I twinkle, lonely, like a fading star,
The Ballad of Camden Town
I walked with Maisie long years back
The streets of Camden Town,
I splendid in my suit of black,
And she divine in brown.
Hers was a proud and noble face,
A secret heart, and eyes
Like water in a lonely place
Beneath unclouded skies.
A bed, a chest, a faded mat,
And broken chairs a few,
Were all we had to grace our flat
In Hazel Avenue.
But I could walk to Hampstead Heath,
And crown her head with daisies,
And watch the streaming world beneath,
And men with other Maisies.
When I was ill and she was pale
And empty stood our store,
She left the latchkey on its nail,
And saw me nevermore.
Perhaps she cast herself away
Lest both of us should drown:
Perhaps she feared to die, as they
Who die in Camden Town.
What came of her? The bitter nights
Destroy the rose and lily,
And souls are lost among the lights
Of painted Piccadilly.
What came of her? The river flows
So deep and wide and stilly,
And waits to catch the fallen rose
And clasp the broken lily.
I dream she dwells in London still
And breathes the evening air,
And often walk to Primrose Hill,
And hope to meet her there.
Once more together we will live,
For I will find her yet:
I have so little to forgive;
So much, I can’t forget.
—James Elroy Flecker
I wander thro’ each charter’d street,
Near where the charter’d Thames does flow,
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.
In every cry of every Man,
In every Infant’s cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forg’d manacles I hear.
How the Chimney-sweeper’s cry
Every black’ning Church appalls;
And the hapless Soldier’s sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls.
But most thro’ midnight streets I hear
How the youthful Harlot’s curse
Blasts the new born Infant’s tear,
And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse.
Stripped and dethreaded on the Mile End Road,
Laid, finally, bare to the melody of fried chicken below. And you.
Pleased you are not in suburban Nottingham,
instead we are fucking on the mile end road.
Met a girl, knocked me dead
Chalk outline, Camden Head
Rain on black railings, as my conversation is failing
Please rest me assured dear, do I have something to fear?
As the rain falls in the darkness on my roof window
I am reminded that I am here, in the greyness of Bow
Close to the chipped white steps of the Southbank centre, I fondly recall the time I had sex beneath them.
I grimace and wonder where we’re going to fuck next.
Walking to Amy’s
In old Camden Town.
Looking for answers,
Where they just can’t be found.
The skies over Big Ben were drab and grey
It still pisses it down, even when I get paid.
London is a river-spanning barrow.
The tube is a warren living in its belly