Poems

London

Part of Living in the Sky Poetry Collections

A city of stars.
Renowned, and father of legends.
Mother of countless folktales, folklore and mythologies.
An habitation of ancient relics.
Antiquities and castles.
Diversity of tongues, languages, cultures, and apparel.
She is beautiful to behold, and constantly smells of sweet scents of fragrance.
Fragrance of cinnamon bark.
With rose flowers, jasmine flowers, orchid flowers.
Cloves.
Citrus.
Lavender leaf, sage, violets, rosemary.
Sandalwood, rosewood, agarwood, birch, cedar, juniper.
And labdanum, frankincense, myrrh, Peru balsam, benzoin.
With vetiver roots to fixate her aura, and the eagle-eyes of her suitors.
Her linens are the finest, and her gold very precious.
She is majestic in style, elegant in countenance and fairer than her sisters.
Fairer than her cousins, and cannot be compared to her nieces.
She creates new people from the mixture of her people, and uses their talents as ornaments to beautify her borders.
She gives them new religions to sustain their hope.
And great inventions to sustain their lives.
She is shaped by centuries of experience.
Many have invaded her, to claim her beauty, and to live in her sky.
They came with ships, with boats, with vehicles, with planes.
Some walked.
As emperors, as Caesars, as imperialists, as emissaries, as missionaries, as visitors, as students, as writers, as poets, as philosophers, as stowaway, and as refugees.
The Saxons, the Normans, the Scottish, the Romans, the Irish, the English, the French, the Spanish, the Germans, the Danish, the Indians, the Nigerians, the Americans, the Polish, the Chinese.
They come with their cultures, doctrines and religions.
Claiming “it is this way”.
They lay claim to her.
With treaties.
With precedents.
They and their children.
By heritage, economically, politically and socially.
Everyone wants a piece of her.
To lick her honey comb.
Her treasures.
And her glories of a better life.
They want to drink her Thames River, gulp her Brent crude, live in her palaces, squander her City, fly on her pounds sterling, and reign as her kings.
They want her eyes, her waist, her brains, her skull, her legs, her belly, her hands, her mouth, her blood, her breasts, her bones.
Her flesh.
Her name.
They want her soul.
Her heart.
Her body is pulled from every side.
For attention.
They want her jobs.
The want her health care.
They want her welfare.
They want her benefits.
They want her laws.
They want her protection.
They want her God.
They want her religions.
They want her wives.
They want her husbands.
They want her children.
They want her money.
They don’t want her tax.
They want her visas.
They want her royalty.
They want her queen.
And now they want his son.
Yet she keeps moving on.
Like an octogenarian energized with the youth of her grandchildren.
Advancing further.
Day after day.
Slowly but surely.
Moving with time that “waits for no one”.
Fuelled by time, propelled by history and steered by the hope of the common good.
Like a bull, she charges into decades and into centuries and into thousands of years.
Taking with her names that have defined and shaped her history, names that have contributed to her development and names that have glorified her inhabitants.
Taking Jesus Christ, taking Charles Darwin, taking Charles Dickens, taking John Lennon, taking Sir Winston Churchill, taking Isambard Kingdom Brunel, taking Diana, Princess of Wales, taking Sir Isaac Newton, taking Queen Elizabeth I, taking Horatio Nelson, and Oliver Cromwell.
And dragging the footprints of those that complete the equation, her subjects, and the shackles of their habitations.
She charges into uncharted eras, and into socio-political and economic utopia.
Some say “the truth is bitter”.
The truth is that none of them owns her.
She is fiercely independent.
Allows different rulers at different times in her history.
She cannot be owned because she would surely outlive them.
She would outlive their cultures and their languages.
She is owned by her creator, who formed her from the beginning.
No one knows her age because she is ageless.
Have existed for ages.
In different names.
With different occupants.
That christens her.
She is a wonder to her inhabitants.
Sometimes I wonder what her ancestors thought of today.
Many fought for her.
Bled for her.
Lived in her.
Talked about her.
Governed her.
But they are no more.
She always refreshes her quarters with new people.
New cultures.
New laws.
New rulers.
I can only imagine her inhabitants in the next hundreds of years.
Their lifestyle.
Beliefs.
Their cities.
I will be their legend.
Many have come and gone.
Many more would come and go.
Leaving behind their skeletons.
Traces of their cultures.
The impact of their ideologies.
And the children of their unions.
I am here now.
But one day I would be no more.
Gone to heaven, to be with my heavenly Father.
I will see her founding fathers.
Her legends, her patriots and the gallant men who fought for her fortresses, her borders and her peoples.
I will see her poets, her authors, her philosophers, her ministers, her priests and her commoners.
I will see Queen Victoria…
And tell William the Conqueror that his kingdom is now a constitutional monarchy, that parliament now shares power with Brussels, and that his guillotines are now artefacts, sectioned in museums.
I will ask Edward VIII why he really abdicated.
I would tell King James VI that the children of his subjects were debating the dissolution of his once blissful marriage between Great Britain and Scotland.
I will tell him that the King James Bible is now the greatest book on earth, translated into every language and read by people of every nation.
That missionaries like Mary Slessor left Dundee with the book and travelled to the desolate places of the earth.
To the new worlds, the unknown worlds, caves, ancient civilizations and to villages.
She stopped the killing of twins, sacrifice of people, worship of fetish deities, and enslavement of people.
She stopped the encroachment of the Fulani jihads.
That she died of malaria while preaching the virtues of the book to the unknown worlds.
I will tell Queen Mary 1 that the church is bigger, growing faster, like no other time in history, preparing for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
And ask her why she beheaded Lady Jane Grey.
I will also tell the Members of Parliament in 1533 that “unnatural crimes” are now natural laws.
I will tell Henry Fitz-Ailwin de Londonestone that most of her inhabitants now live in Marshalsea.
After my meetings, I will dine with Lady Jane Grey and with Mary Slessor.
And get Christina Rossetti to recite Later Life.
And Thomas Hardy The Oxen.
I will surely tell them what happened in my century, her new people and their ways of life.
I will tell them of today’s London.
That i lived beyond the boundaries of her sky.
The new London.
I will tell them of the Underground.
About the Central Line, Victoria Line, Metropolitan Line, District Line, Bakerloo Line, Northern Line, Overground.
About London Eye, about Big Ben, about McDonalds, about Primark, about Oxford Street, about Freeview, about Chinese restaurants, about Southall, about co.uk, about emails, about Premier League, about wifi, about London Eyes, about David Cameron, about Nectar card, and about British Airways.
I will tell them about London.
The London I met.
I will tell them.
That…
I love London.

Part of Living in the Sky poetry collections

© Nonso Chukwunonye (2013)

I welcome critical reviews and comments.

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16 thoughts on “London

  1. I love this poem. I could see London so clearly through your eyes, and since my teddy bear was just there visiting blogger, utesmile, I have pictures of some of those very places you mention. The history in this piece is amazing, and I love your questions, and through them you weave together people that could not have existed together in real life.

  2. Pingback: London | Ta hendene til din kjære – se på dem og hold dem hardt Disse hendene skal du følge, leie og lede. Du skal få føle på varmen fra dem og kjenne en inderlig glede. De skal stryke deg og de skal holde rundt deg – de er ikke skapt for å så

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