Category Archives: Poetry

A View of the River

A VIEW OF THE RIVER.
( From the 1983 community play of the same name, by Alan Giley.)

The Thames at Shadwell

On the waterfronts of London,
There were buildings full of dust.
They used them to store memories,
Broken glass and rust.
The barge of broken industry
Lay sinking in the silt.
And nothing passed between us,

Except the passing of the years,
Till you came and you consulted us
With fingers in your ears.
You promised us a future
and then began to dither.
Can’t afford the price you’re asking for
a view of the river.

Tus and barges work the Thames

In a street that still remembered
A thousand smells of spice,
Deals were made and plans displayed
And hands shook on a price.
Then the place that no one wanted
Became just the place to be
And you announced we must renounce
Our right of tenancy.

You sell the land from under us
Till the East becomes the West.
And you become the Islanders
And we the dispossessed.
You talked about a wind of change,
But we just felt the shiver.
Can’t afford the price you’re asking for
a view of the river.

On the waterfronts of London
You construct your colony.
You wine and dine. We just decline.
Unwanted property.
Our river is diverted.
Our geography renamed.
But high walls can be broken
And views can be reclaimed.

We want a bit more than
the least that you can give.
We want some more respect
For who you’re dealing with.
We’d ask you for the whole world,
But we know you don’t deliver.
Can’t afford the price you’re asking for
a view of the river.