Evie Shockley

london bridge

— july 9, 2002
deep river my home is over jordan
entering the cathedral i hear these (re)moving words
echoing off the tear-stained glass windows
people from a hundred nations wet with london
rain drip from their hair and umbrellas pooling
into puddles the spit of fifty foreign tongues
visa’d by christ the choir mouths open a blues
estuary stems the vernacular tide de-negros de notes
refrains from a spiritual funk imports
my pass(ed) re-fines the raw product the no of my
yesterday onyx pearls lost overboard what the
hell could not hold so many in the same boat
othello came to england during elizabeth’s reign
moored to the stage the noblest of savages he
entertained the idea of robeson st. paul’s
immaculate reception the thames not an ole man to
sing home about but on its shores the solid
opulence of the anglican church a veritable
vault of safety from enemy bombs starvation sale
excommunication the greatest threat not to be
refused the shelter of its thick stone walls
just swallow this wafer of state and be swallowed
open your heart to the god of gladstone dis-
raeli and churchill must jesus bear this cross alone
devil on the deep blue sea just one more bon voyage
across the atlantic the pacific the world awaits you’d
not have thought death had unhomed so many

Evie Shockley
london bridge was originally published in Hambone, No. 17, Fall 2004.
Poem, copyright © 2004 by Evie Shockley
Appearing on From the Fishouse with permission
Audio file, copyright © 2004, From the Fishouse