Teenage Kicks From Children's Express Belfast

By Children's Express Writers | 14 December 2004
a photograph shwoing a river scene from a bridge with the House of Commons in the distance

24 Hour Museum has partnered with Children's Express, the kids journalism bureau, to make some provocative and lively snapshots of our cities. Writers from the Children's Express Foyle Bureax in Belfast tell us what they think of London in verse.

shows a photograph of a dark narrow alleyway. A cage is hanging from a side of one of the building with what appears to be the effigy of a man in it.

Finding London

I slipped alone out of the shaded street,
Into the night-time of the park,
Awakened by dotted lights,
Illuminating the sleepy dark world,
Then treaded down to the stirring waters,
Where the drowsy perfume of,
Heavily scented flowers,
Seeps through the warm atmosphere,
Hanging expectantly in wait.

As grasping at a knotted branch,
It heaved up into the network of thick boughs,
Ignoring the itching, stinging scratches,
Breeding from the rough green bark,
As the tall trunk emerged, unconstrained,
Out of the hazy, dreamy land,
To gaze round at the endless city rising...

A world alive with a myriad of bright pinpricks,
Holding tall the proud pinnacles of urban London,
Piercing the blackened, velvet heights,
With every tallest landmark,
Uplifted by the city’s heart below,
United in a never-ending rumble of operating life,
Together reaching up to the skies.

Mevlüde Akay, 16

shows a photograph of a a crowded railway station concourse. People are pictred from behind and the photograph has been cropped so their heads aren't showing.

London: City of a Million Faces

In the city of a million faces
I walk the empty streets,
With barely room to move
Amongst so many people.

On the tube I sit alone
In an empty carriage,
Crushed by the unsmiling
Faces around me.

Boarding a crowded bus,
Surrounded by chatter
And blaring horns, my ears ache
With the endless silence.

Through the swollen ghost town
That never sleeps a wink
I return to my bedsit
To my microwave dinner for one.

Sarah Montague, 17

The Palladium

I've entered the finest,
Certainly not the cheapest,
Theatre of Dreams,
On different beams.

Music playing from a band,
Cockney Rebels take the stand.
Jam with The Jam with Sir Paul Weller,
You've got Billy C, Norma Wise and Spiller.

The Queen waves to Billy Dodd,
And sneers at that Welsh Sod.
Prince and company sneer along,
They hope for Elton, Your Song.

Carpeted hills of fragranced, red glory,
Sing opera to the final Third Storey.
Webber bows with his fellow Pussy Cats,
O'Brien danced with Time Warped Brats.

Men and women, boy and girl,
Tell a tale, sung to Fame, give a whirl.
Trumpet, joke, dance and song,
The Chinese acrobatics strike a gong.

Silence,
The curtains draw in,
All the claps,
The shouting,
The bawling,
The crying,
The laughing,
It’s over,
Feelings now at Dover.
Feel so low, its all gone.
But next week,
Next week,
Will the scene be resurrected!

Connor Scullion 16

shows a photograph of the London Eye viwed from across theThames

London Eye

London eye looks
Over the night sky
Noise at its peek
Doors shabby chic
Orange dust on windowsill
Notting Hill

Leicester Square
Offices, tower blocks, bare
Neat pruned bushes not for me
Drive through posh Chelsea
Off the tube at Canary Wharf
No Paddington Bears in “Tottenem norf”

Lonely hearts of London
Only care for work, need some funding
No care for the foxes in the garden
Ditch red squirrels for a fur cardigan
Or the ravens at the tower
Nice home for the people in power

Amy Magowan Green 15

shows a photograph of the dome of St Paul's Cathedral seen from below through trees.

If I lived in London

If I lived in London
Would I have to get up at 7:30 to go to school?
Would I have to learn French?
Would I get detention if I forgot my homework book?

Would I have to eat rotten school dinners?
Would I get homework every night?
Would I have to practise my recorder?
Would I go to the cinema at the weekend?
Would I play football and hurling with my mates?
Would I have to tidy my room?

OR

Would it be different if I lived in London

Hugh Simpson 11

shows a photograph of a London Underground sign

“X Factor”

Grand daddy of them all,
Point to him and he will fall.
Mister Mister, the X factor
Come board my batman tractor.
Buy my book, “Mean streets of Crystal Palace,”
If you are black, you’ll never last.
And if you heard me crying,
Some toxic fool must be lying.

Toxic streets, a volcanic eruption,
Black suits, political corruption.
Choking cars, exhausting fumes,
New police service, more death looms.
Trains late, another taxi please,
Photo taken, tourists say cheese.
Graffiti art, red and blue,
Separation, London needs you.

Get from here to there,
To meet your favourite cockney girl.
To take a bus in self-confidence,
That every trouble is in past tense.
To avoid conflict at every turn,
Another attack- you’ll never learn.
More than just love and hate,
The question is “Who will dictate?”

Amanda McAteer 15

Children’s Express is a programme of learning through journalism for young people aged eight to 18. These poems were produced by Mevlüde Akay 16, Sarah Montague 17, Connor Scullion 16, Amy Magowan Green 15, Hugh Simpson 11 and Amanda McAteer 15. www.childrens-express.org

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