Blown on the Windrush
Oh London, my London ! Forever so fond,
Yet I heard of the rumours of places beyond –
For further than ring roads and suburban stations
Apparently lies there a wealth of far nations.
How greatly I dreamed of the boat and the train
And the tropical sun, now washed out by your rain.
For my riches are poorly, my cupboards are bare,
My travelling stalled upon your thoroughfare.
Oh London, my London ! You felt my distress.
And pitied my yearnings to quit your address.
For penned by your broadways, I longed to escape –
So you widened my cage from the Steppes to the Cape,
From Hong Kong to Lisbon, from Cairo to Cork,
From L.A. to Delhi, from Auckland to York.
With bright lights and glamours, and chiming Bow Bell,
You brought me the world, and their families as well !
Growing up in the boring countryside, I’ve always liked the idea of immigration – not for myself, far too lazy, but for the rest of the world to do the hard work of coming to me. Though I guess I am a kind-of immigrant into London, and this was written soon after my arrival as I was still marvelling. Looking back, it’s a bit dum-de-dum, but that pretty much summed-up my provincial output at the time. What my poems needed was a splash of colour, and London was just the place for that.