle, Walbrook, Tyburn, Fleet
It is the other rivers that lie
Lower, that touch us only in dreams
That never surface. We feel their tug
As a dowsers rod bends to the source below.


Marie said...

Love, love the poem. Will have to add it to my files of favorites. :)

Alice said...

I'm left quite speechless by that poem. Thanks.

Pig wot flies said...

That's gorgeous. I love London's hidden rivers.

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Excellent poem I love it too because I've received classes of poetry and I can see this is a perfect work, the only one was missing here was the perfect rhyme.

Heather said...

Wow - thanks!!

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Anonymous said...

The last line of the poem is missing. It reads:

Phlegethon, Acheron, Lethe, Styx.