London: A Reply


A year on, and I can’t hear you.

You have left me, dear London,

like I left you. I could break this tiff,

walk the seven minutes to your big white bus

climb aboard with a spotted hankie on a stick.

I know you’ve tried, you’ve sent me

images through the ether: Soho

early morning, Hyde Park in the sun,

Charing Cross Road’s bookshops

(before the chain of dull cafés),

but in this reaching out, you’ve made yourself

so much quieter, perhaps in the way

two people mirror each other,

adjusting the tilt of their heads,

how they move their arms, take on accents.

Yours is a kind of wooing, dear London,

and while I cried and cried at leaving you,

you’d taken on airs, become grandiose

with the possibilities of capital. And I saw

something new, somewhere I’d visited

long ago on a rainy night, playing pool

in a pub near the bus station.

Had I lost the game that night, perhaps

I’d never have come here –

that’s how decisions are made. I’m sorry,

dear London, it’s over. But you’ll go on

reinventing yourself, building taller,

as if you could see me from one of your towers.


‘London: A Reply’ is part of an ongoing collaboration #filmvpoetry between Katrina and the visual artist Tim Ridley. ‘London: A Reply’ was written in 2 weeks in response to Tim’s film ‘Rooks/bus station’. Tim has 2 weeks to make a new short film in response to Katrina’s poem. Tim’s new film will be posted here on Monday 16 Feb.