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In The Tube Post by :MorganGold Category :Poems Author :John Presland Date :November 2011 Read :3229

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In The Tube

A tired, working woman, draggle-tailed,
Came in, harsh-featured in the yellow glare
Of electricity; an urchin trailed
Clumsily after her, with towsled hair,
And sharp, pale features, and a vacant stare,
And in her arms she bore another child.

A sick child, doubtless, where all three looked sick;
The poor legs hanging limply, lean and blue,
Dangled grotesquely, for the boots, too thick
For such frail bones a touch could snap in two,
Like clock-weights seemed to swing, as staggered through
The burdened mother, till she found a seat.

Through dark unnatural to unnatural blaze
Of stations rocked the train; it tore the air
To shreds and tatters in the tunnelled ways
With such a noise as when hell's trumpets blare;
We, swaying, faced our fellow-creatures there
Each mercilessly pilloried in light.

The sick child lay against the woman's breast
Asleep, and she looked down on it and smiled,
And with her gaunt arms made her bird a nest
Against her poor worn bosom--sad and mild
In such wise looked Madonna at her Child
Where old saints worshipped, round the altar set.

Such glory of the spirit shone and streamed
In that brief moment, that her form and face
Were rags of vesture only, through which gleamed
The splendour; something of wonder and of grace
Making the poor flesh lovely--all the place
Grew holy with the Mother and the Child.

(The end)
John Presland's poem: In The Tube

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A London Idyll A London Idyll

A London Idyll
I A heavy sky, and a drizzling rain And the lamps in rigid rows; Long smears of light all down the street Where a lean cat stalking goes; Blank, save a glimmer here and there The gaunt dark houses stand-- And a man and a girl against the gate Whispering, hand in hand. There is a little dripping sound Of rain from off the roof; And gleaming like black armour goes The policeman's waterproof. He crosses the road to give them room As he takes his evening

Piccadilly Piccadilly

Above, the quiet stars and the night wind; Below, the lamp-lit streets, and up and down The tired, stealthy steps of those who walk When the just sleep, at night, in London town. Poor garish ghosts that haunt the yellow glare, Wan spectres, lurking in the alleys dark Among the tainted night-smells, while the wind Is whispering to the trees across the Park; For it is summer, may be, and the scent Of new-mown hay is sweet across the fields, But neither summer, nor the gleaming spring One breath of