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September 21, 2007

Blue sky goes down behind the buildings
all the way to the shining river.
Buses are rumbling
over Waterloo Bridge;
my sandals vibrate.
Not a moment’s rest —
I feel every semibreve
in belly, chest, throat.
I look towards Blackfriars
as particles of road dirt
are drawn silently
to the walls of the National Theatre,
and voices rise like birds
over the pale dome of Saint Paul’s.

The city’s electric hum
laps at my skin
as I lie in the dark
wearing only earplugs.
I don’t hear the street cleansing team
emerge from the depot;
the roar of the squat vehicle
with revolving brushes,
the clang of empty litterbins
hurtling back into place.
I don’t hear the clubbers arguing,
the purr of rickshaws,
the inline skaters rattling past.
I sleep in silence, twitching.

by Polly Blackley

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  1. September 21, 2007 at 8:23 pm

    This is wonderful, Polly.

  2. September 22, 2007 at 8:54 am

    Polly, I love the way this poem explores the relationship between two senses, not just hearing. And it’s so evocative of London too. Thank you!

  3. September 24, 2007 at 6:27 am

    Polly. Your words have me back in London’s hum. You have encapsulated it perfectly.

  4. September 24, 2007 at 7:09 am

    A city’s pulse, a body’s twitch in sleep – interesting. Well done, Polly.

  5. September 26, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    So vivid & clear a depiction that I nearly headed for the station for a taste of the city!

  6. Bill
    October 2, 2007 at 8:35 am

    I really like the sky going down round the backsides of buildings–out, then in–like sound going round our own, other backside, sleep. Sides hidden in sight’s shadow are dreamed of in dust and sound.

    I like!

  7. Bill
    October 2, 2007 at 9:48 am

    And the persistent twitching, twice hidden — Aaghh!! (hands to head)– Wonderful.

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