Black Friday in Soho

The day the lights went out in London,
Workers rushed to look outside,
At Golden Square, no longer bathed in
Golden light from all four sides.

A few took pictures through the windows,
Of central London swathed in black,
But darkness turned their shots to photos
Of, “What in heaven’s name is that?”

(The once-a-lifetime circumstances
They were fortunate to see
Could not  – cried they, “what were the chances?” –
Be witnessed by technology.)

Outside, the evening crowds thronged, coldly,
As workers shrugged and left for home,
And Christmas garlands glittered, dully,
In light from many mobile phones.

No restaurants, nor bars could serve;
No theatres swallowed up the crowds,
Of people, drawn in from the suburbs:
Travelled up to paint the town.

Then in the dark streets, in the throng,
A blackout memory awoke:
The day the lights went out in London,
Complete strangers stopped, and spoke.

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