Tuesday, March 11


I am not afraid as I descend,
step by step, leaving behind the salt wind
blowing up the corrugated river,

the damp city streets, their sodium glare
of rush-hour headlights pitted with pearls of rain;
for my eyes still reflect the half remembered moon.

Already your face recedes beneath the station clock,
a damp smudge among the shadows
mirrored in the train's wet glass,

will you forget me? Steel tracks lead you out
past cranes and crematoria,
boat yards and bike sheds, ruby shards

of roman glass and wolf-bone mummified in mud,
the rows of curtained windows like eyelids
heavy with sleep, to the city's green edge.

Now I stop my ears with wax, hold fast
the memory of the song you once whispered in my ear.
Its echoes tangle like briars in my thick hair.

You turned to look.
Second fly past like birds.
My hands grow cold. I am ice and cloud.

This path unravels.
Deep in hidden rooms filled with dust
and sour night-breath the lost city is sleeping.

Above the hurt sky is weeping,
soaked nightingales have ceased to sing.
Dusk has come early. I am drowning in blue.

I dream of a green garden
where the sun feathers my face
like your once eager kiss.

Soon, soon I will climb
from this blackened earth
into the diffident light.

by Sue Hubbard

This is a poem painted along the walls of the underpass between Waterloo station and the Imax cinema in central London. It watches over the daily shuffle of drab commuters, over the ragged heads of the homeless, and it has watched over me.

It is the first poem I read and liked, aged 14. Mainly then for "I dream of a green garden where the sun feathers my face like your once eager kiss", a line as accessible as a song lyric to a teenager desperate to fall in love.

This poem was the little hole in the otherwise impenetrable curtain that shrouded all poetry. Suddenly I understood what the words could be for.

1 comment:

  1. This is such a beautiful post; the poem's words, your words and that lovely photo. Wishing I was there right now, cup of tea in hand, admiring that very view. Xx