Restricted Vocabulary – City Poems 1


Girder, guerdon and jeans
Scuttle, scuffle and splendour
Towers, theatres and temples
God, glory and gowns.


of God and theatre
(altar, domes and cellar,
virgins, bedlamite,
artists, anonymity and air),
fused shadow and fiery beauty,
sun and acetylene,
cinema, books and Boho-temples
into subterranean fields,
smokeless cloud-flown sky
and unfractioned,
immaculate affectations.

The restrictions on vocabulary for this exercise have been more challenging that I expected. I have selected Wordsworth’s “Upon Westminster Bridge”, Hart Crane’s “To Brooklyn Bridge” and Joni Mitchell’s “Boho Dance”. This gives a wide ranging lexicon, containing a mix of modern and more archaic words. Interestingly, there is a chain running through these poems, the first two linked by “bridge”, the second pair by the underground, all strongly influenced by the cityscape.

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