Summer poems with London connections

03 July 2013

The poems in the latest collection evoke a range of London places and sights as imagined by the poets - from beautiful buses that look like red tomatoes to a train on the Underground approaching a platform symbolising the meeting of two lovers.

The collection of six poems that can be seen across the Capital includes old and new poems which span beyond the 150 years of the world's first underground railway.

The earliest verse from the first part of the 19th century is from Jerusalem by William Blake which is about the poet's vision of Islington and Marylebone, Kentish Town and St. Pancras transformed into a new Jerusalem.

A twenty-first-century poem, Moment in a Peace March by the Ghanaian-born poet Grace Nichols presents an equally visionary image of one of London's great peace marches, with 'a holy multitude pouring/through the gates of Hyde Park'.

Other familiar scenes include a nostalgic memory of cricket at Lord's in At Lord's by Francis Thompson; an old man in Rotherhithe enjoying the breeze from the Thames in The Conversation of Old Men by Thom Gunn; bright red buses in central London in Buses in the Strand by R.P. Lister; and a Tube train nearing a station in Our Meetings by London-born poet Andrew Waterman.

Judith Chernaik, writer and founder of Poems in the Underground, said: 'London life and its pulsing transport network have often inspired our greatest poets. I hope both commuters and tourists will enjoy this latest set of poems.'

Notes to editors:

  • To celebrate London Underground's 150th anniversary a new edition of the Poems on the Underground book has been published by Penguin Books. This new Poems on the Underground book contains verses that have been displayed in Tube carriages over the years, from the start of the programme in 1986 to the poems passengers can see on the Underground system today
  • To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Tube, a new book 'Underground - How the Tube shaped London 1863 to 2013' by Penguin Books is now available and costs £25. The book can be ordered from London Transport Museum's online shop at
  • Poems on the Underground is supported by TfL, Arts Council England, and the British Council. Poems are selected by writer Judith Chernaik and poets Gerard Benson and Cicely Herbert. Posters are designed by Tom Davidson, and are available from the London Transport Museum and the Poetry Society
  • The Tube is undergoing a huge and essential programme to modernise its ageing infrastructure - vital to cope with a growing population and to support the economic development and growth of the capital and the UK. This includes the introduction of new track and signalling and the rebuilding of some of our most important stations. By the end of the current programme there will be 30 per cent more capacity. This will inevitably result in some disruption for passengers, but TfL is working hard to provide information and alternative travel options
  • An image is available on request