06 April 2006

Lewisham Poetry on the Net

A Lewisham Morning
Nii Ayikwei Parkes

The smell of fish grates in the senses
Like the chugging of old buses
creeping down the high street.

The sun rises on market traders
getting ready to scream the day away
“get your tomatoes, fresh”! – red
like no-parking lines marking pedestrian zones…

Lewisham emerges from the valley of night
as trains worm their way out of tunnels
to bring the working masses to their daily routine.

The clock-tower watches as they filter
into banks and shops
and to fast food counters
and wait for night to come again.


Emily Hay
Winner of the adult River of Words competition.

Quaggy: hidden behind back gardens and privet.
Brickwalled, low. A road over which rivulets
Quietly slide inches deep. Culverted,
A sluice. A ditch to pitch the stolen bicycle,
Scoured and vacuum-sucked by tractors in autumn.

But while we looked away, below the station,
The grey-backed bobbing birds have come to stay.
The balance on bricks, pick the debris, chatter safely
Shaded by buddleia; run along its concrete rim;
Occupy their own secluded mountain stream.

And in the upturned shopping trolley
The mitten crabs raise woolly claws,
Wait for rainstorms, are flung towards the Thames,
Shed their skins that float on foam and confluence,
Then scurry uphill home to lurk in drains.

Paint and oil gutters in -
Slicks, sticks, dilutes, decays.
Summer comes. The lime trees drip their glue and greenflies.
Ducks swim by from parks to ponds. Seeds, butterflies,
Are carried from woodland to wasteland. And we pass by.

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