David Harrison: ‘In Praise of Boring’ and ‘The City’

In Praise of Boring

Boredom, that scourge of my youth
is now my ally—my comforting companion.
For so many years I fought
to keep him at bay—
hid myself in busyness
for busyness sake
frantically sought meaningful activity—
must get out and about
all those theatre trips
to plays; films; shows, long-forgotten
dinner dates with folk
who have long forgotten me
holidays in places reduced to snapshots.
Oh how tedious it all seems now.

At last I am of an age
when it’s quite respectable
to sit in silent cogitation.
Let the young fret
about what to do next
spend endless hours
staring at mobile phones
living life on Facebook
rushing from one latte to another
seeking to smother every idle moment
in activities.
Let the madding world rush by outside
I’ll sit cosy at home with my cocoa
and reminisce with Ennui.

David Harrison

The City

My Father
a Londoner to his daisy roots
used to boast that his city
was a full square mile and paved with gold.
I was in awe of its size—
twice as long as our high street.
Later, living in its suburbs I learnt
the real wonder was that just one mile square
held all the power of empire.

In that postwar greyness
we shared our underground train
to school with rows of bowler-hatted gents
grumpy, unspeaking, intent
on the Times crossword as they made
their daily pilgrimage to do obeisance
to the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street
where, these pin-striped marionetteers
would hold, in pink soft hands
threads that drew gold from far-flung
Red blocks in the atlas
to pave the City.

But these same streams of wealth
drew to the hub of Britain
a flow of folk of every tongue and hue
enriching more than gold
as it had done since Romans, Saxons, Normans
built, upon a Thameside swamp,
no grand or elegant edifices
but gave the world
a living throbbing heart.

David Harrison

Leave a Reply