It’s warm but not quite hot. Under the blue, in our anoraks
We are lining up to surround Westminster
Bringing with us our hands. Yai, my friend from Thailand,
Only a year or two younger than I am, takes a photo
Of me remembering to suck my midriff in,
Halfway across the Thames. Then I lean my back against
The solid balustrade as gulls glide overhead
And a pretty young woman takes up the space to my right.
Lock up ugly Patel! We laugh, as slogan-banded crowds
Head past us, bemusing the tourists on the bridge’s
Other side that faces London’s looming wheel.
Everything feels large from here. More and more of us
Surge on so as to continue our chain along the far embankment.
First we start to chant and then we start to chat.
We’ll need more than this, we think, but a whistle-headed one of us
Plus a soulful dog in a pram and the witch of seven veils
And several more demonstrative monstrosities
Continue to increase this encirclement of our vindictive
Houses of parliament. The wench beside me pulls her velvet
Outer-wear over her blond head since it’s grown suddenly hot.
Yai leans into my left. She’s messaging relations in Bangkok,
Puzzled as to what she may be demonstrating about.
Meghan’s come down from High Barnet – thirty something
At a guess – just the enthusiastic sort I’ve always been attracted to
And, I must confess, still am at high tide, enjoying this October blue.
Our chat is a matter of lively responses, though just as I
Suck in my midriff for a pic, I am trying to keep in check
That passionate part of me, my heart. My own years
See other years from an altered point of view
Yet with the same appreciative eyes. How will I remember her,
How visualise her upturned face, I ask myself
At seventy-seven – no longer even sixty-nine –
The demonstration taking second place in my attention.
What a fraud I am! Pulling out my latest collection
To give to her, brought with me especially
For such an eventuality as this has just turned out to be.
But now it’s time for all our hands to join
And I have Yai’s in mine and Meghan’s. Is this bliss or what?
I sense our fingers forming an intimate knot.
The Thames runs glittering past below our feet.
A chain for Assange – 8 October 2022