I love random street art which blends with the environment, whether it’s the statue of Thomas Attwood, sitting on the steps outside Birmingham Central Library (see photo) or the words etched in the pavement around Stratford (a work by Janet Hodgson recording everyday interactions on a random Saturday in 2000 – read more).
Around the outside of the O2 Arena, there are various quotes and events written on the ground. This Shakespeare quote – see below – is just outside Greenwich tube station. Strangely this quote doesn’t have a reference – it’s from Sonnet 65 (listed in full below). And it’s inaccurate in two places:
- It should be ‘Or’not ‘Oh’
- It should be ‘his’ not ‘Time’
But I guess we can forgive Greenwich these liberties.
It reminds me of the things embedded in the ground around the Town Hall in Birmingham which show units of measurement. Dear city councillors: more of the same please.
Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea,
But sad mortality o’er-sways their power,
How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea,
Whose action is no stronger than a flower?
O, how shall summer’s honey breath hold out
Against the wreckful siege of battering days,
When rocks impregnable are not so stout,
Nor gates of steel so strong, but Time decays?
O fearful meditation! where, alack,
Shall Time’s best jewel from Time’s chest lie hid?
Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back?
Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid?
O, none, unless this miracle have might,
That in black ink my love may still shine bright.
(For the poetry-clueless – me among them – this sonnet is about decay and the inevitable march of time. Shakespeare discusses how poets/writers hope to achieve immortality through their writing.)