London

London is one thing to the man who dwells
In her, another to the passer-through,
A third to stripling youths who see her new,
Splendid with sooty spires and bright with bells.
She has strange secrets that she slowly tells,
Swift miracles that are perceived by few;
She mingles nectar with a witches’ brew,
A hundred heavens with a hundred hells.

Walking through Westminster, that shrine of Kings,
That web of History, that womb of Law,
I met a man from Colorado Springs,
The Kodak slung below his moving jaw;
Both of us looking on the selfsame things,
But neither seeing what the other saw.

Published in PUNCH, June 3, 1953

(note in the image where it originally reads “camera” but has been correct by Richard after printing)

London

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