Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Last Sunday I went to the Museum of London, an amazing museum at the Barbican about the complete history of London, with four galleries each covering prehistory, Roman annexation, Medieval/Renaissance and the 17th century fire and plagues. It's an awesome spot, and highly recommended to anyone interested in London, its history and development.

This poem, written by Bernardine Evaristo, is carved into glass in the entrance of the prehistory gallery. I'm not a huge poetry person. I say I'm too ADD, but really I just lack the patience that it takes to be profoundly with words the way you need to be to really get poetry. That being said, since I journeyed to City Lights bookstore a few weeks ago, and bought a book of Beat Poetry, I've been getting more into it. I actually took 15 minutes to really be with this poem when I was at the museum, and I even took a picture of the glass so I would be able to bring it home with me.

Take a few minutes and enjoy...
(and thank you for your wonderful words, Bernardine Evaristo):


Time has frozen this midwinter night
Outside, the pavement coated with a transparent skin

Inside, I retreat into down, sensing the vibration
Of polar sheets creeping south, burying us

A thousand feet under blue ice, diverting the river
Out of the Vale of St. Albans into the Lindon Basin

Welcome home. Welcome first citizen, chasing
Reindeer over the hip joint with France,

Tropical and glacial cycles, waves of migrators -
Your long trek north, from below the Sahara,

Circling a camp fire by the Thames
The hair of wolves over tight backs; dread -

Locked beards, un-polished eyes, your slow,
Heavy mouths chewing fresh rhinoceros, roasted

No spices, unaware that you are dislocating
From France as you eat, that the Channel is rising,

That my heated body floats above a London of birch
And pine forest, of open grassland where gangs

Of straight-tusked elephants gather in Trafalgar
Square, hippopotami wallow in the brown marshes

Of Pall Mall and from Marble Arch I gaze longingly
On sheets of marigold, meadowsweet, mint

No comments: