Poem introduction

I was born in a small town, on the banks of the big black River Trent. The next poem is based on surprisingly sprightly accounts from survivors of one of the town’s worst floods. The poem is called The Trent rises, 1947.

The Trent rises, 1947

When you heard the water whisper
in Crown Yard and Sailors’ Alley,
when your husband saw the river
no longer lazy - swollen, free;
what did you grab, to take with you upstairs?
What would I take with me?
 
Would I snatch letters from the flood,
so their clearest lines and kisses
did not meet condoms, tampons, mud?
Save bills?   Saucepans?  Water misses
no hidden, plastered wire.  No kettle could
boil.  The fusebox hisses.
 
Computers, in a leaky boat?
They hauled fresh water, tins. The swell
of river made the hall a moat.
Tortoise to bucket! Chickens fell
into their bath.  Aboard the Co-op’s milk float,
the pigs raised merry hell.

from Then (Bloodaxe, 2013) © Alison Brackenbury 2013, used by permission of the author and the publisher

Recordings

Alison Brackenbury

Alison Brackenbury Reading from her Poems

1Honeycomb

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2Lapwings

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3On The Aerial

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4At The Beginning

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5Provision

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6After the X-ray

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7At Eighty

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8Dickens - A Daydream

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9In The Black Country

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10Overnight

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12No

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12Rented Rooms

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13The Beanfields Scent

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14Linum

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15The Spring at Chedworth

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16Edward Thomas’ Daughter

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17Xerxes, an Opera

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18Yesterday Vivaldi visited me, and sold me some very expensive concerto’s

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19Prepositions

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20Display

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21After Beethoven

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22Puff

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23Epigrams

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24The Nymph Considers the Garden

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25The Trent Rises, 1947

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26Bookkeeping

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27On the Move

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28Money

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30Apple Country

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31Robert Brackenbury

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32High Notes

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33Hill Mist

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34Three

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35Christmas Roses

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36December 25th, 12 noon

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37Bath Cubes

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38The Blue Door

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39At Needlehole

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40Tewkesbury

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41Flood

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42Scraper

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43Wilfred Owen at the Advanced Horse Transport Depot, 1917

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44On The Boards

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29The House

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Books by Alison Brackenbury