They built the railway to carry people out
but now it’s used to herd them in
commuting to the offices and shops
that crowd together in the West End.
They wanted us to access London’s lungs
step out and walk the plains and paths,
the forest and the river running by
Victoria said it should be left for us.
The developers had to stop, preserve
the Royal Forest she’d decreed,
still the trains ran on bringing tourists
to enjoy the fairs and holiday days out.
The station has stood there a long time
the platform’s changed, the line electrified
automatic gates instead of railway guard
no steam or smuts, a quiet ride to town.
And just in case the pigeons think
they own the place, can roost there anytime
a plastic owl installed beneath the canopy
keeps watch as passengers pass below.