Three Poems For London

I can’t do much from this far away. I am a born and bred Londoner in Poland on a writing retreat. I can’t do much at all really. But I hope these words help a little.

One note of explanation, a Pantoum is, originally, a Malaysian form that repeats lines in certain formal patterns. The second line of the first stanza becomes the first line of the second. The fourth line of the first stanza becomes the third line of the second stanza. So on. The last line needs to repeat the first. You can shift words within the repeated lines to some extent.

London, June 2017

It is time to be silent.
The bodies are still warm.
Let the dogs bark on the hillside.

We do not need yet
to be moving on,
fuel our minutes with applause
or flag defiance.

That much will come,
that much will come.
It is time for our child.
It is time to be silent.

For Them This

My town raggedy coalescence of parts, organ spells, bloody scenes and bone blabber Them one another gone and in forever Bolt from all just this horse slow whatever animal you are you’re in you’re on Am only not who I was forget in amber upside-down dismembered ravelling-un un un rumble-tumbling nervy tight and sick with chance and teeth jabber Others sing tough of mighty frost in breasts None now mine Must please must witness terrible stop Everybody fast out of skin, everybody swims in drown Not for me this my town my city rivery shuddery Listen this listen Bones as wands for them this this

Do We Tell Them? A Pantoum

Do we tell them to keep in from the kerb,
still ride South on the Piccadilly Line,
or, that events, dear child, come round-around,
that we too stepped through fear when small?

Let’s still ride South on the Piccadilly Line,
sing a pop-gun lullaby.
We too stepped through fear when small.
Preach of a never beaten heart!

Sing a pop-gun lullaby:
‘Bad men in your sleep won’t come by day’
Preach of a never beaten heart!
But does the little that kept us then, keep us now?

Bad men in their sleep do come by day,
I will not take my children into town.
The little that kept us then won’t keep us now.
I am not brave. Keep in from the kerb.

© David Gilbert, 2017

© David Gilbert, 2017

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One thought on “Three Poems For London

  1. Very powerful. Very beautiful. Especially “Do we tell them?” strikes a deep chord with me as a mum of 3 young boys living in London.
    I am a South African who has been living and working in the UK for 20 years and in London for the past 13.

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