Old London town
Old London town,
from Big Ben and Parliament,
to Buckingham Palace,
to the murky brown fast flowing Thames,
flowing endlessly from its source of Trewsbury Mead,
with the start of it often disputed,
but verified at the end.
Then passing the Thames Barrier onwards into the sea and out past Southend,
to the Gherkin,
to Canary Wharf,
and then the Millennium wheel,
to stroll the South Bank and Tate Modern yet again.
To the Millennium dome,
to Greenwich and the Planetarium,
back on the 188 bus,
to Oxford Street,
onto the Northern line,
to Camden Town and back again.
And from Wembley,
Kensington to Borough,
to Carnaby Street and Hyde Park,
to Mayfair and Billingsgate market,
to Primrose Hill,
to Waterloo at sunset and Regents Park,
and by taxi and tram to Brixton,
Croydon and Clapham.
To Hampstead Heath,
Streatham and Balham,
where millions of people are heading for events waiting yet to happen.
And as they do,
they glance at their watch and their mobile phone too aiming to get to their location,
whilst looking forward with great expectations,
to experiencing something new with someone else or alone.
And whether for business or pleasure,
we have the Romans to thank and the passing of time,
for Londinium and London’s growth and expansion,
is as fluctuating as the weather and wine.
And with London visited by international visitors on ships and jet planes for their leisure,
and by coaches at regular patterns,
and with comfortable seats that for behinds cannot be bettered,
and the city financially it truly is quite a pleasure.
And the city is rapidly visited by people on their way to work,
and no matter whether the weather is icy and cold or sunny and wet,
they must get there no matter the conditions or the congestion met,
and no matter how bad it gets,
for get there they must quite emphatically yes,
and despite the road works that may delay them,
and leave their nerves in shreds and their minds a mess,
arriving at work a little frazzled and distressed,
yet there may come some further struggle.
And after a few hours with hopefully no trouble,
they can hurry away from an office that they would rather forget,
to get something to munch and quickly at the double.
And by their own rapid footsteps they are spirited away,
to a piece of quiet in the organized chaos of the day.
Where to take a little time out for something to eat is quite a treat as is catching up on the latest
and resting their minds and casting away their aching weary feet by taking off their shoes.
But alas the working day it leaves a lot depressed with barely any time to stop,
to ponder and rest and by the look on their face’s lunchtime is the best.
And with sandwiches, soups and salads all consumed,
they hurry off with no time for dessert but with just enough time for a quick trip to the loo.
And then away again to somewhere new,
over to the bank and it’s ever lengthening queues.
Where in their suits they stand,
with their armpits damp and their clammy hands.
Keen to pay off some of their mortgage that never generally goes to plan.
Then after a twenty-minute stand,
a deposit and a thank you,
It is off to the post office to buy some stamps,
from the man behind the counter called Frank,
the one with the handlebar moustache who has a swearing and a head banging cockatoo.
And Frank wishes them good day as he dreams of rescuing animals from a pet shop,
in a neon polka dot army tank,
and then waves a cheerful goodbye to the customer with a hand covered in tattoos as they leave
the hustle and bustle of the bank.
Then outside the office worker leaves quietly with despondent steps,
back towards the office,
past someone who rather unkindly they call a tramp.
a tramp called John,
who has sad, funny and witty stories to tell,
and from inside his jacket the office worker offers some small change and some chocolate bars that
are starting to melt.
And though the office worker does his best,
he wishes that others would as well before walking on in the heat,
back to the office,
where his deodorant awaits and a fresh shirt,
which is much needed,
as he is beginning to smell.
Then after maybe a little rejuvenation,
they get back to work whilst looking forward to home,
and if they have a partner to making love to ease the day’s frustrations.
And whether they get lucky who can tell,
and if they do not,
they always have their imagination and the internet as well.
And in the parks of the capital of the Nation,
and in all of them including Regents Park,
Hyde Park and St James,
there are people sprawled out upon the grass,
with picnics, drinks, cigarettes and alcohol,
and joyful laughter and conversations that flow in fits and starts.
Conversation about visits to the V&A,
with its Japanese art and design collection,
its theatre Performances,
its pilates classes and medieval Renaissance,
and with Rodin sculptures all firing younger and older people’s imagination,
it is a great museum for further investigation and relaxation.
And so too the photographer’s gallery with pictures captured in the lenses of photographers,
with well known and unknown reputations.
And the Tower of London with its Beefeaters and its Ravens,
where they are always are but if they are not people begin to panic,
but maybe they have just jumped on the underground for a days’ vacation,
or a new start at life at St Pancras station.
And of the British Museum with its world collection of history,
and of objects from the Rosetta Stone,
of sarcophaguses of Egyptian Mummies,
and a statue from Easter Island,
and tales of conquest and world civilization.
Where both younger and older people alike hover like flies around displays,
that compete for the mind’s attention,
and with something for everyone from every global location,
the day flies by quickly and satiates all fascination.
And with some talk of Trafalgar Square and of Nelson’s column that stands so tall and proud and
mighty in the air,
they cheerfully discuss it before moving on to discuss the mighty British lions and the fountain
the fountain where people may take a dip to cool down in the particularly hot summer’s air.
