Saturday, 24 March 2012

Envoys For A City OR Ghosts: Fingers on the Pulse of History

Today’s poem last appeared on the blog in 2010 and is repeated here today especially for ‘Moses and Johanna’ who have been in touch to say how they, like me, have a love-hate relationship with London.

Now, I have lived in or near London for most of my life. I’ve seen many changes, mostly for the worse as London has become more and more overcrowded and its public transport systems less able to cope. Even with a car, it is rare that you can drive the same route more than two days running due to road works, and even then there is often nowhere convenient to park.

Yes, I have the same love-hate relationship with London that I’ve had since I was child and used to visit my grandparents in Battersea.  I love wandering round its museums and art galleries, exploring the South Bank, strolling on Hampstead Heath or along the Regent’s Canal...BUT...hate the noise, crowds, and resulting pollution levels.

Will I ever move away? I doubt it. As I grow older, I embrace change with less and less enthusiasm. Besides, if home is where the heart is, I suspect mine is in London.

I read the poem on YouTube some time ago. You can see Tower Bridge and the Tower of London in the background. Church bells began to ring out as I was reading the poem, but I think they add to rather than distract from the reading. [Background noise is always a problem when reading 'on location' especially as I could only afford a cheap camcorder. This is why I read more poems as voice-overs in later videos. If interested, you can access my YouTube channel at: ]


In the bowels of London’s tower,
the very pulse of history;
its ghosts, reliving their last hour

Let honour demand none cower
yet smell fear in every cavity
in the bowels of London’s tower,

Here, mortals high and low flower
like lotus, spoils of eternity,
its ghosts reliving their last hour

Anachronism, metaphor for power,
fiercest passions of a fine city
in the bowels of London’s tower,

Where ravens fly and tourists gather,
a kingdom aspires to glory,
its ghosts reliving their last hour

Time’s envoys, vying with each other
to engage with us intimately;
in the bowels of London’s tower,
its ghosts, reliving their last hour

Copyright R. N. Taber 2010

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