This Month’s Poems

Celebrating Windrush 75

This summer Poems on the Underground marks the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the Windrush in Britain, bringing men, women and children from the Caribbean to help rebuild a war-ravaged country.

British poetry has gained immeasurably from the contribution of Caribbean and Black British voices of the most eloquent, wide-ranging and diverse kinds, reaching the widest possible audience. We are happy to join the Windrush 75 network in celebrating our common humanity.

From June 19th through July, London Underground and Overground cars will feature poets with close Caribbean and British links

Look out for our new set of Summer poems on London Underground and Overground trains from June 19th.

Caribbean Poems on the Underground

I Am Becoming My Mother by Lorna Goodison

I am Becoming My Mother by Lorna Goodison Poems on the Underground Poster 2004 'I Am Becoming My Mother Yellow/brown woman fingers smelling always of onions My mother raises rare blooms and waters them with tea her birth waters sang like rivers my mother is now me My mother had a linen dress the colour of the sky and stored lace and damask tablecloths to pull shame out of her eye. I am becoming my mother brown/yellow woman fingers smelling always of onions.'

Moonwise by Jean Binta Breeze

Jean Binta Breeze, Moonwise (for my children, all) Poems on the Underground 1995 ' sometimes you know the moon is not a perfect circle and the master Painter makes a passing brush touch with a cloud don't worry we've passed the dark side all you children rest easy now we are born moonwise'

Viv by Faustin Charles

Viv for cricketer, Vivian Richards 2002 poster 'Like the sun rising and setting Like the thunderous roar of a bull rhino Like the sleek, quick grace of a gazelle, The player springs into the eye And lights the world with fires Of a million dreams, a million aspirations. The batsman - hero climbs the skies, Strikes the earth - ball for six And the landscape rolls with the ecstasy of the magic play. Through the covers, the warrior thrusts a majestic cut Lighting the day with runs As bodies reel and tumble, Hands clap, eyes water And hearts move inside out. The volcano erupts! Blows the game apart. 'Faustin Charles Reprinted by permission of the author

Epilogue by Grace Nichols

Epilogue , Grace Nichols Poems on the Underground 1000 years of poetry in English ' I have crossed an ocean I have lost my tongue from the roots of the old one a new one has sprung'

History and Away by Andrew Salkey

History and Away, Andrew Salkey 'What we do with time and what time does with us is the way of history, spun down around our feet. So we say today, that we meet our Caribbean shadow just as it follows the sun, away into the curve of tomorrow. In fact our sickle of islands and continental strips are mainlands of time with our own marks on them, yesterday, today and tomorrow.'

A dream of Leavin by James Berry

A dream of leavin, James Berry ' Man, so used to notn, this is a dream I couldn't dream of dreamin so - I scare I might wake up. One day I would be Englan bound! A travel would have me on sea not chained down below, every tick of clock, but free, man! Free like tourist! Never see me coulda touch world of Englan - when from all accounts I hear that is where all we prosperity end up. I was always in a dream of leavin. My half-finished house was on land where work-laden ancestors' bones lay. The old plantation land still stretch-out down to the sea, giving grazing to cattle.'

Summer Poems on the Underground

Dew by Kwame Dawes

Dew, Kwame Dawes ' This morning I took the dew from the broad leaf of the breadfruit tree, and washed the sleep from my eyes.

Sumer is Icumen in by Anon

Sumer is icumen in, Anon 'Sumer is icumen in, Loud sing cuckoo! Groweth seed and bloweth mead And springeth the wood now. Sing cuckoo! Ewe bleateth after lamb, Cow loweth after calf, Bullock starteth, buck soundeth, Merry sing cuckoo! Cuckoo, cuckoo, well singest thou cuckoo, Nor cease thou never now! Sing cuckoo now, sing cuckoo! Sing cuckoo, sing cuckoo now! '

Adlestrop by Edward Thomas

Adlestrop by Edward Thomas (1878-1917 ) ' Yes. I remember Adlestrop -The name, because one afternoon Of heat the express-train drew up there Unwontedly. It was late June. The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat. No one left and no one came On the bare platform. What I saw Was Adlestrop - only the name And willows, willow-herb, and grass, And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry, No whit less still and lonely fair Than the high cloudlets in the sky. And for that minute a blackbird sang Close by, and round, mistier, Farther and farther, all the birds Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.' Poems on the Underground The British Council. The British Library (Zweig Programme). Designed by Tom Davidson.

Cut Grass by Philip Larkin

Cut Grass, Philip Larkin 'Cut grass lies frail: Brief is the breath Mown stalks exhale. Long, long the death It dies in the white hours Of young-leafed June With chestnut flowers, With hedges snowlike strewn, White lilac bowed, Lost lanes of Queen Anne's lace, And that high-builded cloud Moving at summer's pace.'

Shall I Compare thee to a summer’s Day by William Shakespeare

Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616) Poems on the Underground 1994 'Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer's lease hath all to short a date: Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimmed; And every fair from fair sometimes declines, By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimmed; But thy eternal summer shall not fade, Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest, Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou growest; So long as men can breath, or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee. '

Song from Comus by John Milton

Song from Comus by John Milton ' Sabrina fair Listen where thou art sitting Under the glassy, cool, translucent wave ,In twisted braids of lilies knitting The loose train of thy amber - dropping hair; Listen for dear honour's sake, Goddess of the silver lake, Listen and save '.John Milton (1608 - 74) Autograph by Henry Lawes, BL Add Ms 53723, f. 38 © The British Library Board.

