Kathy Pimlott – The Ballad of St Giles Central

The Ballad of St Giles Central

known locally  as Legoland

 

Say, have you been to Legoland

and seen its mighty blocks

that thrust above our old St Giles

like multi-coloured cocks?

 

St Giles, that sanctuary of the poor,

in holy terror cowers

under the brash and braying roar

of Renzo Piano’s towers.

 

Legoland, oh Legoland,

that monument to pride,

where the poor are kept  in the shadows,

the rich on the sunny side.

 

St Giles, where poets’ babes were blessed,

where Tyburn jigsters stopped

and all their many sins confessed

before they faced the drop,

 

is bullied by the ballyhoo

of Renzo’s crass erection,

which turns an ancient high street to

a wind-blown intersection.

 

Legoland, oh Legoland,

that monument to graft,

where the rich live close to heaven’s door

and the poor by the air-con shaft.

 

We pray to the gods of just deserts

that plague pits will crack wide,

and Giles’s buzzmen, lepers and tarts

will swarm from every side,

 

that the rookery will rise once more

and topple Piano’s piles,

then only honest thieves and whores

will dance in old St Giles.

 

Legoland, oh Legoland,

that monument to money,

where the poor endure, endure, endure

and the rich live on milk and honey.

 

 

Kathy grew up in Nottingham but has lived in London for the last forty years, most of that time in Seven Dials, where she looks after bollards and street signs. Her poems have appeared in Magma, The North, South Bank Poetry, Mslexia, a Vers Prize anthology and the soon to be published Emma Press anthology on female friendship. 

 

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