The winner of the First Annual Arcadia London Study Centre Poetry contest is Robert Li, a student at Lehigh University.
Robert is a Religion Studies and Peace Studies major on the Arcadia London Summer Internship program. He received a £25 book voucher for his winning entry.
The contest’s focus was on life in modern London. The untitled work depicts the city as a kaleidoscope of sensory impressions:
The crisp morning London air
Is gently cut by the bus smog
And the cigarette smoke,
That rises, only to be swept away by that ongoing
Ever-going, London breeze.
And the town begins to walk,
As Zone 1 Roars,
The gears of the town begin to turn again.
And with the flash of a wallet or a card,
The gates open up,
With the masses lost in the trance of the Tube Station Shuffle.
Filing in and out,
Up and Down,
Drones to the beat of that city music of car horns and sirens.
And down at the pubs of Shoreditch, the sound of laughter rises,
As men and women of all ages begin to gather,
As the sun fades from the skyline.
And they laugh, and sing, and dance, and play,
And for some moments, time seems to stand still.
And for some moments, the sirens and car horns seem to fade.
And for some moments, London screams, “Here we stand, at the center of the World!”
And they stumble out into the streets, drunk, staring up to the stars,
Where each and every one has some kind of dream aligned.
And they are never too concerned with whether or not they get there.
Because in their heart, they know that they’ve always been were they belong.
And for some moments, London falls silent.
But London never sleeps.