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Innovation­game

London


A sprawling metropolitan monster
of red brick, now turned into dirty grey
by rows of monotonous chimney stacks
and trains on railway viaducts
above the cobbles, gas lamps and the washing
whose flags n’er flap in the dismal abyss
of fog, soot, drizzle and unceasing noise.
Dampness that drips from overhead arches,
in darkness descends with rhythmic patter
surely corroding the man made iron work
which rumbles and thunders all the night through,
creaking and groaning, vain protestations
of a burden unyielding, o’erpowering,
relentlessly pounding the silent air,
that civilisation may continue.
Towering monstrosities with square windows
overlook traffic-snarled elegant roads
and a million painted vehicles
that hoot and roar with impatient ardour
to finish the day and inert in peace
lie at last in the grave of rest complete,
with flowers whose scent is achievement’s defeat.

Oh, rambling terraces lost in the fog
of corrupted creation subsided,
envisaged by man, the scourge of the Earth,
who defiled beauty and called it progress
in want of a name more apt for the cause,
what say you now the glamour and newness
has worn thin as the make-up on street girls
that frequent your doorways at eventide?
What will the verdict of new generations
proclaim when they too have aged like you,
oh lingering ghost, skeleton of life,
who once boasted proud your city’s greatness,
but now lies in squalor, rejected so?
And as I see more, how sad I become
that a nation should fail its traditions
in so letting such a cancerous growth
choke its grandeur and sap its mighty strength,
that civilisation’s thrombosis
leaves me nothing but dingy smoke stacks
and mile upon mile of rickety roofs.