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Reflections at Victoria Station.

Reflections at Victoria Station
(London July 2005)

   There is a buzz in the air at Victoria
   Station. Sounds of different voices mix
   With the coming and the going of feet
   That tap rhythms from leather boots
   Echoed by the thud, thud of trolley bags,
   Pulled effortlessly across the station floor.
   Coaches pull in to the numbered gates
   In all shapes, elongated bodies picturesque
   Disgorge, embark travelers and luggage.

   Sunday morning the coach leaves gate 15
   The passengers not of British lineage
   Visitors from distant lost Empires, watching
   Through window frames the fleeing countryside
   Of Turner and Constable escape the lazy eye
   Turning it to stories read from times when
   In England, Kings, Queens and merchants
   Rode gilded carriages with footmen to attend.
   Kings ordered castles be built as Royal gifts
   First Ladies kept the List and entertained
   Gentlemen lovers with tongues dripping
   Couplets, flattered innocent maidens ears
   Les dames in the hunt dressed for the kill
   With hats, bodkin, pari passu sarcasm
   Delivered by the sneer of the fanged smile
   Are defrocked by the passion of Blank verse.

   The patient beau finds the unrequited bed
   Before the cocks crow he leaves her sheets
   Warm with promise of return. He charts his exit.
   tie calls on the muse to soothe her moist loins
   Still alive with the feasting of the night.
   Locks down, bodkin sheathed, his mistress
   Awaits the night to feel his touch, and glow
   In the dim light, like tropic summer roses.

   We join history, its comings and goings
   At Victoria, Egalitarianism's benefactors
   By air and train emerge. New travelers
   Fan out through the gardens and fields where
   Castles and their dungeons are now exhibits
   Their gentlemen and ladies wax figures.
   Lords have for taxes traded kingdom
   And horse, for gain and foreign exchange.
   Now their amusing peacock flamboyance
   Indulgent play, still strutted out at Ascot
   Where the carnival of hats pauses time
   And the thunderous galloping of horses
   Conjures up glory days of jousting when
   Knights like Ascot's thoroughbreds compete
   In joust, honour king, princes, damsels

   II

   Truth, all the world's a stage, and different
   Peoples at different times play many parts
   Each day presents its players, confident
   Knapsacks, cameras flashing, they descend
   on British Isles, where once pirates lived
   ruled the world to which they now play hosts
   to the tourist travelers, No immigrant refugees
   no coolie bakra man, no banana boatman
   no karate chopping illiterate, no sir-man
   Travellers from the East and West and South
   Now richer, wealthier, with dollar and yen
   Searching for Robin Hood and his merry men
   A band of thieves that King and gentry robbed
   To give to poor peasants exclusively White,
   These prodigal pilgrims come to tour castles
   Where the dungeons still stink, racks creak
   And tell stories of man's inhumanity to man.
   Yesterday, school boys in steamy classrooms
   Stood up barefooted, and sang "rule Britania."

   Today, in Nikes, with wives, children, knapsacks
   They gathered at Trafalgar Square and wondered
   About Lord Nelson exalted so high. Pinnacled,
   But not beyond the shit of the common pigeon
   that flies from hand to hand seeking breadcrumbs
   from the finger tips of diversity's cherubs.

   Every hour on the hour Big Ben bangs time
   More sonorous than their school yard gong
   More chimes than bells in the peddler's song
   "Sharpening knives and scissors. Soldering pots".
   Through the Caribbean nights, every where
   Beyond oceans, carried on the voice of BBC
   This sentinel of time kept an empire's vigil
   Counting, watching the changing of the guards,
   Now the New World gathers at the Thames
   To watch Ben keep pace with Father Time
   And awake memories reached deep
   Behind the companion London Eye
   High in English skies they hear spitfires
   Muller protective drones, spire dive
   Time melts, fast forwards: July 7
   London's Tube is hit by Suicide Bombers,

   Below the double-decker view is marred
   The Tube that for a hundred years or more
   Gave safe way is now a traveler's crypt.

   III

   When cracks in the conscience so deep
   Release un-tempered demons held locked
   Forgotten in the cauldrons of perdition
   For countless time in abject formlessness
   Reason cracks, the seas boil, Tsunami
   Monstrous deeds transform Puritan ethic
   And turns its arguments to new purpose.
   Jews, Gentiles, Christians, Muslims, all

   God's infidels stripped of core conscience
   We forfeit our right to lay blame. Tell me
   Who is the wrong doer? Innocence has gone
   Untraceable. The origins of sin are lost.
   So the English sleeps in English beds
   Awakes to the nightmare of world queries
   Can 10 Downing Street and the Oval Room
   Rally civilizations to a Western beachhead?
   Can Bush and Blair rotate the gates of hell
   Undo the evil that has been done,
   Harvest good, return evil to them bones
   Rocking, rattling, looking for a hiding place?
   When Big Ben rings the final stroke
   And them trumpets sound to start the count
   Will the dead of Sept 11. July 7, Spain
   Cancel the dead of Niger, Darfour, Kigali?
   The lava molten in these eruptions spreads
   Scars the nations, inflames, embroils them in
   infernos fanned by Dante's raging fury.

   We wander in many worlds, where each soul
   Listens to its transcendental truths, and meaning
   Understood here, is elsewhere insignificant.
   We inhabit black holes where what we believe
   Impossible, are elsewhere merely our reflections.
   We are the players in stories told by others. And what
   We hear as a bang is a whimper unheard by God.
   We are random sparks scratched on dark matter
   In a universe where stars slowly fade to black
   We are wired to return to ash from which we came
   Dead dust: traveling a universe with no origin
   We seek conscience stripped of matter, invent rituals
   blind gropings for purpose hidden in the belly of God
   Life creates the sea, the land, the birds, the beasts, the trees
   And we the poems, and heaven to soothe the pain
   Of Death that follows on the brilliance of life.

   IV

   In this dreamscape of fading lights
   We lift our flambeaus in search
   Of that space promised, and light lamps
   Flowers and candles mark our exits,
   The journey begins, the expectation of reward
   Ecstasy is impossible in this ephemeral life.
   And for all our arguments mere prattle
   Accompanying the giving and taking of life
   Neither science nor the arts show the way
   To one love. Ambiguity raises barriers
   Thai divide and teach our sensitivities
   To fear and despise our neighbours
   Mark them by their distinction for
   Exclusion or extinction by neglect
   Condemn their children to death camps
   Scale and abandon them to maggots and flies
   They that escape the scales of cruel injustice
   Use inherent dispensability to tragic advantage
   A life sacrificed takes many that denies it value
   And by example shows disciples "How to"
   A way out of the wretchedness of the earth.
   Courage invites them to dance with angels
   To return to the womb of God and be
   Lulled. Somewhere in a silent corner
   in a room in martyrs halls, a mother
   She sobs. "Hush little baby don't you cry".
COPYRIGHT 2006 Black Writers' Guild
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Copyright 2006, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Author:Bayne, Clarence
Publication:Kola
Article Type:Poem
Date:Mar 22, 2006
Words:1163
Previous Article:Life's Deceptions.
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