Wandsworth Rd.

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

Congested, certainly

It twisted my body into cruel contortions

But was my first surfboard

To ride the tidal wash of London.