Up, up the raven flies

from the Tower's scaly height,

and in its coal black downward view

the Thames is shrouded

as low slung day

turns to charcoal night.


This he sees:

Sailing ships are scuttling

encrusting the sun's last rays

the spines of wharves close - pressed

for all the world's commercial gaze.


Matelot and lashkar dark and fair

come to Chinatown, opium dens

share their spoils,

indulging appetites for slattern and tavern.


Up, up the raven flies

with all its secrets wing concealed,

holds fast its legacy of London Town

in Georgian streets to dip and dive

into garret and draughty loft


then back to where its wary nest

resides on deepest lintel

to dreams of darkness troth and blood

remnants to digest.





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Sun 27th Oct 2019 19:51

Hi Jennifer, the picture builds as always when you come on. That's a book i'm not familiar with - i'll get clicking thanks. The story is a new one on me - I believe today the ravens are prevented from leaving the Tower by clipping or some such method. There's a history in everything. Also check out swan upping - maybe a poem to follow?


jennifer Malden

Sat 26th Oct 2019 19:36

Really brings back Old London. Have you ever read The Maul and the Pear Tree by PD James? It's a report of a grisly murder at London Docks. I had a relation who lived up in Sutherland, and when a raven died at The Tower they used to find another and send it down to London! Cross me heart etc. etc. Great atmosphere.


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Sun 13th Oct 2019 11:12

Thanks John for your detailed reading and comments. Glad the idea works - I wanted to go back a long way in time. The Georgian period would not have included cranes but that was the image I had when I spoke of spines. I'll take that liberty for now! The word mantel I have changed to lintel - you were right there.

Appreciations. Ray

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john short

Sun 13th Oct 2019 02:37

Enjoyed this poem despite some bits I didn't get like line 4 of the second stanza and 'deepest mantel' but the bird's eye view of the Thames is great and works well, although these days it would probably be a drone's eye view. However, this is back in the day when life was still recognizably human.

John S

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Sat 12th Oct 2019 21:54

May I say welcome back Hannah - was thinking of you only yesterday strangely enough. Your comment has given me a real buzz, thank you. I hope the world is well with you.


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Hannah Collins

Sat 12th Oct 2019 19:28

Love this poem. The ravens are impressive and beautiful, as well as having a legendary role for London.


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Sat 12th Oct 2019 13:52

Hi Graham. Thanks for sharing those reminiscences. There, s refuge in the past. In the 70s I used to drive round the back streets to see the cobbles and cannon bollards and warehouses. I used to do the river boats and pull in to Wapping stairs. I'll get my coat. I

Don were you abducted? Theyre allergic to Aussies. I'm glad you enjoyed my raven's romp thanks!


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Don Matthews

Fri 11th Oct 2019 14:20

Ray, I did read this, (cross my heart and hope to die), but when I went to press 'like' it had vanished - 'poof' - I reckon those aliens had snaffled it like they did Nigel's.

Graham, I'm glad you've got this one back from the aliens. I can now press it.

Don't fret Ray, I did really read and like it. If only those aliens......😋

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Graham Sherwood

Fri 11th Oct 2019 13:32

Haha! it needed a few reads Ray but you have painted a wonderfully dark and suspect picture of old mother London. I used to drink in the Docketts pub right on the water at Blackfriars. It took me back.

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Fri 11th Oct 2019 12:04

Thanks for liking this Graham. Now I know someone read it!


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