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Poetry Pleases: On London Bridge. 1920

John Ayling recalls moments of temptation on London Bridge.

One night when I was young, I stood
Aloof on London Bridge:
Behind me crossed a countless crowd
Commuters, homeward bound.
Their ceaseless clamour deafened me,
As I in silence stood,
Beside the polished parapet
Down gazing at the Thames.
The sky was veiled: no star was seen:
The river darkly flowed
With awesome power and mystery
That bound my questing mind.
The lights along the bridge shone down,
Rippling with the water:
The coloured lamps on distant ships
Reflected in the flood.
An unseen presence, sense of awe,
Overwhelmed my being;
I had not known such awe before,
Nor understood it then,
As bound by fear I turned away
To catch my home bound train.
Yet even now, I still recall
That night on London bridge,
Remember how I longed to be
United with that Power
To leap into the flowing tide
And find myself in Heaven,
Where dwells the answer to all prayer
The smiling face of God.


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