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C Daventry



the poet

A linguist, writer and poet living in Scotland, C Daventry has won several awards for her work. These include first place in the Bridport Prize for Poetry (her work appearing in its annual anthologies several times), winner of the 2019 Hippocrates Open Awards for Poetry and Medicine, and The John Ruskin Prize in its inaugural year. A finalist in the 2019 Moth Poetry Prize, she's also chalked up multiple shortlistings and nominations elsewhere. Her work has been published throughout the UK and beyond, and her solo poetry chapbook is titled, The Oligarch Loses His Patience.

the poems

Mother’s Ruin

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                        She comes home and takes gin

                        gin deadbeat, gin strayed-from-the-fold 

                        takes its own back again, 

                        robs families of fathers, rips

                        the roof off terraces, shows off mould 

                        and wallpaper in flapping strips 

                        gets inside the cistern, the milk 

                        bottle, the baby’s bottle, filled up 

                        with gripe and mither to the neck 

                        with Dutch courage, gin-Jenever; 

                        make baby silver make her gold 

                        liquid witch, my juice of the juniper 

                        take with you my lumbago

                        my gallstones my gout

                        take with you his droop and ague

                        gin swills in our gutters, our runnels, 

                        swirls down the drains and out 

                        through the grilles, up to the gunwales 

                        mammy’s boots go out slap-slap

                        on slimy cobbles. Gin is the colour of her moon-clout 

                        her eyes her rouged knees her grey lips 

                        gin with lemon gin with lime

                        gin will be damned

                        gin laced with turpentine 

                        will take oranges

                        to Scotland and pish on England

                        gin will fackin rhyme if and when it likes

                        gin and whey out of the teats

                        of her into the mouths of babes

                        stiff after three days in winding sheets

                        gin from the ankles up, bad as brown

                        apples in the bottom of the barrel

                        soft ribs teeth like cheese maggots in the brain

                        in every port be mine in the estuarine brine 

                        croons the seaman biting her tongue

                        I’ll give you gin up your skirt for your pains 

                        dump the bairn come away to Mandalay 

                        to the East Indies to the straits so

                        she gave him a dose of gin to take away 

for my Valentine
in an fMRI scanner

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                   it’s because of the way your parahippocampal gyrus 

                   glows green under pressure. The way your parietal lobe 

                   (which, try as I might, I can’t see as inferior)

                   shows hyperactivity when I whisper sweet nothings. 

                   For this alone I want to sail away to your bilateral insula 

                   in a precuneus coracle, drag it high on white sand, dance 

                   the cingulate cortex breathless and wild, 

                   then pull you close and do the fusiform gyrus 

                   as the fiery plate of the sun drops

                   below the horizon. 

                   You are my frontal and limbic regions of interest.

                   You alone are my dorsal hypoactive cluster.

                   You have declared cerebellum on my own amygdala,

                   o, stroll with me under the globus pallidus of the moon. 

I do not appear
in photos

00:00 / 00:53

                        anymore. There was a time my face

                        was green hills covered in buttercups,

                        I walked with bees hovering

                        above the clover of my hair

                        which was perpetually ruffled

                        by the light breeze of your breath,

                        of anyone’s breath, of the breath

                        of a man standing over me on the bus, 

                        his feet planted too near the saplings

                        of my legs, the hive in my belly,

                        the bird of heart in my feathery breast, 

                        us swaying a little; everything I owned 

                        slung over the waterfall of my shoulders. 

                        My bangles had the clink of pebbles

                        in a burn, and me, averting my eyes

                        – changing direction quick

                        as a shoal of silver fish

                        – from my own aristocracy, my neck 

                        a stalk of willow under the heavy crown 

                        none of us ever knew we wore. 

Publishing credits

Mother's Ruin: MAGMA (No. 67)

for my Valentine in an fMRI scanner: 2019 Hippocrates Prize

  Anthology (The Hippocrates Press)

I do not appear in photos: shortlisted for

  the Moth Poetry Prize 2019


S h a r e

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