2007 winner

The High Street by Jessica Thomas

I turn my MP3 player up to

Try and drown out the sound of

Boys thumping against the bus windows

Bags of the many people –

Like immigrants on a journey to a new life –

Bash against my arm

I’m going to have a bruise there tomorrow

I feel the bus cough and splutter into life

Crisp packets and McDonald’s wrappers

Scatter just as their owners do

As the bus wheels rumble over the cracked black


Through the window I can see

The takeaway shops and fast food

And/or Indian restaurants

One café, two café and half a dozen high-fashion

clothes shops

With frantic shoppers darting in-and-out

In the distance I can see the ruins of a great castle

A once proud protector rising from the ground

As a monument to preserve acts

Of sacrifice and bravery

Surrounded by beauty and ignorance

Litter and heroism

It’s going to be a long journey home.


© Jessica Thomas, 2007

Copyright © 2019 Betjeman Poetry Prize   |  All Rights Reserved

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