Bastards - a poem by Justin Tuijl (2016)


In late January sun
on Sunday morning
I boarded the quiet DLR
heading for Canning Town.
The connecting train took me
to Pontoon Dock,
and from the high station
on concrete pillars I could see
the ill-fated London Pleasure Gardens,
now a wasteland.
And on the other side was the Thames Barrier
With a park all of its own
I sat in the café there and had a coffee
and a carrot cake.
After, from the park I watched
ships and boats and birds on the London river

then back to the station
all was changed
the platform a heaving mass of people
when the train came
they all pushed and shoved
and I was last to get on
standing on the way back to Canning Town
with my connecting train I stood waiting
by the platform edge
and the pushing and shoving
people desperate to board me me me
all the crowded platform
and the drop to the rails below