London Underground

First underground railway opened in 1863
London Underground, used as bomb shelters during WW2

On an old staircase
going down, down down
into the bowels of hell
(to a claustrophobic)
Temperature rising from
sweating Victorian walls
and, for a few minutes
I’ve left behind
the amazing, sad old
bad old, streets of London
for a different mix of
magic and grime.

I’ve traveled on most of them
in my time.
Eleven in all
which run through the heart
of this dirty old town
and circle its outer limits
like cowboys used to
circle the wagons.

to name some.

Each trip, has their memories.

I listened to the old
clackety clack, clackety clack
of wheels on an underground train.
A train on the tracks
which my heart tries to match
as it beats out its
rhythm and rhyme.

(I remember)
a woman across the aisle
her mouth too, a non-stop
yackety yack
I don’t hear what she’s saying
so I don’t mind.

Buckingham Palace
Kensington Palace
The Tower and, crown jewels
St. James’s Park
(where I’ve picnicked)
Nelson’s column
Trafalgar Square

All seen so many times
but, I never counted as
each was well worth seeing
again and again
and all within such easy reach
from the underground trains.


© Daydreamertoo                       *All rights reserved

During World War 11 many of London’s underground stations were used as bomb shelters all through the Blitz.
Through the nights of non-stop air raids people, sang, chatted, tried to sleep, alongside family or, total strangers. No-one cared as long as they were safe from the bombing of the streets above.
Although I can be pretty claustrophobic, I’ve always found the London Underground and its myriad of tunnels quite fascinating.

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Author: Daydreamer

I live on a beautiful island in Atlantic Canada.

26 thoughts on “London Underground”

  1. I love stories from mass transit, especially subway stories. I have so many of my own! Your poem really calls up the love you have for this form of travel. It brought back my own memories. I enjoyed the pictures.

  2. I was there just yesterday- and you totally captured it. The underground is so old- so much history, so many ghosts…so many memories – just as you have yours- this was excellent…maybe I loved it just that extra bit more because this is about something so iconic in this country

  3. I rode the tube in London many, many years ago. You brought back memories and I appreciate the history. Your poem is so well crafted, so artful. Sorry about the claustrophobia.

  4. I like this one a lot, good rhythm, every word contributing, fast-paced, tells an interesting story. The historical pictures were also a great prologue.

  5. I didnt know people had taken shelter in the underground during the Blitz. But it makes sense. Loved this poem – it was like taking a little trip around all the remembered names (from books). How long has it been since you were home, kiddo?

  6. I really enjoyed this poem…thank you. I really got a sense of your trips and what it is like … thank you.
    Siggi in Downeast Maine, USA.

  7. haha liked your clackety clack attack but you knew that would go over well at my shack. You capture the grim and the people all the way through, never been on one ever, so nice to see all the views.

  8. wow. pretty much a perfect piece for this prompt. I can’t imagine any of the others I’ve yet to read coming close to how good this is. You covered so much ground here, no pun intended, and the historical aspect here is outstanding. Amazing write. thanks

  9. I love this:
    “into the bowels of hell
    (to a claustrophobic)”

    That’s exactly how I would feel.

  10. Love that clackety clack and yackety yack. And these lines:
    “I’ve left behind
    the amazing, sad old
    bad old, streets of London
    for a different mix of
    magic and grime.”

  11. Your post brings back some memories. I have ridden the London subways. Easy to navigate; but it has been a while…too long.

  12. Hiya Daydreamer,
    what an amazing post with those delicate pictures.
    We forget what effort it took and take i for granted.
    And it was a fantastic undertaking with those ‘iron lung’ tuges they used for the construction.

  13. a bit of magic and grime…yep…and i love it…smiles…and the clackety clack…yeah i can hear that rhythm…cool on them being used for bomb shelters too..though i wish they were not needed for that…i could ride all day and people watch…maybe even write a book doing it…smiles…

  14. oh i just love this…brought tears in my eyes..all the names and places…great poem and love the pics as well… she’s an old lady the london tube…but gained more and more charm over the years..

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