Celebrating Black History Month October 2022

I Sing of Change by Niyi Osundare

I Sing of Change Niyi Osundare I sing of the beauty of Athens without its slaves Of a world free of kings and queens and other remnants of an arbitrary past

Look out for our Black History Month Leaflet at selected London Underground stations through October.

We hope you enjoy the wonderful range, artistry and continued relevance of these poems, which over time have reached the three million daily travellers on London’s Underground system.

The poets include Nobel Prize winners Wole Soyinka and Derek Walcott and Poet Laureates Lorna Goodison , Niyi Osundare and Jackie Kay

You can see our Black History Month Leaflet here

Poetry offers hope and a voice to speak in difficult times.

You took away all the oceans and all the room by Osip Mandelstam

You took away all the oceans and all the room, Osip Mandelstam ' You took away all the oceans and all the room. You gave me my shoe-size in earth with bars around it.'

’25 February 1944′ by the poet Primo Levi  translated by Eleonora Chiavetta

25 February 1944 Primo Levi tr. Eleonora Chiavetta ' I wish I could believe in something beyond, Beyond the death that has undone you. I wish I could tell of the strength With which we longed then, Already drowned, To walk together once again Free under the sun.'
dreamer, Jean Binta Breeze 'roun a rocky corner by de sea seat up pon a drif wood yuh can fine she gazin cross de water a stick eena her han tryin to trace a future in de san'

Jean Binta Breeze RIP

A Picture for Tiantian’s fifth birthday by Bei Dao translated by Bonnie S. McDougal and Chen Maiping

A Picture for Tiantian's fifth birthday by Bei Dao (b. 1949)Translated by Bonnie S. McDougall and Chen Maiping 'A Picture for Tiantian's fifth birthday Morning arrives in a sleeveless dress apples tumble all over the earth my daughter is drawing a picture how vast is a five-year-old sky your name has two windows one opens towards a sun with no clock-hands the other opens towards your father who has become a hedgehog in exile taking with him a few unintelligible characters and a bright red apple he has left your painting how vast is a five-year-old sky' Tiantian, the nickname given to the poet's daughter, is written with two characters which look like a pair of windows. Written in exile after Tienanmen Square Reprinted from Old Snow (Anvil, 1992)

Poems on the Underground has been offering poetry to London’s tube travellers for thirty five years. You can read some of our favourite poems here, displayed in their original posters. We shall be regularly adding more poems from our collection, verses new and old, familiar and unfamiliar, serious and comic. We hope you will enjoy poems which have entertained millions of London commuters, inspiring similar programmes across the world.

Our New Poems for Autumn 2022 will be on London Underground trains in November.

You can see our new set of poems for Summer 2022 here

‘My name is OZYMANDIAS, King of Kings:                                                                                 

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!’

We are delighted to offer tube travellers a new summer set of poems.

The poems circulated on London Underground and Overground trains for 4 weeks from July 18th.

Shelley’s sonnet Ozymandias, inspired by the Egyptian ruins at the British Museum, marks the bicentenary of the poet’s death on July 8th, 1822, aged 29.

Our international theme continues with famous lines by the 17th century Dean of St Pauls, John Donne: ‘No man is an island, entire of itself…’

Also featured: ‘Caterpillar’ by Guillaume Apollinaire, in a new version by the British poet and translator Robert Chandler.

An extract from War of the Beasts and the Animals by the dissident Russian poet Maria Stepanova, translated by Sasha Dugdale.  

Ditches’ by the Irish poet Jessica Traynor.

Dei Miracole’ by the popular poet, playwright and broadcaster Lemn Sissay.

Our first set of poems in 2022 was circulating on Underground and Overground trains through February and March, with poems on love, music, and the coming of spring by Sasha Dugdale, Derek Walcott, Grace Nichols, Martin Bell and Raymond Antrobus.

We also introduced our year-long celebration of the bicentenary of the death of the Romantic poet P B Shelley with the last stanza of his Ode to the West Wind, with famous lines which resonate powerfully at this time: ‘O Wind, If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?’

You can see our new set of poems for Spring 2022 here

A new set of poems circled London Underground trains throughout November 2021. Poems by the Scottish makar Jackie Kay and the distinguished Jamaican poet Linton Kwesi Johnson celebrate the enduring value of our closest human relationships. And well-loved poems by Keats and Hopkins, alongside new poems by Laurel Prizewinners Seán Hewitt and Sean Borodale, remind us of the glory and fragility of the natural world.

You can see our Autumn 2021 set of Poems on the Underground here

Our recent set of poems by an international range of poets was on London Underground cars throughout the summer of 2021

You can see our Summer 2021 set of Poems on the Underground here

In 2021 we also marked the bicentenary of London’s much -loved poet, John Keats, with a special display of posters at Hampstead Station and London Bridge Station

You can see our Poems to Celebrate Keats here

You can download a copy of our Black History Month Leaflet here

You can download a copy of our London Poems on the Underground leaflet here

You can download a copy of our World Poems Leaflet here