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A companion collection to Sand of the Thames – further leaves from a city life

Falling Down

1st edition (2006) now out of print
2nd revised and enlarged edition pending

Bright Early Morning
The Sill
Light in Soho
The Violin Recital
The Bin
The Gap
A Prospect of the Roundabout
Eros in Aluminium
Philosophers of the Window




A half-built sun went up
and a ruined one came down
over the wrack of London town,
the long grey reaches of the river
where slumbering commerce stirred
between dead jetties and weed-grown wharves.

Through the wind from door to door
the workforce walked in hordes,
silent, with eyes full of words,
putting their coats on hangers
and warming up their machines,
with a spoonful of coffee for their dreams.

When the morning had half worn off,
the styrofoam would bloom in parks
and pigeons strut and flirt enlarged
and sparrows stuff themselves with crumbs
and the overcoats tied up with string
go up to the oxter from bin to bin.

The teatime DJs would warble
and the clocks play all the old tricks
till starlings flew off in slicks
to fill the evening air
where still a cyclone broods
on the subtext of office moods.

Still the weatherman drawn in dots
consolingly points to the chart
but there’ll be no change in the heart
that jumps in the dreams of the night
like failing vertical hold
on the last television in the world.

Down the black lanes of their flight paths
clumps of lights winked slowly past
and the show went on with a smaller cast
of stumblers and bouncers, of cleaners and girls on the game
who’d known this morning when it came
over the roofs in a ball of flame.