I was born in Barts Hospital (within the sound of Bow Bells) - making me a cockney (although my american father never let me adopt the accent).

When I think of myself in terms of a nationality the only place I really feel that I come from is London.














 










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All content (words and images)
Harriet Duncan
1997-2004
(unless explicitly quoted or credited)
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The London Poems
 


193.
2003
Year of the Dragon
Chinese New Year


Bells of Saint Pauls
Huge lightening crack
Rope of dripping fireworks
Snake across millenium bridge
Looping fizzing all the way
Leap to the tate modern
Round and round the tower
And stop.
left behind trail of burning embers
Clinging to the building
Until they fall away
The string holding them together
Evaporated in the heat.
Traces of the journey.

Later evacuated from
The gallery because the
Roof is alight.



183.

Tight london streets
From the fourth floor
Can only see across
Dark sky
On a rainy evening
Drops falling furiously
In a streetlamp glow
Wet leaves of a tree
Top floor architecture
Finished off with
Fancy facades and statues
That are never seen
From the street.



176.

Before the snowdrops have died
And blossom has bloomed
Spring comes
When the Early Tree
in Clissold Park
Is in leaf.



168.
Picadilly Circus


An unsightly place.
Delicate streams of a fountain
Arch into a Victoriana statue,
Surrounded by old streetlamps
Whose hazy light
Picks up the water
But the cupid is lost up in the darkness
Beyond which the neon
And back-lit advertisements
Have lost their appeal
Except to throngs of tourists
And youth attracted by arcades.
Not so much a place
As a convergence of routes.



161.
Maison Bertreaux


French patisserie
Glass shelves laden with cream cakes
The warm glow from the fifties interior
Spills out onto the wet dark street
Behind the counter is a stuffed cockrel
And the staff discuss Dominique's hair
Two lillies in a clear glass bottle wilt slowly
Literary types check the window display
As tourists dressed for the theatre pass by.
Inside a customer slowly smokes a cigarette
Reading the paper over a cafe au lait.
Next door's pink neon peep show sign
Reflects in the plate glass shop front.



156.
Commuter Silence


In the hallowed halls
Of London Bridge Underground
The only sound is of
A thousand tickets being
Passed through the exit gates.
The ticket hall is quiet though crowded
The link tunnel to BR
Resonates with the sound of
A hundred footsteps.
A man silently gulps in cigarette smoke
Through open oval lips
It feels like all sound
Has been extracted from a film.
Silent movie.
People speak but make no noise.



154.
ICA


Its all weird
The films
The people
The music
The drink.
21st century people
Aspiring to the 1980s.
Bored red head
Playing with matches.
City boys lost their way
Don't know what they're
Doing here.
Thick black rimmed spectacles.
Dreadlocks.
Angular haircuts
Half long half short.
Droopy clothes.
Movies that don't make sense.
Images that aren't related.
Purposefully clashing.
Sitting on the floor like students.
Music ignored but good
Thick beat rhythm.
Outside skeletal trees and mist.



153.
N29


Ahead of me on the top deck
Theres a man with his eyes shut
First his head hangs forward
Then violently swings back
Can't be sure but I think
He's having a wank.



135.
From the Tate Modern


Still city view
St Pauls
Motionless cranes
Green roof
Skyscrapers
Grey sky
Three black speck birds
Float past
White steam
Rises slowly.



133.
Medicine Bar, Upper Street, circa 2000


Alone
Tall trees
Ford Puma
Red table
Empty ashtray
Modern jazz
Boys handstanding
Hand shadows on paper
Women shrieking
Man laughing
Purple walls
Hands in pockets
Chips in paper
Passing pints
Headband boy
White plastic mac
A slide of cyclists
Smokers
Smile.



111.

Walking over Suicide Bridge
I would leap off
In flight
With arms outstretched
Into the beautiful blue yonder
And a flurry of golden autumn leaves
To send me into a white oblivion.



94.

Shaky, red faced drunks
Legs don't work right anymore
Lacking sharpness of mind
Take twice as long
To say goodbye
Dead eyes staring out
From a cloud of alcohol
Hanging out in the squalor
Of Finsbury Park




Harriet Duncan 1995 - 2004