poet William Ernest Henley

William Ernest Henley

#91 on top 500 poets

London Types: Sandwich-Man

An ill March noon; the flagstones gray with dust;
An all-round east wind volleying straws and grit;
St. Martin's Steps, where every venomous gust
Lingers to buffet, or sneap, the passing cit;
And in the gutter, squelching a rotten boot,
Draped in a wrap that, modish ten-year syne,
Partners, obscene with sweat and grease and soot,
A horrible hat, that once was just as fine;
The drunkard's mouth a-wash for something drinkable,
The drunkard's eye alert for causal toppers,
The drunkard's neck stooped to a lot scarce thinkable,
A living crawling blazoning of Hot-Coppers,
He trails his mildews towards a Kingdom-Come
Compact of sausage-and-mash and two-o'rum!

Poem Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010

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