Wednesday 14 June 2017

Urban Diary

If this is still spring, it is one that is thickening into a rich summer texture very fast. Hard to distinguish between the two seasons, really, with the warm days we are having. This park sits in a part of fashionable, hip north London and it is in full election mode, rampant with pro-Corbyn posters, restless with the sort of impromptu psephological chat I first came across 20 years ago on the eve of Blair’s ascension to power.

Scantily-clad sun-seekers form a long and wide human blanket that alternates with nature’s green carpet. I cycle down the path towards the south exit. Along the way I am exposed to blue tooth-powered sound systems blaring out Turkish pop, reggae and mainstream, drivetime American rock. The sunshine swells over the crowds and the fields, providing sunbathers with yet another excuse to peel off another layer of clothing and slap the sun cream on. I am suddenly reminded of Clifford Dyment’s poem, The People:

Thousands and thousands of you there are/entered up by a registrar/sorted, and checked, and written on forms/ready for taxes and war’s alarms.

To me you have no name or place/but only a brief or casual face/I see you with impersonal eyes/as a flux of furs and various ties.

I see you thus, and yet you go/about my body, to and fro/treading the pavement of my mind/goes the procession of mankind.

© 2017

Next Post: “One-Minute Cycle Diaries”, to be published on Saturday 17th June at 6pm (GMT)


  1. If some want to go all sun bathe in and get cancer, power to them. Everyone comes up a number it seems.

  2. I'm not familiar with this poem but I found it very compelling.

  3. The ongoing parade of mankind is a wonder to many of us. I wonder where he is going? I wonder what she is carrying? I wonder how that child got his mouth so full? Mankind is an interesting animal.

  4. That is a profound poem. I agree there is a thin line between spring and summer it seems. Greetings!

  5. You capture the moment in a park... I was thinking of Chicago's "Saturday, In the Park"

  6. Such a profound poem! I hope you are doing well.

  7. I'm glad you had sunshine! And this election was a wonderful reminder that our young people, with their clothes and music that I rarely listen to now, have ideas and integrity and passion. I hope, next time, they kick us oldies into touch!

  8. Hi Mario .. I had to look ' psephological' up - I now hope I remember the word! We are in a time of the going down of the Empire's sun - if it hadn't gone before ... but now it's definitely disappearing ... people, people,people - the cat is out of the bag ... yes they are everywhere ... cheers Hilary

  9. I like the poem but must get it straight about sunshine and heat. What heat? Perhaps I should up sticks and move to London.

  10. I was sorry to leave England right before summer; it is lovely! Sadly a death in my husband's family kept us from traveling to London before we left.

  11. I love these glimpses into London life!

  12. It feels like summer here, too. but that isn't unusual for Georgia. Sometimes it seems like we skip winter altogether, and only have a couple days of spring.

    I loved that poem. It does a great job describing how I feel when driving. So many people on either side, going this way and that, but sealed up in their own little car world. All those potential friends we may never meet...

    Have a glorious weekend.

  13. Very cozy place to rest and relax during these sunny days!

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