Thursday 1 May 2008

Streets of London

We were taught this song at school as nine-year olds, and the images the words create were so powerful at that time that they have always stayed with me. At the time the poem reminded me of East London and Green Street Market which was frequented by my mum. I love London and it’s an amazing place, but this song is a good reminder of another side of my city we would do well not to forget.

Streets of London (song), written by Ralph McTell.

Have you seen the old man
In the closed-down market
Kicking up the paper,
with his worn out shoes? I
n his eyes you see no pride
Hands held loosely at his side
Yesterday's paper telling yesterday's news

Chorus: So how can you tell me you're lonely,
And say for you that the sun don't shine?
Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London
I'll show you something to make you change your mind

Have you seen the old girl
Who walks the streets of London
Dirt in her hair and her clothes in rags?
She's no time for talking,
She just keeps right on walking
Carrying her home in two carrier bags.

In the all night cafe
At a quarter past eleven,
Same old man is sitting there on his own
Looking at the world
Over the rim of his tea-cup,
Each tea lasts an hour
Then he wanders home alone.

Have you seen the old man
Outside the Seaman's Mission
Memory fading with the medal ribbons that he wears
In our winter city, T
he rain cries a little pity
For one more forgotten hero
And a world that doesn't care.

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