Heinous crime against rhyme on the Tube – by Richard Godwin

I’m sure Transport for London spent good money on its new rhyming posters promoting good manners on the Tube. One example, particularly bad: “If you spot someone ill or in pain // please try to help them off the train // We can offer aid much more quickly // on the platform if they’re sickly//.”

Which poetaster came up with that? Which ignoramus signed it off? I bet they were impressed that it rhymed — but say it aloud. I guarantee you will stumble, for the metre is all over the place. It’s the equivalent of hiring an artist who can’t draw noses, or a drummer who can’t count to four.

It could so easily be remedied. The first line is perfect anapestic trimetre — three beats of three. One way of making it work:
“If you spot someone ill or in pain
Would you please help them get off the train?
They can get their first aid much more quickly
On the platform, if they’re feeling sickly.”

To think of all the poor poets across London who could have been hired as consultants.

Richard Godwin, Snr writer at The Standard
Richard Godwin,
Snr writer at The Standard

3 thoughts on “Heinous crime against rhyme on the Tube – by Richard Godwin”

    1. Thanks – there’ve been a couple more articles like this just recently as tfl are posting more of these poems on underground station walls.

       

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