“London” by Kevin Hart

You take a trip to London for a laugh

And in a brawling boozy sleep you dream

The Queen has kicked the bucket. “Treachery!”


They scream, and soon enough some stiff old gent

With scratchy wig roars out, “Off with his head!”

(Then whispers, “Nothing personal, old boy.”)


Turns out that you’re awake: they’re dragging you

To Tower Hill, and it’s a lovely day!

Turns out you gotta tip the brawny guy,


No cash, and so you give him all your cards.

“It’s nothin’ personal,” the headsman says.

Next thing your skull is leering from a bridge


And there’s a ban back home on Eccles cake.

Who cares? You’re up before the pearly gates.

Turns out you gotta pay to get inside.


“I lost my credit cards,” you tell the man

(A fancy circle spinning round his head),

“It’s called a faith card here,” he slowly states.


Turns out, the Queen has died! They’re in a fix

With corgis, horses, running everywhere!

“Best try that R. C. place,” you’re firmly told,


“Follow the signs in Latin till you’re there.”

Turns out it stinks of garlic and cheap red,

But what the hell! You join an endless line:


Turns out it’s just to writhe on some damn cross

Till Kingdom come. Nil personale, vir!

An angel sings into your shell-like ear.




This poem is part of Southerly’s 78.1 Festschrift: David Brooks. You can purchase a copy of Festschrift here and help keep Australian literature alive. 

About the author

Hart’s recent collections of poetry include Wild Tracks: New and Selected Poems (Notre Dame UP, 2015) and Barefoot (Notre Dame UP, 2018). Hart lives in Charlottesville where he teaches at the University of Virginia.