a bad journey to nowhere
We arrived (as the brochure indicated) at a treeless station, only
To find the fond cities dying,
And one or two savage urchins beating
Each other’s faces and tearing clothes.
We learnt later that our relation, Leopold Muckslick,
Having abandoned his job, grew desperately thin, and,
Giving up the Ghost, set himself alight and jumped in the Thames.
(He was unable to greet us.)
After many fretful minutes, filled with the clanging of old bells
and engines letting off steam,
We decided (and not a moment too soon, either) to board a taxi.
As we drove away, a blue-and-white scarfed crowd
of a hundred or more
Began to clash with a blue-and-helmeted crowd of twenty,
at a guess.
Only a side-window of our taxi took a knock
As we screeched beyond the flailing crowds
and cold railings, though
We had realised by then that our journey had no sponsor
And our brochure was a nothing-lyre.
We became preoccupied with Leopold,
With water and with fire.