South Song



Cater Thorp

Growing up and being submerged in London's youth culture myself I wanted to write something that would capture the intrinsically melancholic yet celebratory experiences of young people growing up on these streets. I performed this poem at a fundraiser event with the Young Actors Theatre Islington, along with a monologue from Kate Tempest's 'Wasted'. Such experiences have left me empowered and humbled by the power that literature and language have to tell stories of resilience and connect people under a shared imagination.

My generation is proud.
My generation is brave to fight the wave,
We crash and we turn but still we carry on.
Slogans angry with defiance
Proud, red, hearts burn like lions.
We machete what you will follow
Through thick and thin we cry and wallow,
In a sadness of an endless song
But we will march on and on.
Don’t stop and stare, point or laugh
I merely glide in your path.
I couldn’t pick or chose where I was born, what postcode, town or stone
I pick up and throw in the Thames.
The waves bend our spirits
Tumbling into anonymous whispers,
Incoherent to your nudges or glances.
On the 484 to Camberwell Green.
A button in white capitals.
Stop time, my life is not yours.
We are so obsessed with progress we cannot Stop
to breathe
Sink into your shoes
Close your eyes and listen to blues.
Indulge in your solitude
Your body is a temple
Curves engraved with stories
Let them drip into eternal cracks like maple.

More from Poems

Heathrow Airport Toilets


This poem was written during lockdown last year. I am lucky to have my local park, Hilly Fields, opposite my...


Moments of connection were so precious and effort was made with a simple smile in unexpected places and from people...

Become a Member

Our Members are champions of literature. Their support makes our engagement work in schools and prisons possible and they enable us to celebrate literature in all its wonderful diversity. As a thank you, we give them all the joys of a literary festival and book club rolled into one, all year round.