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A Poem for London.   Lines in Potentis by Ben Okri.


After the terrible terrorist attacks on London, this poem so beautifully expresses our feelings for our city. It is inscribed on the wall of the spiral walkway in City Hall.


One of the magic centres

Of the world;

One of the world's

Dreaming places.

Ought to point the way

To the world.

Here lives the great music

Of humanity

The harmonisation of different

Histories, cultures, geniuses,

And dreams.

Ought to shine to the world

And tell everyone

That history, though unjust,

Can yield wiser outcomes.

And out of bloodiness

Can come love

Out of slave-trading

Can come a dance of souls

Out of division, unity;

Out of chaos, fiestas.

City of tradition, conquests,

And variety;

City of commerce and the famous river,

Tell everyone that the future

Is yet unmade.

Many possibilities live in your cellars.

Nightmares and illuminations.

Boredome and brilliance.

Tomorrow's music sleeps

In undiscovered orchestras,

In unmade violins,

In coiled strings.

Spring waits by the lakes,

Listening to the unfurling daffodils.

Summer lingers with the hyperborean worms,

Awaiting an astonishing command from

The all-seeing eye of ra.

Tomorrow's music sleeps

In our fingers,

In our awakening souls,

The blossom of our spirit,

The suggestive buds of our hearts.

Tell everyone the idea is to function together

As good musicians would

In undefined future orchestras.

Let the energy of commerce flow,

Let the vision of art heal.

Technology, provide the tools.

Workers of the world

Re-make the world

Under the guidance of inspiration

And wise laws.

Create the beautiful music

Our innermost happiness suggests.

Delight the future.

Create happy outcomes.

And while autumn dallies

With the west wind

And the weeping nightingales

And while winter clears it

Sonorous throat

At the antipodean banquets

Preparing for a speech of hoarfrost

And icicles conjured from living breath,

I want to tell everyone

Through trumpets plated with

The fragrance of roses

That a mysterious reason

Has brought us all together,

Here, now, under the all-seeing

Eye of the sun.



December 2002