Wormwood isn’t here
The sign said, rather waspishly.
It wasn’t the Wormwood I remembered;
Scrubs Lane on a wet Sunday
The outback in West London
No buses, no cars, no people
Just limp grass, acres of the stuff
And, oh yes, the finest redbrick edifice
Victoria’s henchmen could construct.
No rotting bodies in here, my friend.
Not Newgate, not by a long shot
Though debts must still be paid
And some may still get laid
Lord Alfred Douglas lay here,
As did Charles Bronson,
Keith Richards, Leslie Grantham.
And George Blake
Scurrying along in his traitor’s gait
Till the day he pole-vaulted to freedom
More or less
Before waving goodbye
To his English life,
His liberty and his wife
And all those Wormwood scrubbers