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

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