Clare Hornsby



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A plan for Battersea power station

A statued pediment between the upturned legs
A steep pitched roof with finials, corbels, grotesques
A spiky cross taller than a pylon
Marking the sanctuary.
Cluny-on-Thames.

Build houses up all round to shelter pilgrims
Plant market gardens down to the mudbanks
Where children can help their parents
On holy days, in May.

Though now the trees wear their gloves
A yellow-red autumnal colour
A silver-tea-tray sky above the railway bridge
Is marked by crossings, recrossings.

Later, in the night cafe, they bring the order
She can't remember ordering
Her error does not blur with time
Sick from something she ate
Twenty years ago.

In the marshy reaches near the abbey
A boat is ready to carry her down river
Even as far as France.
The early morning chant rises up
And spreads over Battersea:
The smoke of the new dispensation.