A Poetic Response to The London Ear


I received this week the best thank you I’ve ever had for a walk: a wonderful poem. It’s called Abecedarian for the future sounds of the city and was written by the poet Sarah Salway who came on The London Ear on Tuesday evening. Sarah penned it afterwards as an example for her students of an ‘Abecedarian’, where the first letters of each line run through the alphabet. The question of what the future will sound like is something we pondered as we explored the City on our walk. Sarah has very generously described her poem as ‘a sort of group poem as it comes from our discussions!’


Abecedarian for the future sounds of the city

By Sarah Salway, June 2018


For Rosie


Angels driving in electric cars like

Birdsong piped into

City squares where

Deals are whispered directly into

Ears, carried in the air from

Faraway places although the real

Giants of industry prefer to keep silent.

Here, they let

Idiots do the business,

Jumped up on coffee and cocaine,

kissing fingers as they

Loot cash to keep aged

Mothers comfortably in the countryside

Nodding off to TV murders

Ordered by oligarchs their

Precious sons can only dream of

Queuing to greet at the Guildhall where the

Roars of long ago gladiators

Sound out and all around them, church bells

Tune out the hours

Until a new order is

Victorious – there’s always a new order

Waiting – and only those silent industry giants know

Xcactly who’s in, who’s out. Yes, they eat their

Young like caviar, and the more loudly

Zealous in money-making, the tastier.