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This London by Patrick Hicks

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The Poet of Liverpool Street Station

Hicks, Patrick


The Elephant Man grazed here,
cloak open to reveal his bloated skeleton.
Over the years, the steam engine soot has thinned,
but the lumbering ghost of this famous sideshow
still begs our attention, his one good eye
bent sideways, the tusk of his pen
rooting for poems of love.

With the trunk of his tongue,
Joseph Merrick sniffs words,
he aches to rewrite his pachyderm body,
his thickened skull is ready to unforget
the gasps of women and children.

He pinches pennies while, hooded,
he sways away beneath gas lamps,
limping now for the graveyard of his flat,
for the paper, and the ink, and the silence.

Who better than a poet could understand
the cutting power of words,
the blunderbuss of such lethal insults?

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