ON THE CORNER (© Words and music by Paul F. Cowlan )

Hicksville meets The Muse? In September 2000 I took part in a poetry performance at Speakers Corner, Hyde Park. It’s sometimes reassuring to confirm you’re not the only loonie on the planet. I dedicate this to fellow poets Laura King, and Praveen and Russell of ‘Project Adorno’.


Down on The Corner rain or shine,
Soapbox orators all in a line.
Take your pick and take your time.
Everything you want is free.

There are stand-up poets and a Bobby on a horse,
the ‘brothers’ and the ‘mothers’, and the nutters of course.
And the Happy and the Clappy all out in force.
God was a UFO!

Big, black brother with the cool shades on,
tall and bald in his uniform.
‘See what your daughters and your sons have done.
Living in sex and sin!’


Sandwich-board with a tale to tell.
Holy Moly is alive and well.
See you in Heaven or see you in Hell.
‘The end of the world is nigh!’

Red hot Harry is a socialist,
picking up the votes that the others have missed.
He’s never been conned, and he’s never been kissed.
‘Down with the bourgeoisie!’

Khonu Shlobby Blobbo is a holy man,
takes your money whenever he can.
Open up your heart, and your wallet and your hand;
and live on love and peas.

A white ten-gallon and a bootlace tie;
six foot six and nine miles high.
‘Jesus loves you!’ My oh my!
‘Hear the word of the Lord.’


Old King Cole is a merry old soul,
with a pipe and a fiddle and a salad bowl,
black jemimas and a jelly mould,
he’s gonna change the world.

Jump up, jump down, singing the Blues.
Half-mast trousers, plastic shoes.
Giving out the message and spreading the news.
Everybody gather round.


Down on The Corner, round the bend,
upturned beer crates end on end.
If you’ve got time, and an ear to lend,
bring your soul along.