Passing through Balham, south London
An ashram is wedged against an Italian
restaurant - both vying for attention
like a pair of competing leaves.
Estate agents arm wrestle for business.
Charity shop shutters, open like hands
asking for donations, flutter.
The wrought iron facade of the train
station, intricate as the artistry
of climbing roses, adds calm
against the rowdy McDonald's
Somewhere behind all this
lies an ordinary suburban house
extending its arms around
all that lies within its moat,
desperate to protect its oasis.