Cornelissen’s, SOAS, Russell Hotel

Writing the City 1.

A huddle of brolly ladies wait before facing the rain,
ancient glistening flagstones reflect the light,
ochre,violet,blue like walking on water.
Egyptian tourist poster of Sharma Shieh on red double-decker.

Pass Colossal,Corinthian,colonnade to Cornelissen’s
too tidy shelves and dainty displays of paints,
pastels,inks and powders of Eygptian blue,
verdigris and vermillion and the smell of craft.

In SOAS photos of Madian Saleh, Al Ula
and skeletal remains of the Hejaz Railway
from Laurence of Arabia’s time.
Excavated from the desert they are
now a Unesco World Heritage Site.

The Japanese roof garden has wet slate blue tiles,
jet black pebbles and steel chains running off
the steady rain from today’s dismal sky.

The hideously ornate Russell Hotel lobby has
swirly blood red and white marble columns
encircling a mosaic horoscope with a winking sun eye.

In the foyer Rosemary in dapper hat and I sit
ensconced in comfy green leather armchairs as
a genial doorman invites us to return-anytime!
Phyllis Lane


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