Blinks through bloodshot walks
When at five-thirty In the rubbed-eye haziness Of ferreting lonesome night walks The camera-eye refugee Asleep in the half wakefulness Of the hour Peers out of his high turbanned sockets: Hyde Park's through road links London's diurnally estranged couple - The Arch and Gate. When at five-thirty The foot falls gently Of the vision cut in dark recesses And the man, finger gingerly on the fly Gapes dolefully about For a while Exchanges a casual passing word Standing in the Rembrandtesque clefts And the multipled ma'm'selle trips out: Neat and slick. They say you meet the girls at parties And get deeper than swine in orgies. When at five-thirty The fisherman's chilled chips Lie soggy and heeled under the Arch Where patchy transparent wrappers cling To slippery hands jingling the inexact change That mounted the trustful fisherman's credit: The stub legged fisher of diplomat And cool cat And the prostitutes' confidant; Each shivering pimp's warming pan. Then at five-thirty The bowels of Hyde Park Improperly growled and shunted And shook the half-night-long Lazily swaggering double-deckers, Suddenly as in a rude recollection, To break and pull, grind and swing away And around, drawing the knotting air after Curling and unfurling on the pavements. And at five-thirty The prostrate mindful old refugee Dares not stir Nor cares to wake and swallow The precisely half-downed bottle Of Coke clinging to the pearly dew Nor lick the clasp knife clean Lying bare by a tin of' skewed top Corned beef, incisively culled Look! that garden all spruced up An incongruous lot of hair on that bald pate No soul stirs in there but the foul air No parking alongside but from eight to eight. Learning so hard and late No time to scratch the bald pate. At five-thirty-one A minute just gone The thud is on, the sledge-hammer yawns And in the back of ears, strange noises As from afar and a million feet tramp. One infinitesimal particle knocks another And the whirl begins in a silent rage And the human heart beats harder While in and around, this London This atomic mammoth roams In the wastes of wars and tumbling empires. © T. Wignesan 1956 (from Tracks of a Tramp. (A first collection of poems: 1948-61) Kuala Lumpur-Singapore: 1961.