A Poem, by me.

Here I share a poem that I produced as part of a university assignment. It is in the style of John Gays ‘Trivia, or the Art of Walking the Streets of London’. Trivia was written at the beginning of the 18th century and is fundamentally a piece of social satire, so I emulated the style and put a contemporary spin on it. It remains unnamed.

To walk London is a grand show of one’s own affection,

Towards a city offering nothing in the way of direction,

There are pathways and shortcuts that only those born here know

As if it’s a Londoners’ privilege to take the short route home.

Keep your friends on the pavement to be sure you’ve not lost them

Though that’s particularly difficult on a Thursday in Hoxton,

For this is the play day of the inner-city banker

Who keep their beer on the sidewalk as if it were anchor

They don’t seem to mind that its winter outside

As its 2for1 cocktails but they can throw out the ice

Beware the scruffy poet who stands by the corner

He’ll trick you to thinking he’s an urban explorer

He will ask for a word and then give you a rhyme

Then force you to pay for his valuable time

Down to Brick lane as it’s not to be missed

Though avoid all the restaurants that hold a cease and desist

Dodge all the mouse traps and step over the poison

Noticed closed windows that keep the loud noise in

Walk down to the end and find goods in shops marked as vintage

Although all second hand, to buy you’d have to be minted

Here the crowd thickens and so does the air

A hipster adds to the soundscape by playing a snare

The lungs slowly tighten from all the pollution

And unexperienced tourists run around in confusion

They take lots of photos next to a spray-painted wall

Unaware that behind it sits an old music hall

Whether that’s intent or they’re just quite unwitting

You can see how they looked past that as the colours are pretty

The pavement is littered with moped thieves in contention

Who probably wouldn’t think twice to stealing an of age ladies pension

As the sun sets the sirens begin to roar in the distance

Perhaps caution is warranted in this sobering instance

The sidewalk safari slowly intensifies

Retailers close and the roads swept with pesticides

The sweeping is done by a man in machine

By the look on his face though, doesn’t care if its clean

Jump out of the way so you don’t end up underneath it

And into a doorway of an off license that’s heated

As the moon rises, London’s thrown into shadow

Claustrophobia sets in and it reaches a plateau

Hen nights alight the train at the High Street

Moral conduction becomes obsolete

Party members disguised in OTT fancy dress

You do have to wonder if they’re present under duress

You can stroll through dark alleys and get lost in the turns

Be mindful that here the neo-pick pocketer lurks

The unmistakable thump of the base from a nightclub

A mans refused entry and has started a riot

His friends are inside and have been for ten minutes

But the bouncers said no for being over the limit

Defeated he stumbles to purchase a beef bagel

Encroaches passers-by while lamenting his fable

As night turns to morning the roaring turns to a hum

Pale faces are shaking from having far too much fun

They wait for the night bus as the trains have stopped running

A last-minute decision as their Uber’s not coming

The track workers appear in their orange hi-vis

A safety device so their seen in the sunrises mist

The clubs start to close and the offices open

Carnage from drunk folks, a few windows are broken

At this time of morning exist two different commutes

The jaw swinging raver and the men in their suits

The shadows disperse, and the black streets are brightened

Children on school trips run around with excitement

The market is open, the day has now started

A whole day in East London is not for the faint hearted

Out come the brunchers and Instagram models

Who will only take coffee deconstructed in bottles

Parading their dogs in designer ensembles

Half of them don’t realise that they’re pure breeds are mongrels

Lunch time traffic comes to a standstill

The workers head out like tamandua to anthill

The brunchers feel smug being early no doubt

The best food on the menus now completely sold out

Car horns sound off and cabbies start shouting

A result of a city drowning in over-crowding

Walking through London offers a chance for reflection

You realise it runs on total inverted abjection.

 

 

 

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