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Down the Pentonville Road

Updated: Jun 11, 2021

IMAGE: Photo of a painted interpretation of the text

Cranes turn sad, slow circles

and stunted balcony plants

lift shaking leaves in prayer

to a slate sky that isn't listening.

The Roches sing in my ears

as they go down to Hammond

and I go down this road

where three teenagers stand

with sticks torn from trees:

uncertain warriors wild-eyed as cats

scared of what they could do

to the two snapbacked boys

who peer fearful round a corner,

then run like deer.

White-bearded Moses on a mountain

bike parts traffic like waves

two snouty lurchers panting

free and faithful in his wake.

I pass a bus shelter

where schoolkids fall joyous

into giggling group hugs.

I smile too, and my heart hurts

at the stupid beauty of this world

but I fear they will

grow up round corners,

hiding from the wild-eyed.

Near Kings Cross

blood sugar crashes:

I walk a spongy stagger

across sagging trampoline.

I want to stretch out my arms,

a high wire walker wavering

along slack grey lines

that lead to train, and home.

When I wait to cross the road

the world tilts all to one side

and I hold cold railings tight

for fear I might

fall off.

Writing by IAIN ROWAN


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