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It's almost four a.m., this city is still sleeping;
The only sounds are of abandoned lovers weeping.
And, as I pace the tired streets,
My pulse is racing to the beat
Of sixties rock'n'roll –
A music that once warmed my soul,
But now its empty echoes blow
Across the slate-grey rooftops.

Along the riverside bob anchored boats, unguarded.
An ebbing tide reveals the jetsam life's discarded.
There hollow shells that take men's shapes
Doss down and dream of some escape
Away from this old town;
But London Bridge has tumbled down,
Its rubble scattered all around –
So when men flee, they stumble.

On corners street-lamps glare, like sentinels alerted.
But parks and squares where young folk gathered are deserted;
Their paths and pavements wait, forlorn,
To hear the searing sounds of dawn:
The hoot of horns, the squeal of brakes,
Delivery vans and motor-bikes,
Commuters hastening to their fates,
At workplace destinations.

It's early morning; asphalt highways cool, forsaken.
In just an hour or two a monster will awaken.
The daily five-to-nine routine
Must then crowd out my silent screen.
And I will bid adieu
To still-life landscapes I once viewed,
Retreat to my cold bed-sit's gloom,
And give in to oblivion.

Goodbye, you noisy town, I've tried my best to love ya'.
I tried, but floundered as your downpours left me smothered.
The droning pitter-pat alarms
Drown out your tranquil small-hours charms.
Sirens screaming through the rain:
No rest, no joy, no peace from pain;
And I will never see again
Your flesh-and-steel horizons.
Woburn Place, Bloomsbury, near dawn
photo: Stephen Alsford

Created: November 17, 2014. © Stephen Alsford