On a Night-Walk through London

(Though the core of the city expel the brush of the footprint
bent by pavement-tree shadows, old windows and walls,
phantasmas of colour and light on the black sturdy marvellous river,
the seedy aspect of trade-streets – though the magician
war-mongering teeth of the city snap where I am not,
though the grace and winding clatter of the deaf wheel
allow no hub for extra sense of human – )

I have gone at night down corridors, through halls
open as arm-sweep of a palace-owner, –
I have met the wind browsing through its resort,
and have felt the doors thrown back to the poetess sky
that has other jewels far back in its creation:

London London London my soul is stitched
to the flagstones, grant me membership of your palace,
trace a certificate to my advancing bones,

that scattered lost broken they have borne a witness,
a citizen.

I had gone to a party in Hampstead, missed the last train and walked home to Wimbledon. Got in at 5 a.m. and spent the next day at school telling classes about the walk. The experience was still strong and they were held. (It wasn’t always that straightforward.)

I had been teaching a few years by now.

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