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  • Writer's pictureDan Simpson

TURN ON A SIXPENCE - POEM


The Savoy Hotel in London


Black taxies are legally required to be able to turn within a circle of 25ft - that’s a really tight spin, enabling them to execute a U-turn in the narrow roads of London. The law came about because of the small roundabout at the Savoy Hotel - at least, that’s how the story goes! This is also one of the only roads in the UK in which you drive on the right hand side. Again, tradition - and perhaps a pinch of poetic romance - says that it was to allow ladies disembarking a Hansom cab to step down straight to the pavement, and avoid the road.


I love half-mythical facts like this, which point to the long history of the trade. I wrote a poem about a London cab’s ability to ‘turn on a sixpence - read it below!


Turn on a Sixpence 


Can I turn a poem on a sixpence?


Take you from:


reflecting on the epic scale of a supernov

its vast energies radiating out in a stream of light

and how your life is part of this beautiful whole Universe to:


the fraction of a second when bad news lands in your body

and a space is clawed open

into which grief rushes in


as quickly as a cab spins through

the tiny roundabout at the Savoy Hotel?


The trick being to help you realise that

despite the G-force and potential for whiplash

you are basically in the same place

just facing another way.


Perhaps the force of such a sudden literary manoeuver

would leave you flattened into your seat

unable to speak back

until we complete our circle

and set off more gently again.



The Savoy Hotel in London


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