London’s Glories

St. Paul’s dome illuminated before dusk,
The zoo rhinos each with a tusk;

Claridge’s for peaceful afternoon tea,
Kew’s hive with no sign of a bee;

The Globe’s Taming of the Shrew,
The smell of Regency Place’s loo;

Highgate Cemetery with its gravestones,
Ham House eating tea with scones;

Taking a black cab for a ride,
Chelsea pensioners uniforms worn with pride;

James Smith’s umbrellas in case of rain,
Huntingdon museum displaying a brain;

Free concerts on Trafalgar Square,
Geo F Trumper to cut one’s hair;

Riding on a number 15 Routemaster bus,
On which Londoners never want to discuss;

At Greenwich standing on the Cutty Sark,
Visitors finding there’s nowhere to park;

Blitz scars on Cleopatra’s Needle,
A Burlington Arcade authoritative beadle;

Red phone boxes smelling of urine,
Smithfield’s streets once walked by bovine,

Samuel Pepys writing his diary,
Charterhouse that once was a friary;

The Millennium Bridge not now wobbly,
Thames foreshore very pebbly;

Pedestrian crossings telling look right,
The Shard with its impressive height;

Uber drivers never knowing their way,
It’s possible to see a new play every day;

Turner’s art on display in Tate Britain,
Tate Modern’s contents treated with disdain;

The Tower of London’s Norman tower,
Red poppies in the moat, full flower;

Broadcasting from Parliament Green,
New Year’s fireworks, must be seen;

Victoria Embankment beside the Thames,
The National Gallery’s its painted gems;

Vertigo on the Millennium Wheel,
Portobello Market for an antique deal;

St. James’s Park in Springtime,
The Greenwich Meridian Line;

Doggett’s Coat and Badge river race,
Hampton Court with its sense of place;

The Chinese Embassy’s protestors,
The classical architecture of my ancestors;

The New Year chimes of Big Ben,
Anything designed by Christopher Wren;

The view from the BT Tower,
Battersea station which gave us power;

Waterloo Sunset once sung by The Kinks,
The Cheshire Cheese selling more than drinks;

The highest pod of the London Eye,
Garden Museum’s grave of Captain Bligh;

Less rain than tourists expect,
Banksy graffiti in need to protect;

Modern art on the Fourth Plinth,
Hampton Court’s Maze, a labyrinth;

New Johnston font on the tube,
Modern art viewed at the White Cube;

Christmas at the Geffrye Museum,
ENO performing at the London Coliseum;

The museums of South Kensington,
No. 1 once owned by Wellington;

Realising that Dr Johnson was right,
Nelson’s column what a height?;

The Santa Maria weathervane at Temple Place,
The Tate Modern Turbine Hall what a space;

The Tube’s announcement Mind the Gap,
Old ghost signs which now look crap;

A shortcut down back streets not seen before,
Passing on London’s rich vein of lore;

Eyeballing a famous person in the street,
Knowing beneath my feet is the River Fleet;

Protected gas holders against a bright blue sky,
Keeping right at the Savoy that I have to comply;

London plane trees shedding their bark,
Piccadilly Circus adverts in the dark;

London’s constant resilience for two-thousand years,
At Greenwich straddling the world’s two spheres;

When Wordsworth penned ‘Upon Westminster Bridge’,
He did a lot better than my verse:
At Pentonville prisoners doing their porridge,
This rhyme’s gone from bad to worse.

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