Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Big Ben

The recent news that Big Ben will be silent for four to six weeks brought to mind a poem of mine which features the old clock and as I haven't posted a poem or short story here in a while I thought I'd put this one up for perusal.

Big Ben tolls the sombre voice of midnight

Big Ben tolls the sombre voice of midnight,
Awakens pigeons from their slumber.
Invites dank fog which follows roiling tide,
Up the River Thames, creeping, seeking.

Tendrils of misty vapour climb embankments,
Explore abutments of silent bridges,
Reach into gas-lamp illumed alleyways.
Which concede to its grasp and darken.

As the last knell fades into oblivion
So too does the sparkle of life in her eyes.
The mist reaches her now, inquisitive, pervading.
But to her, the dewy blanket comes as a friend.

Gently it covers the once warm, now still form,
Whose last movement is but the slowing,
Dripping, coagulating pool of blood, whose steam
Joins it fellow vapour, and explores onwards.

It writhes now, as he stands, wipes the tool of his handiwork,
And returns the blade to the leather doctor’s bag.
He surveys his great masterpiece.
A pique of displeasure crosses his face,

As London’s smog, in its shame, tries to hide his art.
Far off a shrill whistle sounds; a shutter closes.
Her whimpered cry, even though stifled, had found ears.
With a last, longing look, he turns; black cloak swirls, churns,

Her wispy blanket, parts, saddened to show what he called art,
What she called terror and unbearable pain,
The police, in their ignorance, shall call it ‘A Mystery’
History writes… ‘Jack the Ripper’s first victim’.

He leaves now, trailed by the mist too frail to hold him.
It condenses on the gaunt metal railings,
On the shimmering gas-lamp; it turns to tears that fall on her face
Only the fog knows him; but it can do nothing, but weep.

No comments: