Inspectors of the Heart

London, Poets

Apropos of nothing at all, here’s a poem I wrote a few years back. I was walking up St John’s Hill, past the hairdressers, when a siren cut through the moment and everything seemed to stop:

Inspectors of the Heart

A violent sound puts streets in shock –
cars stop to let the siren past.
It almost seems that nothing else is there;
just lights, that wailing and a fifth gear howl
that hurtles by, then up the road and on.

Lord, let sirens quiet and silent traffic flow;
protect us from inspectors of the heart.

Uniforms are knives to crowds,
slicing through them to arrest
someone maybe wanted, maybe not.
Pedestrians avert their eyes and freeze
resisting implication in this mess.

Lord, let sirens quiet and silent traffic flow;
protect us from inspectors of the heart.

They’ve gone, have left a space
where something trusting used to be.
Abusing stop and search they’ve shown us all
that they’ll invade us as and when they need;
remembered charges clog the muted streets.

Lord, let sirens quiet and silent traffic flow;
protect us from inspectors of the heart.

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