Passing through Balham, south London – Christian Ward

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 
next door. 
Somewhere behind all this 
lies an ordinary suburban house
extending its arms around 
all that lies within its moat, 
desperate to protect its oasis. 

Christian Ward