1000 years of Poetry in English

I Have a gentil cock by Anon

I have a gentil cock (anon), Poems on the Underground 1,000 years of poetry in English 'I have a gentil cock croweth me day he doth me risen early my matins for to say I have a gentil cock comen he is of great his comb is of red coral his tail is of jet'I have a gentil cock comen he is of kind his comb is of red sorrel his tail is of inde his legs be of azure so gentil and so small his spurs are of silver white into the wortewale his eyes are of crystal locked all in amber and every night he percheth him in my lady`s chamber'

Loving the Rituals by Palladas translated by Tony Harrison

Loving the rituals by Palladas (4th century AD) tr. Tony Harrison Poems on the Underground 1999 1,000 years of poetry in English ‘Loving the rituals that keep men close, Nature created means for friends apart: pen, paper, ink, the alphabet, signs for the distant and disconsolate heart.’

Fear no more the heat o’ the sun by William Shakespeare

Fear no more the heat o’ the sun, William Shakespeare Poems on the Underground 1000 years of poetry in English ‘Fear no more the heat o’ the sun, Nor the furious winter’s rages; Thou thy worldly task hast done, Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages: Golden lads and girls all must, As chimney-sweepers, come to dust. Fear no more the frown o’ the great; Thou art past the tyrant’s stroke; Care no more to clothe and eat; To thee the reed is as the oak: The scepter, learning, physic, must All follow this, and come to dust. Fear no more the lightning flash, Nor the all-dreaded thunder stone; Fear not slander, censure rash; Thou hast finished joy and moan: All lovers young, all lovers must Consign to thee, and come to dust.'

from In Memoriam by Alfred Lord Tennyson

from In Memoriam by Alfred, Lord Tennyson Poems on the Underground 1000 years of poetry in English 1999 'Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky, The flying cloud, the frosty light: The year is dying in the night; Ring out, wild bells, and let him die. Ring out the old, ring in the new, Ring, happy bells, across the snow: The year is going, let him go; Ring out the false, ring in the true. Ring out the grief that saps the mind For those that here we see no more; Ring out the feud of rich and poor, Ring in redress to all mankind.'

Season by Wole Soyinka

Season by Wole Soyinka Poems on the Underground 1999 'Rust is ripeness, rust And the wilted corn-plume; Pollen is mating-time when swallows Weave a dance Of feathered arrows Thread corn-stalks in winged Streaks of light. And, we loved to hear Spliced phrases of the wind, to hear Rasps in the field, where corn leaves Pierce like bamboo slivers. Now, garnerers we, Awaiting rust on tassels, draw Long shadows from the dusk, wreathe Dry thatch in woodsmoke. Laden stalks Ride the germ's decay - we await The promise of the rust .Wole Soyinka (b.1934) Reprinted by permission of Methuen from Idanre and Other Poems (1986) Poems on the Underground 1,000 Years of Poetry in English

Guinep by Olive Senior

Guinep, Olive Senior 'Our mothers have a thing about guinep: Mind you don't eat guinep in your good clothes. It will stain them.'

Love poems on the Underground

A Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns

So we’ll go no more a-roving by Lord Byron

So We'll Go No More A-Roving by Lord Byron Poems on the Underground 1996 'So, we'll go no more a-roving So late into the night, Though the heart be still as loving, And the moon be still as bright. For the sword outwears its sheath, And the soul wears out the breast, And the heart must pause to breathe, And Love itself have rest. Though the night was made for loving, And the day returns too soon, Yet we'll go no more a-roving By the light of the moon.'

Roundel by Geoffrey Chaucer

Roundel by Geoffrey Chaucer (1340?-1400) Poems on the Underground 2004 ' Since I from Love escaped am so fat I never think to be in his prison lean Since I am free I count him not a bean He may answer and say right this and that I do no force, I speak right as I mean Since I from Love escaped am so fat I never think to be in his prison lean Love hath my name stricken out of his slate And he is struck out of my bookes clean For ever more, this is no other mean/ Since I from Love escaped am so fat I never think to be in his prison lean Since I am free I count him not a bean '

The Unpredicted by John Heath Stubbs

The Unpredicted by John Heath - Stubbs (b.1918) ' The goddess Fortune be praised (on her toothed wheel I have been mincemeat these several years) Last night, for a whole night, the unpredictable Lay in my arms, in a tender and unquiet rest - (I perceived the irrelevance of my former tears) - Lay, and at dawn departed. I rose and walked the streets Where a whitsuntide wind blew fresh, and blackbirds Incontestably sang, and the people were beautiful. ' Reprinted by permission of the author from Selected Poems (OUP) © John Heath-Stubbs Poems on the Underground

The Present by Michael Donaghy

The Present by Michael Donaghy Poems on the Underground 2001 ' For the present there is just one moon, though every level pond gives back another .But the bright disc shining in the black lagoon, perceived by astrophysicist and lover ,is milliseconds old. And even that light's seven minutes older than its source. And the stars we think we see on moonless nights are long extinguished. And, of course, this very moment, as you read this line, is literally gone before you know it. Forget the here-and-now. We have no time but this device of wantonness and wit. Make me this present then: your hand in mine, and we'll live out our lives in it.'

Freight Song by Judith Kazantzis

Freight song by Judith Kazantzis (b.1940) ' We were lying, the two of us on a freight lift platform which four angels were hoisting up, their haloes journeying little by little up to blue sky. And you were stacked next to me And I was stacked alongside you like two symbiotic suitcases with labels reading: The Twilit Sky. Our sleepy lift attendants were the stars of heaven. And we were the goods- ' Reprinted by permission of Enitharmon from Swimming Through the Grand Hotel (1997)

He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven by W.B. Yeats

He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven by W. B. Yeats (1865 - 1939) Poems on the Underground 1993 'Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths, Enwrought with golden and silver light, The blue and the dim and the dark cloths Of night and light and the half-light, I would spread the cloths under your feet: But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.'

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