Tag Archives: london

In Woods Green

In woods green
Nymphs were sometimes seen
By mortal men.
Now when
Girls I see in short clothes,
Their toes
Bare, to the sultry air
I wonder where
All the inocence has gone.
Yet Aphrodite
Was flighty
(Was she not?,
And on hot
London nights
Phone calls will be made
And visits paid
By aphrodite, to oh so mortal men


Walking through the tube on my way home.
In this crowd.
That I could
Be a cloud
Up above.
Yet we are all clouds
Blown hither and thither by crowds,
Trying to keep our identity in the throng
Whose song
Is “Work then home
Perhaps a few drinks with the boys or girls
(the social whirl)
Or collapse in front of mindless television
(watching overpaid hosts
On reality TV interviewing ghosts
Who inspire derision, Not fear).
Sometimes we see it clear
But rather than confront the truth (which is difficult to do),
Instead flick through
Channels where you can shop till you drop
For the latest crop
Of gadgets (not needed before,
But once you saw
You just had to buy)
For one must be a “with it” guy.

Going to bed
Your head
Is clear for a while.
There can be no denial
That you may think
(unless your mind be muddled with drink)
Ere sleep “wraps up the ravelled sleeve of care”,
But beware
For you may dream
And all that does seem
Will be revealed for what it is, a soon forgotten soap opera in which you play
A barely noticed role then fade away.


Lost in the crowd.
London’s voice loud.
The traffic screeches.
A man preachs.
His voice reachs
The birds.
A mobile phone.
People alone
And talk.
Something is bought.
A train is caught.
Newspapers russle.
A homeless man bussles
The same sad song
“I have no pay
And nowhere to stay.
Spare some change to help me today”.
People look away.
As just another day
Slowly trundles away.

The Path Through The Woods

The path taken less often than I should,

This tranquil place through a nearby wood.

A spot with trees for walls

Where sunlight through the branches falls.

An oasis from the urban din

I find a quiet place within.

An inner space where the heart can be still,

A peaceful spot on this wooded hill.



The path to the road ascends.

A cloud of gloom on me descends.

I must return to this rented land

Where advertising hordings stand.

A world where empty vessels make most noise,

And people play with broken toys.

London Rain

The platitudinous things people say,

The rain will wash them all away.

The rat race of a London day,

The rain will cleanse this all away.

Rain, nature’s balm to a troubled mind,

Within us inner peace we find.

A quiet place in which to dwell,

Aloof from this London hell.



Joy Unbounded Or The Daily London Commute

Those who have visited London will have experienced the delights of crowded public transport. There is, surely nothing more pleasant than having one’s nostrils tantalised by the sweet scent of one’s fellow commuter’s perspiring bodies on a baking hot summer’s day.

I can also highly recommend the sardine game. This entails packing as many human beings into a tube or mainline train as is humanly possible then adding a few more for good measure. Oh the delights of being clobbered by heavy baggage as one’s fellow passenger’s show their pleasure at visiting this great capital city by swinging their luggage with gay abandon.

Another fun aspect of the daily commute is the manner in which it enables one to make new friends. The train or other mode of transport jolts and one finds a total stranger sitting on one’s lap (that is if you have been fortunate enough to obtain that rarest of comodities, a seat)!

Talking of seats or the lack thereof, I have hit upon a sure fire way of obtaining one when travelling in this great city of London. I proclaim at the top of my voice,

“Half a league, half a league,

Half a league onward,

All in the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.

“Forward, the Light Brigade!

Charge for the guns!” he said.

Into the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.”

My fellow commuters are so moved by the power of Tennyson that they rise in unison and vacate the carriage leaving me to my declaiming. They are no doubt deeply touched by the majesty of the poem and rather than show emotion in front of me choose rather to express it elsewhere.

To all of my fellow commuters, happy commuting!




Counting My Blessings

Fumbling for my keys, my fingers so numb I can hardly feel anything. The icey blast encourages me in my efforts. Found them thank god! I open the communal door to the block of flats, mount the stairs and let myself into my cosey flat.

Turning on Smooth FM, the sound of Phil Collins “Another Day In Paradise” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Another_Day_in_Paradise) greets me. Collin’s sings about a woman calling out to a man on the street. She is homeless and in a bad way. He walks on pretending not to have seen her.

Thinking back to a few minutes past it hits me just how fortunate I am. I own a warm, comfortable apartment to come home to when the cold wind causes even the most hardy among us to shiver. Others are not so fortunate. They shiver in doorways, wrapped in blankets or, sometimes with only the warmth of a fellow street dweller to help them retain some animal heat.

If I had, by some mischance forgotten my keys it would have been an uncomfortable experience. However I could have buzzed a neighbour who holds a spare set to let me in or, failing that contacted a friend. I would not have spent the night on the streets of London. It makes me count my blessings.



Inner City

A cold space, vast, aisles stretching seemingly forever. Musak plays,with occasional monotone interruptions regarding offers which one simply can not afford to miss.

Outside, an icey wind blows newspapers along streets lined with discount stores. Young men unable to articulate beyond “yeah” wander down urban pavements where “the decent” fear to tread. The inner city. Cold, desolate, dead.

Vaguely Life Leaks Away

As I battled my way through the crowds thronging London’s Victoria station, following another day working in central London, those lines of W. H. Auden came to me,

“‘In headaches and in worry

Vaguely life leaks away,

And Time will have his fancy

To-morrow or to-day. (http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/i-walked-out-one-evening).

“As I Walked Out” is, in many respects a pessimistic poem. The young lovers under the bridge will, despite the high sounding words of the man be brought low by time. Either their love will wither or, if love persists romance will end in the grave. For Auden an (albeit imperfect)salvation lies in doing the best we can in what, for him is a bleak world. As he puts it,

“‘O stand, stand at the window

As the tears scald and start;

You shall love your crooked neighbour

With your crooked heart.’

I first came across Auden’s poetry while studying for my A-levels and have returned to him from time to time ever since. “As I Walked Out” is, along with “The Shield Of Achilles” my favourite Auden poem.





As I walked my guide dog, Trigger this morning, in The LawnsI heard the familiar chatter of a magpie, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXoTUS5I_ks. I am fortunate in living close to The Lawns, historic parkland in Upper Norwood which attracts a wide variety of wildlife. Sometimes in the wee small hours I hear the sharp bark of a fox or the mournful hooting of an owl as he prowls? (can an owl prowl, probably not)! In search of his prey.

Upper Norwood is, as it’s name suggests high above sea level. When going into central London for work I certainly notice the difference in the air quality, Upper Norwood being far less polluted than London itself.

(There is an interesting entry on The Lawns here http://www.londongardensonline.org.uk/gardens-online-record.asp?ID=CRO040).