To go with my photobook on the Festival of Britain celebrations of last summer on the South Bank, I have written this poem
I’m lost among these Londoners
and semi-Londoners I live among,
yet London stirs me whenever London stirs.
The silent losers and the real winners,
Enigma-breakers in the crowd, unsung,
were lost among these Londoners
who drank in tents to scientific wonders,
who danced on terraces where Skylon hung;
London stirred them whenever London stirred,
and would include each bunch of foreigners
who came to stay. No matter how much stung
or lost among these Londoners,
new cohorts came to interleaving boroughs –
a hovel built on clay, mist-bank where sunrays clung,
when London first stirred, whenever London stirred.
Smoked rubble, lives peeled off in pastel layers –
the bomb-sites pollinated, bells were rung,
and each voice lost in other Londoners’ –
a climb of sound, a point where nothing stirs.