SOMEONE ELSE'S RIVER (after Andrew Motion)

In a specially commissioned poem, the Independent on Sunday's poet takes up the plight of the walker on the Thames Path.

It's someone else's river, this

Not yours or mine, kid

Save your tears

The Knightsbridge Navy captured it

They've held this bit for several years.

And through those bars, in privacy

Where well-appointed lovers kiss

CCTV shall pan that glade

It's someone else's river this.

The cockney convicts left this way

In barges crewed by foul-mouthed men

I guess that's why the gates are locked;

In case they all come back again.

At Bermondsey,

The name's less changed

In fifteen hundred years or so

Than all the wharves your grandad knew

Which saw the merchants come and go.

But luxury apartments lounge

Where dockers hoisted coal and seed

These porticos and intercoms

Are all the new incumbents need.

Walk on now kid, look over there

To Millwall of the seven mills.

If no one likes them, they don't care

But somewhere in the Cotswold hills

The Thames the ancient Romans saw

Meandered, sloshed from Gloucestershire

Before it spewed its mighty ring.

In someone else's river here.

Where shaky sailors stepped ashore

With silk and spice and samovars

Some sod dictates they lock the gates

The underwolves may twoc their cars

What modern walkers can't recall

Is something that we'll never miss

Well that's their line of thinking, kid.

It's someone else's river, this

Martin Newell