The city of London was a Paradise once:
Green Park, Forest Hill, Wood Lane, Bushey…
Where animals lived in harmony with nature:
Heron Quays, Barkingside, Goldhawk Road, Hendon…
And humans lacked the tools for mass destruction.
Their numbers thrived; with habitat and food for all:
Buckhurst Hill, Blackhorse Road, Lambeth North, Frognall…
And homo “sapiens sapiens” looked on in wonder and awe:
Hornchurch, Angel! Isle of Dogs, Bayswater…
Paying tribute to fellow beings with place names.
But fascination soon turned to exploitation:
Shepherd’s Bush, Chalk Farm, Snaresbrook, Stockwell…
And man was bent on killing his animal brother:
Kilburn Park, Battersea, Bow Road, Hatch End…
Making money from his flesh and blood.
Capitalism killed off all Compassion:
Mansion House, Highgate, Elephant and Castle, Bank….
He abused ‘till there was no tomorrow:
Oxford Circus, Bond Street, Burnt Oak, Harrow…
While the heavens despaired over man’s Free Will.
London was soon emptied of her creatures:
Queensway, Kingsway, East Ham, West Ham…
As Church and State betrayed earth and creature…for Transcendentalism:
Parson’s Green, Canons Park, Abbey Road, Blackfriars…
And concrete, material ‘values,’ were preached and flourished.
Until all that remained was a distant green memory:
Oakwood, Elm Park, Greenford, Heathrow…
In a deathly, nether world, gone underground:
Imperial Wharf, Chancery Lane, Manor House, Morden.
Hurtling… towards the End of The Line
Illustration: Claire Palmer
This poem was first published on International Times, 9 October, 2014.