Tag Archives: London

Tube Train

He stands, legs nonchalantly hooked
around the central pole,
clean pressed stovepipe jeans, battered Leather,
coloured spiky hair, life creased face,
lively eyes roving across fellow travellers.
We nod recognition, two observers on the night tube.
A tall Rasta joins at the next stop
dreadlocks tumbling from pirate scarf
drinking from a bottle swathed in paper
impervious to all.
Around us, Chinese teenagers sweet with Peter Pan charm
sated concert goers, weary tourists, glossy City traders.
These two self contained gentlemen rise above
embody the blunt London of my childhood.
Punk and Rasta.

Copyright © 2019 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Friday poem: London Rain

London Rain

The rain of London pimples
The ebony street with white
And the neon lamps of London
Stain the canals of night
And the park becomes a jungle
In the alchemy of night.

My wishes turn to violent
Horses black as coal–
The randy mares of fancy,
The stallions of the soul–
Eager to take the fences
That fence about my soul.

Across the countless chimneys
The horses ride and across
The country to the channel
Where warning beacons toss,
To a place where God and No-God
Play at pitch and toss.

Whichever wins I am happy
For God will give me bliss
But No-God will absolve me
From all I do amiss
And I need not suffer conscience
If the world was made amiss.

Under God we can reckon
On pardon when we fall
But if we are under No-God
Nothing will matter at all,
Adultery and murder
Will count for nothing at all.

So reinforced by logic
As having nothing to lose
My lust goes riding horseback
To ravish where I choose,
To burgle all the turrets
Of beauty as I choose.

But now the rain gives over
Its dance upon the town,
Logic and lust together
Come dimly tumbling down,
And neither God nor No-God
Is either up or down.

The argument was wilful,
The alternatives untrue,
We need no metaphysics
To sanction what we do
Or to muffle us in comfort
From what we did not do.

Whether the living river
Began in bog or lake,
The world is what was given,
The world is what we make.
And we only can discover
Life in the life we make.

So let the water sizzle
Upon the gleaming slates,
There will be sunshine after
When the rain abates
And rain returning duly
When the sun abates.

My wishes now come homeward,
Their gallopings in vain,
Logic and lust are quiet,
And again it starts to rain;
Falling asleep I listen
To the falling London rain.

By Louis MacNeice

(The rhyming scheme is a b c b d b – with a repeat end word in lines four and six of each stanza).

In the gardens and the fields

Over twenty years after the end
gardens still had hollow mounds
or curved corrugated tin domes half buried
some doing duty as tool sheds
many simply as they were
when the bombing stopped
full of the detritus of nights spent sheltering
while death flew overhead

Mounds and tunnels  riddled
our playing fields
dry brick-lined hiding places
against bombers seeking factories
and factory workers
to blast and wreck
we used them  for massive games of hide and seek

London streets had many gaps
festooned with stately spires of
purple flowers, amid mossy rubble
the occasional crumpled saucepan
so much broken crockery

As a child, my father collected bullets and bomb shards
watched fighters fall crashing out of the sky
and ran to collect souvenirs while the metal was still hot

I and my brothers knew wars last remnants
and played amongst ghosts

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Bjorn is the host at dVerse, and is asking for poetry about war. Thankfully I have no direct experience. This poem is a slight re-write of one I wrote a while ago.

Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner……possibly the last one…

This isn’t poetry, just me being indulgent on a Sunday night….yet once more. Sorry! ;)

I was born in London, went to university in London and still love my home town, even though I will never live there again.

This is an old ad for Capital Radio, using the even older song ‘Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner’ and updating it a bit. Well I think it’s funny!