TfL tackles tube etiquette with poetry

English: Congestion on the London Underground

English: Congestion on the London Underground (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Poetry at underground stations.  Wonderful, but why wasn’t I there?!!!!!  Oh well, I’ll just keep plodding on with sideways glances of social commentary.  So will poetry transform the way people travel, can it curb ‘travel rage’?  Can we just be nicer to everyone else when we’re packed like sardines in overcrowded carriages.  Reminds me of Spike Milligan’s epigram:  “A small sardine saw a large submarine, so she went and she looked through the peep-hole.  Oh, come, come, come said the sardine’s Mum, it’s only a tinful of people.”  Enjoy!


Poet’s Lament

I’m morose,
suffering a dose of morbid self-pity,
wondering at life’s bizarre serendipity.
Why was I not chosen?
I’ve rhyme.
There’s no reason
that I couldn’t pose
on a soap-box outside an underground station,
shouting aloud my recitation
of verse on the subject of etiquette
on the network of transport in London.
Why was I not chosen?
Unknown?  Neglected.
Known?  Rejected.
Alone, dejected,
with my soap-box my bed,
here are the thoughts that revolve in my head ….

Transport For London,
or Too Fucking Late?
Are they just one and the same?
Travellers irate
at the state of the bus, the rate of the train,
swearing and cursing
making it worse in more ways than one.
We need peace, we need calm,
consideration, politeness,
courtesy, charm.
We need etiquette
and poetry,

Move down, move down!
Don’t push, don’t rush,
don’t crush, say please,
don’t squeeze in through the doors
as they’re starting to shut.
Don’t barge, don’t go large
with a greasy beef-burger
as you’re herded together,
shoulder to shoulder
in dank claustrophobia
of the underground carriage.
No smoking, elbow-poking,
sexist joking, grabbing, groping,
toping from a brown paper bag,
blagging, snorting, flobbing, gobbing,
spitting, sitting on your neighbour’s knee.
Don’t pee in a doorway when the toilet’s closed.
Don’t throw your litter on the ground.
Don’t bitch, complain
because you’ve missed the final train.
Don’t harass the staff;
they’re the ones who’ll have the last laugh
as they call the police
and you’re swept off your feet,
frog-marched away
to cool off your rage until the next day

So much to remember,
so much not to do.
Be pleasant, polite,
just get your breathing right.
Think karma, slow down, be calmer,
and you’ll drift through the day
with no rage to regret
by practising etiquette.

29th September 2013 – headline from the Guardian

Notes:  “TfL tackles tube etiquette with poetry.”  Transport for London is aiming to use poetry to teach the capital’s commuters “poetiquette” and think twice about dropping litter, obstructing doors and other anti-social behaviour that contributes to travel delays on the tube.  From Monday until Friday a collection of London poets, including rising star Amy Acre who appeared at this year’s Latitude festival, will give recitals at some of London’s busiest train and tube stations as part of a wider TfL Travel Better London marketing campaign encouraging commuters to be more considerate towards their fellow travellers.


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