The Unfinished City

On a mighty river, too wide to ford,
An Italian city begins to grow,
Until Boudica did raze her to the ground.
But, like a Phoenix, she rose,
And, with a new wall to defend her,
She began, again, to flourish.

But, soon, the Legions departed.
And the city, once a bustling metropolis,
Became a ghostly shell.
Nature gently entered the deserted streets,
And, over three centuries,
Turned the city, and its walls, to dust.

Angles and Danes,
Bring violence and bloodshed,
As all fight for their piece of her.
During a calm, her bridge is rebuilt,
And to a newly fortified south
 She spreads.

A Christmas King, builds a Norman tower,
A tower for a city; a capital city.
Yet, once again, she is ravaged,
As a Tornado lays waste to the wooden city,
Reducing her, and her bridge, to kindling.
Her people recover, rally and rebuild.

Disaster, as Death of Black kills a third,
Before an inferno scorches her soul.
But, from the ashes, a new link is forged with the south;
A small town, built on a bridge of stone.
But, oh! How then the south did burn,
Ending with a firestorm above the River.

Shakespeare, assassins and death; all came to her,
As the darkest plague swept the city.
Her population decimated, with no sign of a cure,
Until a fire, the greatest fire,
Burning four days and four nights,
A saviour of the strangest kind.

Rebuilding begins with a masterpiece,
A monument to worship, for all time.
The largest city the world has known,
Too full, for any more?
Destitution and crime, such crime as to wonder,
Can it be stopped by Runners?

All the while she continues to expand.
Westminster, Palace of Palaces.
A City within a county,
A county within many.
And as the Indian Empress takes control,
Peace and prosperity become abundant.

But, as human and beast compete for space,
Her veins become clogged,
So, Tunnel Rats begin to chew through the clay,
With machines that spew steam and smoke.
And as a Towered Bridge begins to rise,
A terror rips through the East.

The new century begins with death,
As a truly ancient plague kills thousands.
Swiftly followed by the cry:
‘The Queen is dead. Long live the King.’
Celebrations erupt, as the world visits the White City,
And Saxe-Coburg and Gotha becomes Windsor.

Peace returns, but she is different.
Her scars are deep and open,
But her wealth and industry aid the healing.
The cobbled streets juxtaposed with concrete,
As new buildings, overwhelm the old;
The Cathedral is being choked.

The blessed peace is soon shattered,
As, once again, the sky darkens.
The great bell falls silent,
As an easterly wind brings terror.
Doodlebugs and Rockets;
Fire and Brimstone.

Yet, through it all,
Wren’s monument stands,
Towering above the destruction,
A symbol, uniting her people.
And as misery turns to joy,
The great bell chimes again.

From the ashes, she emerges, broken.
Times are hard and she needs help.
The call goes out, to every corner,
Answered, in time, by a Rush of Wind.
New blood, mixing with her own,
Over time, becoming one.

Homes and factories reach skyward,
While a new stadium, welcomes the world.
And, with the past buried,
A festival: A celebration of Britain.
Soon, though, overshadowed by a soup,
Which kills thousands, in just five days.

Swinging harmonies reign,
Until Troubles disturb the peace.
Riots, strikes and a Steel Ring bring fear to the city,
Till a grocer’s daughter lights the way.
And, as the city reaps the benefits,
The boom years begin.

As a great barrier, restrains the mighty river,
Her financiers move to the Hamlets,
And the docks become ports of a different kind.
Yet, while adultery and divorce, spell death for her princess,
Powerful forces whisper of an Easter peace,
As a new MillenniuM approaches.

From jubilation to fear, in a matter of hours,
As her transport lines are destroyed in an instant.
Her people ask: 'Is anywhere safe?'
And she responds, defiant in the face of evil.
The third visit of the world: A show of unity against tyranny.
The greatest of games.

A Walkie-talkie and a Cheesegrater join the Gherkin,
In the Square Mile’s ever changing skyline.
All awaiting the arrival of The Scalpel.
Meanwhile, pensioners help themselves to gold,
As a new transport line is royally named,
 And her Police return to their roots.

Her streets, though no longer paved with gold,
Are magical labyrinths, linking old with new.
Her past, inexorably entwined with the present.
 And, still, she continues to evolve and expand.
Eternally changing and adapting,
Yet always... unfinished.

© Daryl G. Morrissey

If you would like to purchase a copy of my book, 'The Unfinished City', which also contains a selection of my favourite photographs, you can follow this link.

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