Looking away, not looking away –
The happenstance of what may change everything;
Those standing commuters moving off at Charing Cross
For the Bakerloo Line and then your eyes lifting
Above those seated opposite, as one does, to read
Between faster Broadband and Las Vegas –
“Where your accent is an aphrodisiac,” it says,
And where “what happens here, stays here,”
The Railway Children where in the white cups
Of the telegraph wires a young boy knows
That words are carried in the shiny pouches of raindrops.
Like this poem carried for you in the red and white Tube
On the Northern Line in cold January’s real freeze;
Snow is promised in the suburbs so everyone’s scarved
Against the weather. Words taking you back to the fifties
And his boyhood summers before everything changed.
Reaching Warren Street, you’ve read it
Four or five times, absorbed the innocent wisdom
And sense of the thing. Those people opposite
See a crazy old man mouthing words, appearing to sing.
Tony Curtis is Emeritus Professor of Poetry at the University of South Wales where he developed Creative Writing. His New & Selected Poems: From the Fortunate Isles is published by Seren in October 2016 and his Selected Stories: Some Kind of Immortality by Cinnamon Press in 2017. He has written and edited over forty books and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. You can read three more new poems from Tony in the new issue of The Lonely Crowd, which can be pre-ordered here.