Sunday, 27 October 2013

Peckham Vision

Peckham’s creative visionaries
Spread their dreams like missionaries.
They can see how streets might be
Fit for living comfortably,
And how Rye Lane might once more rise
To dazzle Southwark’s peerless skies

Architects like O’Looney, Ben,
Look back to the old days, when
Carriages served Georgian beaux
And pretty houses stood in rows. 
(Charles Henry Driver’s railway station 
deserves especial contemplation).

While on Rye Common angels appear
To loitering mystics walking near
And eco warriors seek salvation
in low emissions and loft insulation. 

But there is also some of us
Who don’t want to make too much fuss,
For in the vision that we see
Peckham’s the mess it ought to be

It’s dirty, edgy, lively, arty, 
A place to shop, a place to party,
A whole world in one square mile, or more 
From Frank’s to Khan’s brilliant bargain store

There’s only one thing for which I’d make a plea:
Somewhere in Rye Lane to have a pee. 

Saturday, 5 October 2013


On Peckham Rye, I wonder why William Blake is not beatified.
On Peckham Rye, I wonder why parakeets above do fly.
On Peckham Rye, I wonder why, I really do. Oh, my.

– Joan Byrne

Friday, 25 March 2011

Peckham Ryeku

On Peckham Rye I wonder why
I have been bitten by a dragonfly,
Why pretty things should have the gall
To cause any kind of hurt at all.
That's not to say an ugly thing
Is bound to bite or scratch or sting,
But one does expect a pussy cat
To be nicer than a sewer rat.

Sunday, 12 December 2010


A Ryeku (pl Ryeku) is a brief verse with a life and rhythm of its own. Unlike a Haiku, its metre and length is not fixed: it is merely true to itself -- if we think it works, it works. It must, however, begin with the line: Peckham Rye, I wonder why... and it will generally express curiosity or wonderment.

Ryeku #1–2
Peckham Rye, I wonder why
There is no space between the earth and sky

Peckham Rye, I wonder why
We are made to kiss, we are made to cry

Ryeku #3 (anon)
Peckham Rye, I wonder why
No celebration
Your oration
Un abrazo
My abrasion

Sunday, 10 October 2010

The Christmas Auction of Promises

At the auction of promises
she offered a night of  unparalelled opportunities
in Peckham.

With casual indifference and a high credit rating,
the man in the alpaca jacket easily outbid the crowd, 
"What's Peckham got for a man who's got the lot?"

She said,
"There are more possibilities in Peckham than can be said out loud.
And I am simply one of them."

He sighed and said, "Surprise me."

"Stay close," she said, "and I will transport you to the kingdom of Persepolis,
and to the aisles of Khan's.
I will feed you pastries from the shady shores of Petitou 
and from Review I will bring tales beyond your wildest imaginings.

"At Divine Money you will encounter currencies of which even oligarchs are ignorant,
and in the market see dazzling cloth only the brave dare wear.
You may meet Prince Daniel or Princess Omakaih, 
And at Manze's see jellied eels fit for Pearly Kings.
The God Bless Salon offers the chants of redemption
And at Beneficial Veracious' Miracle Centre your wishes might get a mention.

"Then I'll take you up the Rye
to show you where and how and why.
And after, if you're still on your feet,
there will be one last special treat.
-- a table at Ganapati's for your dinner
and a feast that's fitting for a winner."

As the scales fell from his eyes
the man raised his head towards the skies, 
crying, "Peckham is a worthy prize –
I've been a silly, stuck-up sinner."

Saturday, 24 July 2010

After the Volcano

Not a murmur is heard, no quarrel, no riot,
As the skies over Peckham fall blissfully quiet.
The planes on the runway, the clouds are unstrung,
That distant volcano has unfettered the sun.
Windows flung open, mad birdsong at dawn,
The 4am thunder is finally gone.
Down at the Rye they're outside for a drink
And the dead up at Nunhead can hear themselves think.
Yes spirits are rising, there's a percussion of bones,
An avian beatbox and a keyboard of stones.
The whole place is heaving, they've thrown off the shroud,
Now only the sirens seem unnaturally loud.

– Kirsty Hamilton