‘Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty.’
COMPOSED ON WESTMINSTER BRIDGE, SEPTEMBER 3, 1802
After their slow revolve on the London Eye,
the kingdom’s power nexus spread beneath them –
palaces, churches, offices, parade grounds –
many tourists walk across the bridge.
Today industrial scale ‘Find The Lady’
awaits them: six identical sets of mats,
tin cups, balls, and keen punters shamming –
distractions for marks pickpockets will make.
A pair of police constables strides
with intent from the Embankment. One calls out
as the many miscreants disperse.
Good to know that – armed with taisers and batons,
on a bridge fortified against terrorists –
a burly bobby still shouts, ”Oi, you!’
At the foot of the bridge near the entrance
to Parliament’s guarded underground car park,
a Scottish piper plays a pibroch,
‘Lochaber no more’, a lament of exile.
The plangent notes swirl amongst the passing crowds.