Trafalgar Square, April
Vibrato bass of creeping traffic
With obligato of banshee sirens
A chatter of voices
A clatter of pigeons
And Nelson on his column
Still watching; his world collapsed.
No more imperial glory
No more complacent certainty
No more the confidence of victory.
Now language students seek
For digital posterity at his feet.
Vernacular of all the world
Rises around him from ambling crowds.
Hawk-harassed pigeons fly on,
And Rachel Lapper looks away
Not seeing his world but part of ours,
Where artists have no need of arms
Though governments still do, it seems.
A disabled sailor honoured with the tallest plinth:
Aloft, aloof, distanced from the crowds,
Intruding from a world gone by, unmissed.