highgate cemetery, boom and bust, river fleet
Dead Fox in a Cemetery
Twas early in the morning When I went to take the air On Parliament Hill I saw him Like a stoney statue there His arm outstretched and pointing Towards Canary Wharf He spoke just three words to me His voice was low and hoarse "Mind the Gap", he uttered His arm fell by his side His face was hidden from me, The hooded cloak applied. He seemed to float down gently His train was like the surf Into the mist he vanished Like ashes into earth The crows I know had seen him Twas no phantom of the kind But the folk now all around me Were typically blind I mused upon the three words: Voice of the underground? The haveths and the have nots? The dollar and the pound? The mist had all but lifted When I reached the old Caen Wood I'd be nigh on by The Spaniards If it wasn't for the mud "I say sir, can you tell us Where to find the River Fleet? We found the Leg of Mutton; Not what I'd call meat." I span round in an instant There stood a portly gent Behind him was a vagrant His life was almost spent. "I'm sorry if I startled you, We've come to stop the rust Our names are known around the Town: I'm Boom and this is Bust You see, the banks are going to crumble If we don't get there soon We've been drifting in the clouds you see In a first class air balloon We think we can shore up the banks With a good amount of sweat We also need some blood and tears, At present hard to get." "I'm sorry sir the River Fleet Was channelled underground And many, many years ago Unto the sewers bound." "Then down the sewers we will go Until we reach the Thames I'm sure sir, that along the way We'll meet a few old friends Mr Bust, I'll check the cracks While you mop up the silt Effective must these sewers be There's houses to be built." "I'm not going anywhere I'm tired of being Bust I wear the face of misery My life is so unjust." "How dare you sir! How dare you! It is the way of things Don't question what is written By our leaders and our kings So sad that you should witness this He was born to scrub the deck He'll come unto his senses With my jackboot on his neck." The shouting and the sobbing Were left now far behind But the ugly little episode Was foremost in my mind Why must there be Boom and Bust, Why so rich and poor? So many lessons never learned The ass is still the law Where ride all the visionaries With hearts ripped out to bleed And blight these inequalities Of hunger and of greed. Later on, an hour or more A detour nagged my head A walk through Highgate Cemetery Where nature mauls the dead I past the shrine of Marx, "Workers of all lands, unite!" But today, the proletariate Lay dead without a fight And hanging from an angel In a little rustic copse A hooded cloak was lapping On the fur of a dead fox.
© Severn Dwyer. 2008