The lump of it, concrete, in the corner,
between Italianate gestures and the low shops
slung along streets which dropped away
into burlesque cellars on every side,
was as much as we could do to avoid
saying something out of turn.
Builders invested all manner of curious angles
with scaffolding and ad hoc cardboard signs.
Only here, with charred sweetcorn husks
being twisted on open charcoal burners,
there were dutiful faces pressed against glass.
Further on, by the corner, you were dealing cards,
as, inside the crowded Lovely Shop,
elbowing customers would like to think
they’d not wasted their fare on the bus.
On the terrace of the International Hotel,
we might be dreaming otherwise
as the cranes and mixers lay down
the building blocks of another religion.
Tom Phillips, 2011