And then as they eat their picnics in the park, they move the conversation on to Piccadilly,
where people do kiss romantically under the statue of Eros amidst romantic sparks.
And then moving on onto Regents Street,
Soho and Marble Arch,
where tourists and others shop for gifts and lacy underwear at prices close to their hearts.
And hence further North whilst the wind blows forth,
so, the Hare Krishna’s march,
down Oxford Street whilst chanting happily in anticipation on the lookout for the next heavenly
destination whilst a little thirsty and parched.
But no matter how thirsty they are they avoid the pubs,
the massive queues and the McDonalds burgers that others love.
And with no material things on their minds they do not give into temptation,
and prefer to stick to vegetarian grub.
For they are happy in simplicity and with what they have got,
and as for materialism they often explain that they have forgotten it with a shrug.
But then again if unlike them you are looking for entertainment there,
from the cinemas in Leicester Square,
to the theatres and the musicals,
to the poetry readings and the literature,
to the jugglers in Covent Garden,
to the people feeding the pigeons alone in Soho Square.
To the people standing as still as statues covered in silver,
whilst people stop and stare,
and now quickly just look over there,
to the people in Hyde Park,
who are rowing a boat and who are happily going around in circles to nowhere.
Their movement is so serene like Margot Fontaine and seemingly lighter than air.
And in London where everything is available with ease,
and great entertainment,
and plenty of shops and locations all eager to please,
what else could you want and how could you be bored and displeased.
For to get there it only takes a minute to an hour or more via the underground station,
or by taxi,
by foot or Rickshaw.
And then what of the history of London and of its founding,
From the Romans landing on the banks of the Thames,
as the local people looked on astounded and unsure.
To the great plagues in which the calls of bring out your dead,
horrifically never seemed to end.
To the building of St Paul’s by Christopher Wren.
To Pudding lane,
where from a bakery the great fire of London spread,
and spread so rapidly,
and with such courage and strength the fire was fought, and London was rebuilt from the flames,
and continued growing and transcending,
and grew and grew and its growth still today it seems never ending.
And then through the first and the second world wars of which was its greatest test,
the United Kingdom struggled through the Blitz,
and we fought on like mighty lions as London was blown to bits.
And these days we remember gladly those who protected us.
For we were gloriously defended by the soldiers on the street,
the barrage balloons,
the Navy and the RAF.
Against Adolf Hitler and his dictatorial insanity.
And surviving through rationing we did live us spirited Brits,
living off food grown by the land girls and others who toiled in the fields and who gave
everything they could give.
And so, fight on did all the factory workers and the military,
against the German bullets and bombs and incendiaries and the direct hits.
For Londoners were mercilessly slaughtered upon the street and at home in their beds,
whilst abroad the Jews were malnourished and distressed gassed in ovens and sent to their deaths.
And through the darkest hours we were led by the sounds of Vera Lynn,
and the brilliant Winston Churchill,
who with a cigar in his hand guided us with his tactical brilliance and with humour,
despite the black dog raging in his head.
And furthermore, since then by Queen Elizabeth the second who has served us graciously,
dedicatedly, and without question.
From the 1952 coronation,
through challenging world events such as the cold war and the Suez crisis.
Through the IRA campaigns and the tears and the frustrations,
to the 1970 change to the age of majority,
from 21 to 18 in voting,
that greatly pleased a lot of people across the nation.
And onwards through the founding of the European union,
to taking part in the 1977 Silver Jubilee celebrations,
and as punk took hold and the Sex pistols played loudly across every station.
Her Majesty guided us steadfastly along with unbending determination,
and through the 1982 Falklands war, to the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall,
and to the handover of Hong Kong,
and the Gulf wars with burning oil and such wanton devastation.
Through many sad African famine and droughts where she gave her heart,
her caring, and dedication, and through the terrifying Bosnian genocide,
to Brexit, where despite Nigel Farage,
with sincerity, she managed it all without hesitation,
in the United Kingdom,
and throughout the commonwealth with calmness and such great dedication.
And what is more despite Prince Phillips gaffes and all,
with a smile upon her face and the love between them both so strong and tall,
in London town no world problem was unconquerable.
And so, here is to Her Majesty and here is to London town,
with Notting hill carnival both day and night,
with calypso as the sound, the most colourful place to enjoy yourself,
and once a year the most vibrant place get to down.
And with Chelsea pensioners in their uniforms,
and soldiers in sentry boxes in their Busby’s standing tall and proud,
for old London town, it is a great place for all and has every transport to get around.
And in the East End with the Pearly Kings and Queens it is a great place to be loud,
and with every culture,
every race and religion and sexuality and with a bit of knees up mother brown,
and some pie and mash and liqueur and some cockney songs,
here is to the capital that beats at the heart of the nation,
and with eight million people it is a capital so strong and proud.
A Capital that worldwide wins hearts and imaginations wherever they are found.
So now let us raise a glass and drink a beer and loudly cheer,
“Here’s to Her Majesty and here’s to old London town!”