I see you now you wanton harlot
On street corners beckoning lustered
rainwashed colour across your windowed eyes
half closed and glinting slyly in the sashes.
Shamelessly pouting for selfies in ornate arches
your well turned railings curve away
to darkly inviting cul de sacs and mews
where I could lately linger
as white stars pass by silent in the twilight
Skirting the hallowed halls and vaults
Filled with plundered treasures
A Lovely bust framed in crumpled iron and brass.
There may be snow on your roofs
but the flame in your grates
still warms the cockles of my heart.
Mature as a rare vintage, sparkling and heady
you’re drunk on Saturday nights
but always daisy fresh by Monday,
ready to throw open your doors to
your faithful legions of furtive lovers.
To paint your nails and gloss your lips,
cinch your corsets and tress your hair,
It takes work to look this good.
It hasn’t just happened by chance
experienced hands attend your needs.
But I see through this glamour and sheen
past the lofty hordings and miles of scaffold,
beneath the lime spattered aeries and sandblasted colonnades
to the liver bird behind the painted smile.
Albions’ finest daughter’s
no spring chicken now It may be true,
maybe you’ve become
a little portly round the docks
from funnelling all the foreign fancies
when you were young and more accommodating
to the whims of merchants and the largesse of the seas
Maybe a little too keen on the old baccy
You’ve been smoking like a chimney for years,
sooting up your complexion, silting up the flow
making you cough and spit up in the river.
But you’re better now I see
amazing what a bit of slap and a
cheeky nip and tuck can do.
Blousy and brassy you strut these days
from estuary to inland
your crooked curving smile
beguiling me always.
For all the flash and neon,
Polished glass and burnished silver
the face I see
that glorious rising visage
before is you
ageless and evergreen
and I know as we grow older together
that I will always want
to hold your urbane hand.