London, after looking into Jung Chang’s Wild Swans

To fathom the workings of a Western town,
go and lean over Lambeth Bridge and breathe
London in, while an August sun beats down
and pleated muddy waters slide beneath.
Not as a social historian or scholar
of any kind, nor as a painter, poet,
journalist or Mr Average Fella,
but as a Chinese immigrant I’d know it.
For him each busker, each train that runs on time,
each office block exudes significance;
from Soho to the City, in open collusion,
the people work the systems, even crime
holds meaning, and the homeless join the dance.
The antidote to Cultural Revolution.

James Turner