Hanover Square

I spend a lot of my working life travelling. Nowhere especially exotic or exciting, and I also spend a ridiculous amount of time either sitting on an empty coach with only the salt-of-the-earth driver for company, or occupying a bench, cafe table or edge of a kerb, waiting for something or other to happen( a plane to arrive at the airport, students to return to a meeting point or the coach to get back and pick us all up and a few other variations)

When I’m waiting for something, I take a mental step back from what’s going on around me and try and observe in minute details what I see and feel. And then I start writing it down. Some of the pieces make it into a proper poem, others are still locked away in my notebook, unread.

This is one that did make it into a poem; I wrote it while hanging around somewhere off Oxford Street, trying to avoid the shops and the crowds and found myself in a little oasis of a square. London is full of these places, often within a stone’s throw of major tourist areas, and they are usually deserted. I sat on a slightly damp bench for about an hour until students began to trickle back in and disturb my tranquility.

Hanover Square


A green island in a sea of noise;

Sunlight gleams on wet leaves,

Pigeons preen damp grey feathers.

A siren in the distance screams,

Barely heard over the constant

Baseline rumble of traffic.

Crowds, thinned by rain,

Disperse amid the stone jungle.

Overshadowed by chestnut and plane,

Palm trees shed raindrops,

And the wallflowers, heaven scent,

Fill the air with unexpected sweetness.



12 thoughts on “Hanover Square

    • If you’re seated on a kerb stone in the middle of Covent Garden it can be hard to take a step back when you are being jostled and knocked!
      I have a notebook full of jottings that I shall play about with; I spent about an hour once writing down the things I overheard and there’s funny stuff there!

  1. I love this part of London and you are absolutely right it is a “green island in a sea of noise”

    When I read it, my mind took me back there!

    • I spend a fair amount of my time lurking round London, and because I’m working when i do it, the time I have “off” from taking tours, I often seek peaceful little corners.
      Do you know Neal’s Yard, that little courtyard off Neal Street? I go there sometimes for a coffee when the students are shopping; it’s a bit like Glastonbury right slap bang in the middle of central London!

  2. I habe never been to Neal’s Yard but thanks to you I will next time I’m in London. I live in Oxford and London is only a short journey away.

    • Quicker than mine! I come over from the east coast and there are no motorways until you hit the M25! Plus I am usually on a coach so the journey time is sometimes three hours!

  3. I have a similar ride on the 25th of the month to collect a consignment of German students; it’s about two hours to Stansted from here, depending on time of day and traffic. The pleasure of the travelling is somewhat dependent on what driver I get as while all are decent blokes, some are better company than others!
    I find I can’t read while on a coach because I feel sick, and writing is hard because of motion. I may try using my little E-pc computer and see if I can type while in motion.
    Are you off on holiday then or is this work related?

  4. A long weekend to celebrate my dad’s birthday.

    I find it difficult to read on a coach too because I seem to get distracted too easily and writing is impossible.

    • Wel, have a nice time anyway!
      I enjoy looking out of the window anyway and just thinking. I have written poems down while in transit but more than a dozen lines and I am reaching for the sick bag! I wonder if using a keyboard will do the same.

  5. I enjoy looking out of the window too and just enjoying the scenery.
    I used to suffer from motion sickness when I was younger, hopefully using the keyboard won’t have that effect on you.

    • I used to hope I would grow out of motion sickness but since I am 43 soon, I can’t see it happening. I use Seabands, acupressure bands and they work, but it isn’t as bad as it used to be at all. If I start feeling queasy i put the bands on and suck a mint. I don’t tend to get seasick(only once, and that crossing the irish sea in a force 9 gale in a rather small boat) and I’m fine on trains(never yet been on a plane) but cars and coaches stil, even now, at my advanced age, make me a tad icky! It’s ironic as I work as a courier as well as a teacher and travel a lot of miles on coaches; I always have sick bags for the kids too, not to mention a whole panoply of equipment in my bag!
      I’m reliably informed that it’s something to do with eye and ear balancing, so to speak.
      I’ve got a couple of longer trips coming up, in June and July to the continent, but whether I want to burden myself with even a teeny laptop is another matter!

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