Walking along the Thames…
…along the crowded South Bank, between the Globe Theatre and the London Eye,there is plenty to see and enjoy on a summer evening. The other day, I stopped to talk to a chap sitting with a typewriter – a proper, real, just-like-we-used-to-have portable typewriter. I wrote all my first books and feature articles on a machine like that. He had a sign up in front of him: offering poetry, written on request. All one had to do was offer a small fee. I had almost no cash on me, so offered what I had – about £1.40p. He asked me what topic. I said that I wished people didn’t drop so much litter everywhere – it is spoiling our wonderful London. I pick up at least one piece every day – usually a great deal more – and put it in a bin. So he wrote me a poem about it.
I walk through London every day
Enjoying all the concrete grey
As lovely as any portrait-sitter
If it weren’t for all the litter…
and so on. Not bad for five minutes’ work. A nice chap, and there was something real and enjoyable about having a poem written, along by the Thames, by a chap who simply decided to spend his evenings doing that, earning modest sums.