Poems on the Underground

Poetry on the Underground book

Poems on the Underground was launched in 1986, following an idea from the American writer Judith Chernaik, to bring poetry to a wider audience.

The programme helps to make journeys more stimulating and inspiring by showcasing a range of poetry in Tube train carriages across London. The poems are selected by Judith Chernaik and poets George Szirtes and Imtiaz Dharker.

Poems on the Underground highlights classical, contemporary and international work, by both famous and relatively unknown poets. It has been a great success and has inspired similar schemes in cities around the world, from New York to Shanghai. It's proved to be a great way of introducing the public to poetry, with passengers often wanting to read more.

The scheme is supported by TfL, Arts Council England and The British Council.

Poems on the Underground (Penguin, 2015) contains over 200 poems featured on the Tube and is available from the London Transport Museum shop and all good bookshops.

Our second set of poems for 2021 is now on trains. Poems on the Underground is celebrating the advent of summer, and the memories of this season.

These poems are:

Her Glasses by Pascal Petit
In the Bright Sleeve of the Sky by Ilya Kaminsky
Consider the Grass Growing by Patrick Kavanagh
from The Greek Anthology by Anyte of Tegea, translated by David Constantine
Black Ink by Fawzi Karim, in a version by Anthony Howelland
Remembering Summer by W.S. Merwin

Remembering Summer

Being too warm the old lady said to me
is better than being too cold I think now
in between is the best because you never
give it a thought but it goes by too fast
I remember the winter how cold it got
I could never get warm wherever I was
but I don't remember the summer heat like that
only the long days the breathing of the trees
the evenings with the hens still talking in the lane
and the light getting longer in the valley
the sound of a bell from down there somewhere
I can sit here now still listening to it

More information is available on the Poems on the Underground website.

Email any questions to poetry@tfl.gov.uk.