Oliver! Part I

a poem by tobias kerins, UK

River Thames, meanders through town
Heights of Hampstead, on the city look down
Peasouper rises, above rows of houses
Night-time falls, as London it drowses

The boy continues, down the beaten track
He can smell the city, there’s no looking back
Will fortune be found, will his riches be made
About to set out, on this gruelling crusade

The streets weren’t gold, they were roughly cobbled
If you didn’t tread carefully, you surely wobbled
Horses and carts, they trundled along
The stench of sewage, was ever so strong

He passed the undertakers, who loved to take
Some people remarked, whether dead or awake
Then the Ale House, that served much gin
Life in London, was about to begin

He needed a job, and somewhere to sleep
His worldly possessions, somewhere to keep
Food in his tummy, and drink in his throat
Had to take a wage, earn a banknote

He passed the workhouse, with a sign on the door
If you enter here, don’t ask for more
Looking for labour, contact Mr Bumble
Be polite and contrite, most of all be humble

Then there’s the pick-pockets, round the market they roam
Anything they’ll nick, from a wallet to a comb
But the speciality of the day, is the silk handkerchief
Primary target, of a sticky-fingered thief

A lad approaches, himself introduces
And from behind his ear, cigarette produces
Fancy a smoke mate, Dodger’s the name
Are you new round here, new to the game

Taken a little, he throws caution to the wind
Remembers he must, remain disciplined
The lad called Dodger, is cigarette smoking
The peasouper hugs and London is choking

Come on mate, I’ve got a place you can stay
When the sun is shining, you’ve got to make hay
You can have a rest, with a roof overhead
Something to eat, sausage and bread

Now it is Fagin who comes on the scene
Old and sly, completely unclean
With fingernails long, and dripping in gold
Hello my boy, what have you been told

Please come and step in, to my humble abode
Today you will see, there is no dress code
Take a seat my dear, have something to eat
Dodger the sausages, put them on heat

The house of Fagin, a law to itself
Hidden behind bricks, were boxes of wealth
The boys were his babies, well in a round about way
So long as they did, what he did say

The boy that did walk, into the London mist
Did have a name, it was Oliver Twist
What was about to happen, would his life change
As Fagin for tomorrow, the new plans would arrange

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