30 Years Of Poems On The Underground: Your Poems

By Londonist Staff Last edited 32 months ago
30 Years Of Poems On The Underground: Your Poems

Last week commemorated 30 years of Poems on the Underground. We asked you to send us your own odes to the tube and you took to you laptops/pens/quills with gusto. Here's a selection of our favourite entries.

Photo by Ekaterina Nosenko (Katia) in the Londonist Flickr pool

Haikus and shorts

When changing at Bank
Be prepared to walk and walk
And walk a bit more

- Valerie Shestakow

Bounds Green is my stop
A Charles Holden station of
1932

- Lindsey Berthoud

Train drivers should be cats
Bewhiskered beasts barrelling under the capital
Furry captains of our subterranean odysseys
Obviously some form of sanitary arrangement would be needed in the cab

- Stephen Keefe

London Underground
Has bang on five syllables
Deserves a haiku

- Janine Booth

Do they class as old?
Is that girl pregnant or not?
My seat doesn’t know.

- Jennie Rae

This stop is Holborn
Next stop is Covent Garden
Piccadilly Line

- David Frankal

Going home by bus.
Crowded, hey, but not much fuss.
Beats running in this weather.  

- Dave  

Veins pump us smoothly underneath the skin of city life.
We sit or stand but grip on.
Swallowed up & spat out at our destinations

- Tricia Richards

Don't stand on the left
STAND ON THE RIGHT,
IDIOTS You WALK on the left

- Zap! I'm Ironic Wolf

Love is in the air...

Peckham Rye to Clapham Junction

Heads down, swaying together
both transfixed by the same jerky beat.
My foot touches yours,
I apologise, you smile.
Then go back to reading your Metro.

- Alexandra Jane

Love is no longer in the air...

The Prince Albert

It was hard to leave
Notting Hill Gate
tonight, a goodbye
of some
permanency,
punctuated by the
transition from
lovers to cool
indifference.

- LC

A Meal and a Movie on Monday Night

Mind the gap, between the train and the platform
Mind the gap, keep clear of the doors
Mind the gap, when the train gets to the station
Mind the gap, the next stop is yours

A meal and a movie on a Monday night
I drank beer, you drank wine
We took the tube to Leicester Square
I think we even skipped the fare

We snuck in to see the film for free
I think we saw Love Actually
Credits roll on the final scene
Then back off home to Willesden Green

Mind the gap, keep clear of the doors
Mind the gap, between the train and the platform
Mind the gap, when the train gets to the station
Mind the gap, the next stop is yours

Now there's a gap between you and me
It's a gap where our love used to be
We’re at the end of the line, playing out the closing scene
More Brief Encounter than Serendipity

- Richard Earls

Photo by Robert Coxwell in the Londonist Flickr pool

The nod to T.S. Eliot

The Under Land

ANGEL is the cruellest stop, leading
Passengers out of the underground, linking
King's Cross and Old Street, exhausting
Commuters with long escalators.
The Northern Line kept us warm, stifling
Us in crowded trains, feeding
A little life with dried tube drivers.

- Jb

Pro tube poems

Everybody's smiling;
a dog is on the tube.
Macaroni hair that's
all curled around my shoe.
A red lead round his muzzle
so his head leans on a thigh,
and I've got the attention
of his brown fantastic eyes.

I'm sad to see him go
as he gets off at Kings Cross.
And every face has changed
now the innocence is lost.

- Jamie Ovens

Talking to a random,
Is sometimes appealing.
Especially when chatting about what your feeling.
The uber driver,
Or stranger on a train,
Can keep you from going insane.
Free therapy on the northern line.
No doubt Influenced by copious intake of wine.

- Sarah Magee

People where they shouldn't be

Wellington surveyed the Belgian's wrinkled face,
'Where's Waterloo?' He asked with little grace,
The old man sucked his pipe and pointed forth,
'You take the Piccadilly line to to Leicester Square then the south bound Northern Line.'
'Buffoon' snapped the Duke, 'I think I'm heading north.'

