Poetry: London by Tamara von Werthern




I glide through empty streets

And see your beauty and I realise

That for all these years, you’ve never slept

Until now, and this moment of repose


Makes my love burn fiercer

I want to slide my fingers

Along balustrades and cornices

Tracing your features


I store away how peaceful you look

How honest and exposed and vulnerable

I need to remember this moment

For when you’re awake again


Thrumming with life and colour

Alive with nights out clubbing

And sick in every corner, fumigated

People crammed onto buses


All that life being lived parallel

And at criss-crossing angles, the breathlessness

Of you, the all-containing, thrilling

And terrifying aliveness of you.


I will take it out then and look at it again

Dream of your cornices and that moment

When you were mine and mine alone

Stretched out under a spotless sky.


Tamara von Werthern is an award-winning playwright based in Hackney.

You can read more about the success of her dystopian short film, I Don’t Want To Set The World On Firehere.

Her play The White Bike, and climate change book Letters to the Earth, featuring her contribution, are available at Pages of Hackney bookshop on Lower Clapton Road, which is currently closed but still selling book tokens.