Rye Lane, Peckham

Will Hatchett

Sleek and red the sixty-three
Bicycles and vans converge
Peckham’s traffic mingled in
Cacophonous proximity
The noisy vendors’ thrust and glare
Flows to the pulse of Africa
Beauty is on offer here –
False eyelashes and human hair
Scrawny chickens and breadfruit
Mobile phone accessories
The ocean’s harvest, fresh and dried
Giant yams, cassava root

Even the vegetable displays
Assault the eyes garishly
The crimson peppers shimmering
In an exotic cabaret
Affirmed in passion and blood
The dance of life confirms
In texture and continuity
That existence itself is good
And in the churches of Rye Lane
Hope is offered to the poor
Between the pound shop and Aldi
They wait for Christ to rise again

This poem is in Will Hatchett's collection 63, a London bus journey. You can read it here on Scribd.