Caught by the River

Ghostwater

16th October 2011

Ghostwater
(Lost rivers of London)

by Daniel Crocket.

It came from the West, slow bubbling, carving runnels in the ancient clay
Fleet runs the river, swift to downfall, flowing to dismay
The oldbourne, holding a memory of peat; a concrete song in fate
Beneath dappled banks the trout; unknowing, languid, wait
Where the water tumbles, like a trace of light, to spin the gate
The Lost River Fleet, cased in pure concrete weight
Split from her bed, bound in tunnels, flowing unknowing, blind
At times she finds the whispers of the other ghosts
The Effra hissing, missing deep beneath the crazy tramp of feet
Unseen, conveying the carcass of a rat below the hustle of market streets
Where once stood proud banks and clear flow,
Stinks Bazalgette’s high level interceptor sewer now
Constricted in culverts, to take diverted course about the tube map
Robbed of riverhood by the need to pave and trap
The Falconbrook stumbles on, the Neckinger quick
Lunging through the tunnels and pipes of forgotten brick
But in the case of ghostwater they forget, these engineer folk
Wardens of the dammed, stemmers of the tideway choked
We, the lost streams of London, run forever free
For where a river once was, it always will be.

Daniel Crockett.