These Poems Should Be Plastered On Underground Trains

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 11 months ago
These Poems Should Be Plastered On Underground Trains

We can't help but think some of the latest Poems on the Underground have been specifically selected to reflect life on the tube.

Fear no more the heat o' the sun, taken from a song in Shakespeare's Cymbeline, brings to mind this vintage TfL poster (although anyone who's been on the tube in summer will know that while it may protect you from the sun's rays, it's still hotter than the sun):

Image: TfL shop

And suddenly it's evening, by Salvatore Quasimodo, is a thought that often hits commuters as they crowd onto the Northern line at 5.45pm and wonder where the day's gone.

As for Elizabeth Jennings's poem, Delay... well that's pretty self explanatory.

But we reckon there are famous stanzas even more fitting. Here are five poems TfL should put up in tube trains next time.

"A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many." Photo: {Laura McGregor}

1. The Waste Land, TS Eliot

A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many.
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.
Flowed up the hill and down King William Street,
To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours
With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine.

If there's one poetic extract that can make City boys/gals look up from their stick market reports for a second, it's this one. Chuck in a line about some joker weaving in and out on a kick scooter, and this poem could have been written yesterday. One to have up on Jubilee and Northern line services calling at London Bridge.

"Oh, come, come, come," said the sardine's mum "It's only a tin full of people." Photo: t-a-i

2. Remember, Christina Rossetti

Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand...

...for I am off to Chalfont & Latimer.

3. Sardine Submarine, Spike Milligan

A baby sardine saw her first submarine,
She was scared and watched through a peephole.
"Oh, come, come, come," said the sardine's mum
"It's only a tin full of people."

Short, sweet and suitable: Spike Milligan's poem is the right size to fit on one of those tube posters in its entirety.

"Do not go gentle into that good night." Photo: Rooney Wimms

4. If, Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you...

...then you're better than 99% of London's commuters,

5. Do not go gentle into that good night, Dylan Thomas

One for the night tubers, this (a service which we reckon the late Dylan Thomas would have got a lot of use out of). Although if TfL wants to turn this into a public service announcement, it should subtly erase 'Do not'.

Have our choices of poetry caused you to lament?
Then please, do scroll down,
And leave us a comment.

(Half-rhyme, yeah?)

Last Updated 08 March 2017