Ballad of the Christmas Flood


A ballad by Madhuri about recent events in the UK.

The north east of England had exceptionally strong precipitation in the week leading up to 25th December 2015. The media also reported the recent drainage of moorland in the surrounding hills (for grouse hunting on drier land) which increased the downflow of water. The outcry aggravated when it was found out that the rich landowners received Government funding for said drainage.

flood puddle in front of picture hhouse

‘Twas just midnight on Christmas Day
when the warning horn began to bray
The rain went on, the night was black
no sight of moon – no, not a crack

Again the warning blared at morn
every village heard that horn
in all the Calder Valley deep
Where the river waked, and none could sleep

To think about their shop, their sheep,
their car, their floor,
their treasures more
gone bobbing in the tumult’s roar.

The rain stopped then,
there was just a bit
while people gazed upon their kit
wrecked and drunk and sunk and drowned –

And in shops where folks’d put their money down

All was spoilt – the hem of dress
smeared brown, the vegetables a mess,
tall shelves of books just sodden pulp
kids’ toys out of plastic sculpt

Only fit to stuff in bags
black for bins, with soggy rags
and tins in stacks
of chestnuts, where the label’s wracked.

The water fell, exposing ruin
and everyone set to with brooms
and shovels, throughout the rooms
and out onto the pavement spread
with sheet of mud, like a cursed bed.

No food to buy, no book to lend
– The library too has mud to mend –
no flower shop to bright your table
Volunteers in wellies, clean what they’re able –

The estate agent’s glass completely gone
no house to buy with rocky lawn –
There’ll be no post, was inundated
You’ll send that last package much belated –

cleaning picture house

And the fine red velvet Picture House
6 feet up stairs, yet it was soused –
and those who live on a high steep hill
dry and warm though they be still
must look back down at their pretty town
with stomach ground in hunger’s mill

And think about the shop-keep people
better for the place than churchy steeples –
for they keep it sweet and small
and warm of heart, to feed us all

And just be human, as they are
not jerked by chains from far afar –
Oh Valley Organics! Carrot juice
be-muddied bottles, broccoli loose

And sodden chocolate on a shelf –
Oh flood, next time go somewhere else
where you are needed –
…go somewhere else
where deserts would give thanks

The Prime Minister stood on the bank
of a river rushing free
and said he had such money spent
on floods; and the subtext seemed to be

flooded bookshop

Why then were the populace
continuing to complain?
What fault of his was all this biz
that occurs when there’s too much rain?

Some people’s ancient houses
knelt down and crumpled over
like camels shot, or elephants
or earthquaked homes wherever

And the man in his crisp windbreaker
had given his video byte
then turned away to do his deals
to drain the moors of light

To subsidize as farmland
windy leas where mama grouse
just wants to raise her babies
not be shot by some grandiose louse

Who’s paid his host a fine fat sum
to let his manhood feel quite stirred
with his willy in his hands
he’ll kill a wee defenceless bird.

The rain came down on England
the whole December long
the river Hebden was running loose
but the people rise up strong

Though sad and broken-hearted,
to start their life anew
amid the wrack and wreckage
that the Christmas flood did do.

MadhuriMadhuri is a regular contributor to Osho News

More articles, reviews and poems by the same author on Osho News

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