Tag Archives: urban living

Safe in My Place

Safe in my place
I hear foxes bark
In the autumn dark.

In this semi-urban space
The foxes laugh and say
All this will pass away.

Listening To The Morning

The sun on my bookcase.

Books, their plain binding suffused with light.

Cars pass.

The song of the bird, here then gone.

The traffic continues on

Swishing as the great tide

That ebbs and flows.

The bird sings again

Competing with the vehicles noise (and winning)!

A crow khaws once.

A woodpecker joins in.

9:40, sitting at my computer, listening to the morning.

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.

Two Voices

You talk to me of lambs gambling, of ramblers ambling, through fields green, beside meandering streams.

You speak to me of verdant bowers, where lovers while away the hours, in love’s young dream.


I tell you of an urban street, where the gale buffets and people battle to retain their feet.

I impart to you the wind’s loan moan, as I wander home alone, in weather bleak.

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.

A Liverpudlian In London

It is frequently remarked by northerners that Londoners are “cold”, “unfriendly” and “always in a rush. As a Liverpudlian born and bred, who has lived and worked in London since 1994 I can see both sides of the coin.

One of the grimmest portrayals of London is that of the poet, William Blake. His poem, London is unremitting in it’s critique of the poverty and exploitation which prevailed in the UK’s capital city at the time when Blake penned the poem.


“I wander thro’ each charter’d street,

Near where the charter’d Thames does flow.

And mark in every face I meet

Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

In every cry of every Man,

In every Infants cry of fear,

In every voice: in every ban,

The mind-forg’d manacles I hear

How the Chimney-sweepers cry

Every blackning Church appalls,

And the hapless Soldiers sigh

Runs in blood down Palace walls

But most thro’ midnight streets I hear

How the youthful Harlots curse

Blasts the new-born Infants tear

And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse”.


I have come across, admittedly in a mild form, the criminal underbelly of that great metropolis. Some 10 years ago I was walking through London’s mainline Victoria station. I am registered blind and had become lost in Victoria’s cavanous interior. A gentleman approached me and enquired whether he could be of assistance. I explained that I wanted to get to Crystal Palace to which my saviour responded that he had just returned from offering medical assistance in Bosnia, his daughter was picking him up in her car and she would be happy to offer me a lift. With a little trepidation I accepted my new found friend’s kind offer.

“I have left my luggage in the luggage lockers, can you lend me some money to retrieve it”, my saviour then said.

Dear readers I have a terrible confession to make. Despite having money in my pocket I said I had none, to which my “friend” responded that he would

“Be back in a minute”.

Readers, the moment I heard his footsteps departing, yours truly walked in the opposite direction!

The above was, almost certainly an attempt to scan me. however, not having been born yesterday I failed to fall for the seeming “kindness of strangers” trick. Such scams go on up and down the UK and in every corner of the globe. However they are more often practiced in large cities, such as London where the chances of being apprehended are remote (in a village, for example the scammer is likely to stand out like a saw thumb).

London can seem uncaring. There is a huge homeless problem in the capital. I have often walked past people sleeping in cardboard boxes on Victoria Street and in other parts of the city. On a few occasions I have given money but in most instances I have not. To the casual observer the actions of busy Londoners hurrying past rough sleepers can appear callous. However, practically speaking one can not give to every homeless person. Again giving to people begging on the street frequently (but not always) leads to one’s money going to feed a drug or alcohol habit rather than going on the purchase of food. Consequently I will readily give to registered charities such as Shelter and The Passage (the latter charity being specifically aimed at helping homeless people in and around the Victoria area). Such organisations have their accounts audited, are regulated by the Charity Commission and one can be confident one’s donation is helping those who genuinely require assistance.

I personally have experienced a good deal of kindness when traversing London. People of all nationalities have gone out of their way to assist me when lost. AgainI’ve witnessed people assisting ladys with prams to negociate the steep steps at my local station.

Londoners are, in my experience wary of falling into conversation with strangers. This perhaps flows from the number of people (real or imagined) who are out to “scam” them. On returning to Liverpool I am struck by the ready manner in which people will engage with strangers. “good morning” is, for example frequently addressed by Liverpudlians to total strangers, something which, in London rarely happens. For instance on entering the newsagents close to where my mum lives I am greeted with “hello love” despite the fact I rarely go in there due to residing in London. This puts a smile on my face and makes the day feel brighter. Doubtless some Londoners could learn from the cheery manner in which Liverpudlians greet fellow residents of that city and strangers alike.

Having been born in Liverpool the city will forever maintain a special place in my affections. However I feel at home in London. I love the vibrancy and tolerance of the city (it is a place where people of many different nationalities and ethnic backgrounds live, more or less harmoniously together). My heart is, in short split between these 2 great cities although the larger part does, I think reside in Liverpool, in the heart of Woolton Woods and Speke Hall.


Autumn Wind

The wind gusting, mocking order, laughing at our pretentions. Our sterile lives shaken, purified by your mighty breath.

Like sand you slip through our fingers, beyond control. Certainties shaken. Life giver and destroyer. Bringer of freedom, turning the world upside down.

Windy Morning

Sitting at my desk, the wind gusting outside. Something indefinable, slippery as an eel escaping my grasp. What is it, a sense of beauty combined with loss. The loss of connection between humanity and nature. A sense of sadness, of something passing perhaps never to be regained. We wrap ourselves in the comforting blanket of technology shutting out nature’s wonders. People walking through beautiful places glued to their mobiles. Ipods turned up, humans unaware of their fellow man, and still the wind cries outside.

Open Windows

Open windows, rain falling softly on the garden below. Often the scent of the ground, rich with earth wafts upwards like a fine tobacco but, tonight nothing. Why so scentless this evening?

My arm encased in it’s dressing gown explores. The touch of rain hardly a whisper on my hand – barely raining? And yet the sound of the water continues, rain falling, nature saying something but what?