What’s left when you subtract
4 trains an hour to London,
plus 4 trains north on their different lines?
M1 junctions multiplied by the M69,
and the inner ring road’s division
with the bus routes added on?
How do you show your working-out
when you’ve had the traffic circling,
out of bounds in Town Hall Square,
drawn off at new angles to all points
of the circumference? Where d’you look
for the sum of the parts, balancing the equation?
Finding the answer’s more than a number’s game
when the heart’s a beating centre - somewhere to
the city’s pulse, the temperature
of all its travelled, multicoloured spread.
Find the market by following your nose,
ears, eyes - forget the remainder -
and jostle among peppers, coriander,
lychees and pomegranates; bunch close
to fat grapes, the miracle of pineapples;
eye up potatoes, savour new words -
celeriac, fennel, plantain; talk
the languages of mangoes.
Lady, you’re welcome round these laden stalls.
Breathe in ripe apples, smell warm apricots;
belong here - be a part, love.
You’re one of its family - darling,
babes, or sweetheart here. You’re honey,
sunshine, sugar; you’re m’duck.
D. A. Prince
If you have any comments on this poem, D. A. Prince would be
pleased to hear from you.