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  • Writer's pictureTony Frobisher

Here is London. (Along the Canal)

Here is London I walked along the canal The air held the chill of winter And the sun hid behind grey-wall clouds. The canal teemed with life Where the whole world was present And peaceful met. A suggestion of a smile From the kohl eyes behind the chador cloak. And the Muslim greeting of peace, From an Arab in flowing white thobe. A dignifed good morning from the bearded Jew, Hat brimming black and happy content. And the Somali and the Nigerian and the Kenyan and the Mauritanian ushering eager children Along the narrow canal path, School ready and glinting eyes of youth. Shouts and calls in a London drawl. A grassy space between towering flats, Neat and well kept. Where the elderly Chinese men Gracefully bent and turned and stretched, Wispy grey and wisdom lined At peace with the world, Tai Chi before morning tea. A shalwar kameez in pastel green Breezed past, leaving a wake Of perfumed air. The oud man. Hennaed hair and ancient eyes, Dreaming of the heat of Lahore, In days before London's lure. And on the narrow boats The days begins with kettle song And swan knocks by the stern, Remembering where their bread last came from. And the gentle laugh of Mr Edwards, Calling heartfelt hellos to all who pass, Before retreating to a full English down below. An open window 10 floors above Blasts Samba rhythms from Rio streets And the ducks bob in time. The old lady casts an eye skyward And tuts as the drums beat on, But her feet shuffle and hips sway Defiant of age, dancing days recalled. The canal is the world, A culture path in every language. A blend of life, of friendship, community and tolerance seen. Where who you are is not defined By colour or race or religion or belief But where you are. Here is life. Here is London. _____________________________ Multiculturalism is the vibrancy, the colour of life. How dull would life be if we were all the same. London is the epitome of a multicultural city.

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