Odes To London
It’s a rare pleasant morning in the City, so let’s have some London poetry, starting with this end of a poem by WH Auden on Londoners:
It belongs to them, to make it what they choose.
For democracy means faith in the ordinary man and woman,
in the decency of average human nature.
Here then in London build the city of the free.
And fragments from Wordsworth’s ‘Composed on Westminster Bridge’:
The City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning silent, bare…
Ne’er I saw, never felt, a calm so deep!
The riveth glideth at its own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!
I love John Davidson’s couplet:
An ever-muttering prisoned storm,
The heart of London beating warm.
This is from ASJ Tessimond;
I am the reticent, the private city,
The city of lovers hiding wrapped in shadows,
The city of people sitting and talking quietly
Behind shut doors and walls as thick as a century,
People who laugh too little and too loudly,
Whose tears fall inward, flowing back to the heart.
And from Spike Milligan…
I am the Vicar of St Paul’s
And I’m ringing the steeple bell,
The floor of the church is on fire,
Or the lid has come off Hell.
Shall I ring the fire brigade?
Or should I trust in the Lord?
Oh dear, I’ve just remembered –
I don’t think we’re insured!
‘What’s this then?’ said the fire chief.
Is this church C of E?
It is? Then we can’t put it out,
My lads are all RC!
Christopher Wren’s inscription for St Paul’s…
‘Si monumentum requiris, cricumspice’
(‘If you seek a monument, look around’)
And a thought for the day ahead from Juan Octavio Prenz…
One day more is one day less
That is to say that every day is more
And every day is less
There is no addition that doesn’t subtract
There is no subtraction that doesn’t add
clear like an adventure
The modern London posters are from this site.