BATTERSEA AT CHRISTMAS
Battersea lay on its back
like an old dog in the sun,
its legs in the air.
A postwar indolence
hung loosely at the kerbs.
Rails gently simmered on their way to homes.
Factory chimneys were idle,
and on this Christmas day
for those still about, dawdling
there was a pint to be had at a corner pub.
An air of honesty led to no false hopes,
no promise of bijou glamour,
while the Thames was a faded Duchess
disgusted but keeping to herself.
Then wise men came, saying
Battersea on its back needed her fleas removed,
a brisk wash in the trough of money,
and all her sad and hopeful dogs put in a home.