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 first set of poems for 2022 is now on trains.These poems are:

from Ode to the West Wind by Percy Bysshe Shelley
The Songs by Martin Bell
Praise Song for My Mother by Grace Nichols
Upwards (for Ty Chijioke) after Christopher Gilbert by Raymond Antrobus
Love After Love by Derek Walcott

Private Ownership

By Sasha Dugdale

I belong to you
And, I am not afraid to say it
You belong to me.

I am a private owner, it could be said.
I wil not share you with the nation -
Nor collectivise you.

We will indulge in dangerous dissolution
And luxury and harmful intelligence
And sleep in our own skills
And go scented and unrepentant
To the airport at the end.

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

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