46: waterloo bridge

The country beyond London groans to hear that it’s scorchio in the city. But it is and there’s nothing I can do about it to share the love or the glorious weather.

I walked home, through Aldwych to Waterloo Bridge and over the river along the South Bank to Vauxhall. Tourists dawdled in the warm air and stop to gawp at street entertainers positioned every ten metres, throwing balls, playing bagpipes, banging drums.

On Waterloo Bridge everything slows to a crawl. There’s something about the view from the Thames’ bridges that is continually delightful. No wonder people feel inspired to write poetry when they can look out and see the Houses of Parliament brooding over the sparkling waters, facing the Millenium Wheel on one side, and the stately permanence of St Paul’s dome peeking out from the towers of the City.

This one’s my favourite:

After the Lunch
On Waterloo Bridge, where we said our goodbyes,
the weather conditions bring tears to my eyes.
I wipe them away with a black woolly glove
And try not to notice I’ve fallen in love.

On Waterloo Bridge I am trying to think:
This is nothing, you’re high on the charm and the drink.
But the juke-box inside me is playing a song
That says something different. And when was it wrong?

On Waterloo Bridge with the wind in my hair
I am tempted to skip. You’re a fool. I don’t care.
the head does its best but the heart is the boss-
I admit it before I am halfway across.

Wendy Cope


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