The island on Eagle Pond is a ruin. The trunk of a long dead tree
Arches in agony into the water,
Not so much hollow as disemboweled.

Six clumps of municipal daffodils struggle for life on earth
Sterilised by goose shit and particulates.
The A24 has no mercy.

South London is not all like this, I hasten to add. Ten minutes walk down Crescent Lane,
Past the Catholic primary with its cuddly Virgin, you round a corner and come across
A temple facing a Stonehenge of LCC flats.

The flats are decaying. Care workers move quickly from door to door.
Above the temple columns a line from Virgil:

‘Here is persistent spring,’ I translate (the temple was originally a greenhouse, 
The poet was thinking of Italy), ‘and in months where it should not be, summer.’
‘Assiduous’ is good.

Drizzle sets in as I write the word ‘summer’ and the city strikes up a tune:
A howling of jumbos comes from the sky, a squawk from a squad car, and naturally one side
Of a passionate phone conversation I don’t want to be part of – ‘She was like . . .’
                              ‘I was like . . .’ ‘Here’s the thing . . .’

The speaker pushing by me, inconsolable.

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