In Maida Vale, Golders Green and Hampstead
Lamps ripe early in the surprising dusk;
They are furred like stale rinds with a fuzz of mist.
The pavements of Kensington are greasy;
The wind smells of burnt porridge in Bayswater,
And the leaves are mushed to silence in the gutter.
The big hotel like an anchored liner
Rides near the park; lit windows hammer the sky.
Like the slow swish of surf the tyres of taxis sigh.
On Ealing Broadway the cinema glows
Warm behind glass while mellow the church clock chimes
As the waiting girls stir in their delicate chains.
Their eyes are polished by the wind,
But the gleam is dumb, empty of joy or anger,
Though the lovers are long in the coming the girls still linger.
We are nearing the end of the year.
Under the sombre sleeve the blood ticks faster
And in the dark ear of Autumn quick voices whisper.
It is a time of year that’s to my taste,
Full of spiced rumours, sharp and velutinous flavours,
Dim with the mist that softens the cruel surfaces,
Makes mirrors vague. It is the mist that I most favour.