Hackney Central


The bus station pumps out 

red buses 

55, 106, 254 

Much is not pretty — 

Soaks spill from the spoons 

Onto sodden streets mucky 

With gobbets of life 

People open hands for help 

While others turn inwards. 

It is multi coloured, monochrome, 

shadowy thumping loud 

sirens slicing, screaming, shouting.

Much is not ugly, there are families 

of delivery guys, shopkeepers, homeless 

A village within the city 

Where people smile and nod as 

They dance around each other. 

At the centre an ancient tower, 

With a graveyard behind it 

a walled garden, noisy with children, 

where a blackbird runs amongst the bushes 

Trees greening everything 

There is a church grim 

with a homeless man he’s guarding.


Annie Cowell grew up in a tiny fishing village on the north east coast of England which dates back to before the Norman Conquest. She now lives by the sea in Cyprus with her husband and rescue dogs and writes whenever she can. She has poems published or forthcoming in Popshot Quarterly, Paddler Press, Gastropoda, and others. She is a BOTN nominee. Her debut chapbook Birth Mote(s) was published by Alien Buddha Press in July 2022 and her second chapbook, Splashing Pink, is forthcoming with Hedgehog Press in 2023.