Claudia Daventry studied languages then lived in several European cities as a professional writer, translator (and performance poet) before moving from Amsterdam to St Andrews, where she now lives and writes. Her work has appeared in various anthologies and other publications and she has received a number of accolades. At the time of going to press she is writing up a PhD on poetic translation. Her pamphlet, The Oligarch Loses His Patience, was published in 2015.
As I Was Going To The Fair
I met a girl in her Sunday dress with ribbons in her hair
I asked her the way to San José. She said she didn’t care.
I asked her if she’d buy my beans, she said the beans weren’t there.
I asked her if she’d marry me, she said hell, she didn’t share.
I offered her a ruby ring, she took it, bit it. Said it wasn’t rare
enough for a lady of her standing, was too dull to wear,
and dropped it in a pocket where
it smouldered like a coal. And still I couldn’t tear
my gaze from her soul; from her beautiful, wicked stare.
I met a woman with a bucket of monkeys. I said you’re trouble but I swear
I will follow you to the end of my days (your days, she said with a sneer)
the shirt off my back I said, the bones of my knuckles the grit of the sheer
grit of my grit – You will follow me like Hector (she breaks in, here)
with his head bumping off the cobbles, so you will, my dear.
la Petite Mort
How, in love, the lovers must ignore
the good and love that’s in benevolent
and find themselves, instead, compelled to meddle
in each others’ lives. Too interested
to muse, in mute disinterest, from afar,
they dabble, pick at possibility, they pluck
a hair from a lapel, bestow a pencil
or a paperclip, would send a rose,
a scent of rosewood, any other scent
which might transcend the otherwise deprived
beloved’s person, in some way; the pallor
of her skin, the tilt of the head, the mood
that stays behind him like a burning ember
as he leaves the room
for, lacking these minute adjustments, we
are less than loved, are unpossessed, are orphans
of the unacknowledged willingness to bend
the head, to stoop, to hold a supplicating hand
up to the thrill of giving in; the tiny death.