The Unfinished City

London The Unfinished City

On a mighty river, too wide to ford,

An Italian city begins to grow,

Until Boudicca did raze her to the ground.

But, like a Phoenix, she rose again,

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, Jutes, Saxons and Vikings

Bring violence and bloodshed,

As all fight for their piece of her.

But, 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.


A new wall of earth, with bastions and redoubts,

Is built to stop the King’s men,

As the city is, by the sword, divided.

Then the darkest plague, decimating her population,

With no sign of a cure.

Bells tolling throughout the night.


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.

Towering above the new city.

An expansion begins in the south,

As new bridges span the River,

Tradesmen and immigrants fill the city,

Swelling her population.

Destitution and crime, the new norm.

But can it be stopped by Runners?


All the while she continues to expand.

Westminster, Palace of Palaces.

A City of cities,

And as the Indian Empress takes control,

Tranquillity and prosperity are abundant.

She is content.


But, as human and beast compete for space,

Her veins become clogged,

So, Tunnel Rats begin to chew through the clay,

For machines that spew steam and smoke.

And as a Towered Bridge begins to rise,

A terror rips the East apart.


A new century: An ancient plague.

And as pearly Royals appear on her streets

There is a sorrowful cry:

"The Queen is dead: Long live the King."

Celebrations erupt, as the world visits the White City,

And Saxe-Coburg-Gotha becomes Windsor.


Calm returns, but she is different.

Her scars are deep and open,

But her wealth and industry aid the healing.

A juxtaposition; streets of cobbled stones and wood,

New buildings rising above the old.

The Cathedral is being choked. 

The blessed peace is soon shattered,

As an Easterly wind brings terror.

Doodlebugs and Rockets; Fire and Brimstone.

But, while her citizens keep calm,

Shelters affect the health of her young.

The great bell falls silent,


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 leads the way.

And, as the city reaps the benefits,

The boom years begin.


Her financiers move to the Hamlets,

And the docks become ports of a different kind,

As the mighty River is restrained by a great Barrier,

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 fragmented.

Her people ask: "Is anywhere safe?"

And she responds, "Yes!", 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.


Once again Terror strikes London's bridges,

Before a burning tower of death lights up the sky,

Blame passing from one to another.

A Beast brings wintry chaos,

Followed by the hottest of days.

Her infrastructure, unable to cope.


An odd peace descends.

Not a peace of plenty and contentment,

Rather a peace of seclusion and fear.

Her citizens locked down; her streets empty.

Her hospitals barely coping,

As rules are changed or ignored.


Slowly, oh so slowly, a normality returns,

But, like her people, she has changed.

Soon, though, celebrations begin again,

Street parties and celebrations,

Jubilation! Seven decades of service, too soon forgotten,

A funeral unlike anything she has seen before.


Her streets, though no longer paved with gold,

Are a magical labyrinth, 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

No comments:

Post a Comment