Here, where, it seems,
All the gravies of London have run,
A tug
Lugs its scrum of barges
Through flurries of silt
And the great persuasions of the tides.
The Thames, a girlhood in meadows,
A verb of itself, a wending
Refracted by the rising in a mason’s eye,
By evensong
In the majestic Wren of St Paul’s.
In midsummer it is flawless,
Royally slow,
Gorgeous with plunder,
Sugared, eddied with tea dust,
Brushed with silken lights.
By winter
Prowled by ravens,
Its sound
Is the lurching of hulks prisoned to history,
The deathly hinge of traitor’s gate.
It is a gathering of migratory gulls;
It is Will Shakespeare’s words muddled in a fog,
And his ferryman
And the glow of his breath
Blooming in the frostlight
Of a cold All Hallows evening.




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