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Black old-fashioned taxis, steering
wheels on the right,
red, double-decker buses, and trains take her
anywhere she wants. She prefers
the Underground, relief from rain,
the long descent. An electric
guitar’s music greets her from the bottom
of the escalator’s tunnel,
stairs like teeth.
She passes dense, angled
advertisements plastered on walls
before the strumming
player appears, blanket speckled
with pounds. The train
barrels from darkness,
tussles her hair. She makes no attempt
to control it. Minds the gap. Doors close
behind her. She’s not afraid to look
at passengers but is afraid to be caught.
They lean against walls, clutch
poles, speak with accents she never tires
of hearing. Piccadilly Circus flickers
through smudged windows. She searches
for the way out sign.
Street noise greets her when she emerges
from the tunnel, voices so often
silent, caught up
in the rush of it all.

© Dawn Schout 2013


“What strange phenomena we find in a great city, all we need do is stroll about with our eyes open. Life swarms with innocent monsters.”

Reminiscent of Baudelaires sentiment, this piece from Dawn Schout really sums up the experience of being caught up in the rush of life in a big city. Surrounded by the daily throng, the subject still finds a sense of respite and personal space in the middle of it all, and truly seems at ease with the soul of the city. This piece recognises that cities are the manifest creations of human nature: the desire for togetherness, but the desire for individuality, anonymity constantly rearing it’s head. Simply, “Under London” recognises that the overarching aspect of a city is that it is a repository for people, for emotion, for life itself, and therefore humanity in it’s purest state, whether it be good or bad. A great poem by Dawn.

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