...London bridge is broken down...

Pausing with candles upon iron stairs
we think across the river: all you need you purchase
- the electric heavens of omnicompetent stores,
the gilded lifts and public foyers full of torches,
	and the ravishing

There your hypnotic children choose the bowler,
muting the gabriel of the blood; there the child's
laurels are belted with marble; the Saturday foot-baller
comes Lazarus from ledgers; shopsoiled ambition builds
	up a mastery
final as yesterday.

Here the clergyman to Chinese alleys
descends and slums, with flashing teeth; promises
a Mayfair full of minstrel-boys with fat white bellies;
turns our brain-bowery green, would make rickety us
	oh so muscular,
	clean and masculine.

A penny tram returns him to the edges,
the suburbs of minds, to see the houses like
a pile of tickets; or to dreamers' villages
within the Underground, where only pigeons look
	at the eternal

Chase if you will his happy car, that threads
the almond lawns, the prettiest of postal districts;
here's the hot cellar, the arch in the dangerous roads,
where not for beauty or bounty the rodent boy instructs
	rat-sisters, labouring
	into the labyrinth.

These have the sour virtue of being alone,
the ravagers of railings, the secret marauders;
born to no god's metropolis in the sun
of acceptance; gallant walkers, desolate riders
	forth; yet furtively
	active and lovely.

Candled on iron stairs (see now), their hands
raised against rotting metal, shadows of souls.
The streets run homeward (hear now) like the cry of hounds,
to you, in outer light, whose infinity cancels
	with Bank Holiday
	no man's malady:

home from the living centre, westward ho
to death; and the still houses evil as new oceans.
Here's the machine with teeth, here in the gas limbo,
(feel now) the running terror; the wheel's revolutions
	faster, and fatal
	upon the metal.

Where, in what circle of this real hell
(or in the drab not-world your chanting Dante finds
towards green pastures), where is the end - the whole
of hiding or of living?  the beast, the core of minds,
	in its ivory
	park of slavery?

Lost.  Leave then, in the shadow of pigeons, defiant
children living - to unbuild the city, exploit
the crumbling bridge, fight the invading worm, hold the fiend
fast.  And oh to these, though flanked by fear and blindness, let
	from the ambush rise
	tongues, and creative eyes!