Looking Up (a marching ditty for London)

Ruth Asch

When you trundle through the city,
Like a cog in a machine,
Breathing monsters' exhalations,
Bearing fumers' exhortations,
Seeing shop-fronts that you wish you hadn't seen;
Pause to feel a moments pity
For your fellows trapped below
- Then look up!

Up above the gleary windows,
And the business-driven men,
Is an ancient world that lingers,
Built by art and loving fingers,
A memorial to the beauty that has been;
Where the dignity within glows
Through harmonious forms without,                                     
Looking up.                                                                    

Noble souls betrayed by fashion                                     
To a gaudy, gross display,
Decorated and degraded;
So these palaces, now faded,
Deck themselves in modern commerce, light and cheap;
But above these rags a passion
Wrote its tale in gracious lines,
Looking up.

Gentle arches soothe sore eyes there
With eternal brooding peace,
Heavy minds leap with light towers,
Sore hearts touch those carved flowers,
Scrolls and statues tell small men of matters deep.
And the spires which brush the skies there
Raise tired earth-bound souls to heaven,                                  
Looking up.

Centuries have nursed and reared
Throngs of men and monuments;
Restless urban spirits' harbour, 
Strongholds of undying ardour,                           
From each age a character of stone lives on;       
Memories to love or fear,
Speak to eyes open to hear,
Looking up.

Poetry Atlas has many poems about London.

Main Location:

London, UK

Sunrise in the City of London