Once upon a night in Covent Garden...

After the London poetry festival on a Friday night
Late but not yet time for bed
My tummy aching for a bite, as foolishly not yet fed
Thinking of the contents of my fridge
I’m wandering over Waterloo Bridge
Soon forgetting my desire for food
As I stop, stare and smile at the perfect view -

The bright oval of the London eye with Big Ben lit up and towering behind
And lights shimmering on the Thames in a glittering magic London blend of London
Pedestrians passing over Embankment Bridge
Swishing trees sigh
Boats nestled along the key side display their glinting fairy light
As I reach the opposite riverside
And carefree skip over the strand
Lured by the notes of a one-man band
I wander into Covent Garden
And take a deep breath …

This square I’ve sauntered through so many times remains equally sublime
Soft lights blink on every side
Late night punters passing – some stroll, some stride by,
And then in groups dotted around, some sit back on the cobbled ground
To take in the floating echoing sound of this man’s fingerwork.

And so I find myself a solitary corner
And settle cross-legged on the floor away from a bunch of dolled-up bimbos who entertain as they stumble in their stilettos
And lying back in the marketplace I stare up at the moon’s full beaming face
Ensconced in a sky of drifting candyfloss
And absorb this balmy summer evening
My head resting on my handbag.

“Y’alright down there love?” a puzzled bloke smoking a fag barks down at me.
He clearly doesn’t understand I’m floating in a far-off land.
 “Can’t you see?  I’m blissfully happy!” I call after him,
And ignoring the surrounding din of tipsy revellers chatting,
I resume my lunar gaze
And willingly succumb once more to the busker’s hypnotic musical daze ..

Though he doesn’t know it he plays for me,
Whilst others listen half-heartedly his true audience is me
And then rings out a pair of chords I know too well,
And I can tell what’s coming next –
In my book one of the best songs in all the world
I sigh and smile with excited glee
Though he doesn’t know it he plays for me,
As softly he starts to sing the timeless words to Sultans of Swing.