I chose a congested way
An overground tube
From the desolate space of Vauxhall
To the cramped confluence of Clapham Junction
Riding its tidal wash
On the varieties of 77
I learned to know its multiplicity of islands:
The brown square stones of Springfield
And Landsdowne estates;
The micro world of Lambeth college
And the grimy parade where they filmed
My Beautiful Launderette.
I also learned its churches:
Set back, the independent chapel of Courland Grove
Hid inconspicuous amongst its concrete;
The mission compound of Springfield Methodist
And the secularised complex of the
Lady Margaret Hall Settlement.
Further on where the 3036 aspires to Lavender Hill
I marked the Victorian bulk of an all too earth-bound Ascension.
But I chose a postwar factory
Masquerading as a church,
Before odious Lambeth clambered
Into the perfumed aspirations of Wandsworth
Clapham Baptist -
A factory for humanity if not always for the Spirit.
This was my first home
It twisted my body into cruel contortions
But was my first surfboard
To ride the tidal wash of London.