- Alan O'Kelly

Orpheus on the Underground

Orpheus boarded a Circle Line train at Notting Hill Gate
Bag on his shoulder, notebook and pen in his hand
The carriage was crowded and he had to stand
But that didn’t stop him from singing a song
In a voice that charmed
Bankers in their pin-stripe suits
Secretaries, software developers
And labourers in steel toe-capped boots
Nobody noticed his black attire
The length of his hair or the golden lyre
That was strung across his chest
Until he started to play
Such a sad and mournful tune
That all the nymphs and gods
In the carriage wept
As one
At South Kensington
Eurydice got on
Made her way through the carriage
But Orpheus looked away
Until they alighted at Victoria
Where he was busking for the day
She pursued him through the busy crowd
Until they reached the upper world
The cacophony of rush hour traffic was too loud
He forgot the warning not to turn around
When he did
She was gone
Forever

Bad manners on the tube

Banana Man on the Bakerloo Line

With the delicate, cautious care
of a first-time mother
reaching for her crying baby,
the man on the Bakerloo line train
tip-toes his fingers into his bag.
With surgical precision he extracts
a blackening, limp banana skin.
Not looking up once from his paper,
he sneaks his hand behind his back
and deposits the skin there.
Reading
continues
as if nothing has happened,
just like the cigarette butt flickers,
the chewing gum spitters
the wrapping-paper discarders.
I should speak out, start a revolution
of responsible rubbish but
like the million of tongue-less
citizens, I just watch, and now
dump these words on this page.

- Mathew Friday

Photo by Andrew Smith in the Londonist Flickr pool

Kinetic prose

Finsbury Park

Oh those
bulging bulbous balloon boats of Finsbury
beautiful bobbing balloon boats of Finsbury
Bodacious brazen balloon boats of Finsbury
Baffling beaming balloon boats of Finsbury
bulging bulbous
beautiful bobbing
Bodacious brazen
Baffling beaming balloon boats of Finsbury
How you blow my mind!

- Ant Smith

The Flow

Away from diesel fuelled red giants
Black wheeled and laden with united clans
Now leaving from grey squared paths
In circled stations, posted and planned
Through glass boxed, blue shirted feeders
Giving issued paper trails
That turn through silver circles
To caverned rooms of double rail
A tracked current of power and people
Electric passed by humanity and steel
With voices and fleeting friendly glances
Boarding London’s high windowed segmented eel
The bustle and stride of many footsteps
Silenced by depth and concrete bands
That holds open a speeding network
A quickened pace through the urban land
Held eyes of wrapped up riders
On broadsheet, or magazine, or book
This narrow slot of mind read interest
Interrupted by a chequered stationed look
Some seated in blue crowned softened comfort
While others stand on handed yellow beam
The roundabout of rotating riders
Their cities blood pumped to every seam
Our capitals sunken arterial flow
Giving life and breathe to high-rise frames
A warmth of being to every bodied building
The transported fuel of London’s benevolent flame.

- Dylan Davies

Real heartbreakers

The Sign

He laid out a sign saying I love you all
No matter, colour, race, religion, sex.
Even the pretentious fool.
He hung this sign outside the station
And he played his guitar all through the eve.
Though through the noise he was mute.
This song he spoke was that of change
And how it walked by.
And how even through hell it is worth a try.
His song got loud
But the city got louder.
His vision of freedom was just a ramble.
His expression hoping to get to an ear
To show as a guide.
But it just faded.
Walking past
Walking fast.
Whatever is heard; this song will last.

- James Dylan Tomson

His journey was long
From East Putney to Upney
When he arrived what would he see?

His mother lay dying he had known for some time
He sat thinking of his parting words as the tube trundled along the line

His thoughts shifted to other commuters
Where were they going?
Drinking coffee and rustling newspapers whilst toing and froing

Maybe like he they were travelling towards life changing woes
or maybe to see one of those theatre shows

His journey was long
From Upney back to East Putney
Everybody has their own journey

- L.R.Lowe

Passenger Action

Behind his paper barricade
The Cardigan and Wellingtons
is coughing out a battle cry
against The London Underground

while Badly Matched Accessories,
so late for her appointment with
her City psychoanalyst,
lets loose a sigh of cyanide
on someone in authority.

This is no place for pacifists
and even Sandals takes a stand.
When woken from his dream of spray-
painting the Way Out sign with Man,
he gently flicks the safety catch
and mutters everyone to death.

Suddenly the enemy
crushes our resistance with
a tactical announcement of
'They’ve given us the go-ahead
and soon we’ll all be on our way…'

Submissively surrendering,
we’re forced inside the prison cells
that double up as offices.
Our freedom fighting days are done
until they send us home again.

- Paul McGrane

And the one we have strong reason to believe is about Londonist's Geoff Marshall

Last Updated 27 January 2016

Continued below.