Friday, 10 June 2011

The hot friday of a London June

The train slows outside the station
Long enough to let me notice
Towering over the platforms' sleek arteries
A shard of glass and steel
Holding the sky in it's nettle grasp
All around new tower blocks jostle
To London Bridge
The frantic pace of change
Echoed in the insistent alarm
And slow hiss of pneumatic doors
I alight into the hot friday of a London June

First point of call is Southwark Cathedral
A quiet stay in the fabric of passing traffic
All welcome here, even the cat
And I marvel at the wooden bosses
The icon and the poet's tomb
I rub Will's knee for luck
And pause at the door
Visibly moved by the Marchioness Memorial
But the river runs on regardless

I walk with the quick pace of a city dweller
Not the slow doodle across the pavement
Of the day tripper who stops and stares
At every blue plaque and brass doorknocker
No, I sweep pass the Golden Hinde
And into Clink Street
A detour over Southwark Road
And Bankside finds me by the Globe
Neatly thatched and insular
To the passing street theatre
Clowns and mimes and latin americana

Now I am here
Outside the Tate Modern
Industrial cathedral
With it's hallowed spaces
Of art and culture held within
A red brick certainty

A coffee and biscuit on the members' terrace
As people wander over the Millenium Bridge
And sailing dinghys ply the stretch upriver
With a breeze as sharp as Cleopatra's needle
Down stairs and through doors
To find the Miro exhibition
In the theatre of his war
Every canvas his stage
Every print a soliloquy
To art
To freedom
Perhaps to dream
An infinite blue silence
Against the outrage
Of bloody opression
No voice more eloquent
In these thronging rooms

On South Bank there's a beach
With sand and huts
And a large straw fox
It makes me laugh
The juxtapostion of this day
From surrealism to surreal
Lunch is such a treat

Across the footbridge at Charing Cross
And on to Trafalgar Square
Where the sweet spray from the fountains
Cools the heat from my face
As light as summer rain
On the people's plinth sails a ship in a bottle
By the National Gallery a green wall grows
And here, the Olympic Clock, still ticking
Counting down my passing feet

Picadilly and the Royal Academy
Sipping Pimms from room to room
As canvas after canvas adorn the walls
In ever greater scale and price
My eyes alight on beetled buttons
And a fat kingfisher
A dog rooting in a bin
A swirling red galaxy inexorably pulling me in
All punctuated by a circle and a square
The tide of flourescent red dots
Rising up the wall
To remind me
The river runs on regardless

Now London in high afternoon heat
Heaps sweat and dust and noise on my brow
Rush hour soon as pavements swell
Under the bridge the neat rows of coloured lights
The final shattered bones of buildings
Being shored up with comedy clubs and beer kellers
And all around the commuters press ahead
To London Bridge

Against this human tide
I catch a glimpse
A face
A moment's recognition soon lost
They were heading in the other direction anyway
And my train is due