Friday, June 4, 2010

5/19/2010 – Day Two of England Tour: Hand-in-Hand with a Fellow Vagabond

I feel like a spoiled American

Upon discovering the Internet is a privilege, not a right.

One pound admission for fifteen minutes—

So this is how the rest of the world surfs the Web.

Let’s take this bus and see where it leads us,

Then take on the challenge of finding our way back.

London traffic is no less scary

On the upper hand of a double-decker

As vehicles come within a hair’s breathe

Of head-on collisions.

Below me I see stick shifts with right-hand steering wheels

And not a jay-walker in sight,

But the habit of driving under the influence

Of a cell phone at one’s ear

Is tragically universal.

Hackney Churchyard Gardens

Like a museum, only with pigeons—

Land given by the Knights Templar

In the name of Saint Augustine,

Where the parish buried its dead

In tombs made of stone.

The walled garden is Eden preserved

Where children swing and slide and play

As the Garden of Remembrance

Keeps Holocaust victims in our memories.

Interesting how, in London,

A garden commemorates victims in Czechoslovakia.

But three-hundred forty villagers of Lidice

Killed in a Nazi raid

Should know compassion beyond borders.

As I walk down Churchwell Path—

Named for a medicinal spring that emerged on this land—

Cat Stevens sings in my mind.

“Well, I think it’s fine, building jumbo planes

Or taking a ride on a cosmic plane—

Switch on summer from a slot machine,

Get what you want to if you want,

’Cause you can get anything.

I know we’ve come a long way,

We’re changing day to day,

But tell me, where do the children play?”

No qualms about losing our way

And drifting like vagabonds

From foot to bus to cab,

Heading upriver without a paddle,

Hand-in-hand with a significant other,

And our wonder is childlike

At undiscovered land—

The hotel welcomes us

And the food is warm,

“But tell me, where do the children play?”

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