Sparrows cant, chirrup along the rooftops,
the morning moans, jolted back from night,
forcibly the world's machine moves,
cogs climb into cars, engines groan into action,
as regimented life kickstarts itself,
wheels ignited, pistons firing, all in unison.
In the commotion, tempers flare, housed in unstable
fortresses, where cars career toward their goals
hap-hazardly, as humans hurtle to work,
aiming to avoid lateness, the angry manager,
the morose head of department, afeared
of losing their treasured occupations and incomes.
And happily installed in their batteries finally,
coffee is consumed rapidly to cement wakefulness,
though the irony is that the brown hot liquid
irritates the nerves and causes more tension,
office terrorism and email wars, hatred
for life itself, for the source of this creation.
As the rain cascades, skidding through
making the sky molten, a seething grey,
the mind awash with thoughts, flooded
in the midst of futurity, three figures
tramp the city streets.
The day's work done, cars glide boat-like
along the rain-soaked road, the fizz of tyres
sounds as the work-stained faces of the masses
pass hurriedly along Oxford Street, umbrellas
like crosiers, leading them forward,
bags strapped over shoulders.
The trio's path leads them through London,
from one rain-soaked alleyway to the next
in search of shelter as the pavement glitters
tantalisingly, like diamonds, fool's gold,
shaking off the gnawing tiredness accumulated.
An hour later, in a shelter, a polystyrene cup of minestrone,
some bread, the stars twinkling overhead,
these three drowse wearily, conversation kept
to a minimum, the moon lurks like a giant eye,
the clouds dispersed, though the damp remains.
James Fountain © 2011