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Places 2023

Poet for Places 2023 Kira Nelson



Kira Nelson is an emerging voice in the London poetry scene. A young queer poet and screenwriter from Orpington, she has been performing at open mic events since 2021. Deeply personal, her work is full of open-mindedness.“Be honest, be emotional and don’t write blankly, there has always got to be something behind what’s on the page.”

Kira studying for a BA in Creative Writing at Brunel University London.

Over the year, Kira will uncover London's secret places and curiosities, interpreting them lyrically in new ways. Watch as her collection grows over the coming months. Her latest videos and pieces will be shared below.

We asked Kira how she felt about becoming Poet for Places 2023...

"Poetry is my go-to medium of self-expression and an invaluable outlet. It gives you the power to touch topics that you are passionate about in a personal, meaningful way; to look not only outward at how you perceive the world around you but also within yourself." 


Are you excited?

"This is going to be huge for me. London is my birthplace but there is so much I have yet to discover. I am in love with modern history and the city is perhaps more steeped in it than any other in the Western World. We are an almost unparalleled centre of culture, innovation and beautiful uniqueness. I am proud to be a Londoner and I can't wait to get started!"

Columbia Market.png


By Kira Nelson

Inspired by Columbia Market Gates


I speak of the grey 

Of towers melting tall, angled shadows

Melding into history’s mist

In the city’s midst

A British Versailles

Her crown jewel, adorned in speckled grey

I speak of the grand daughter

Whose well-meaning mortar pierced Bethnal sky

Whose riches raised spiny mountains

Whose kindness kept them standing 

Looming over cobbled court, to sate its traders, judge and jury

Honeycombed with rooms, all manner of wares

And yet still brittle 


The market tree was felled

Whittled down to gates, lions, strawberry and lavender murals

Silence in the sunflower slum

Near recycling bins, hungry jackdaws leant on scaffold

While crowds pass by in blinks 

But no, not quite dead, not quite gone

For while London burned, its walls endured

Empty halls to a grey teeming with colour

A brick greenhouse to sprout new stories

The railings, the gates, the iron

Its sole survivors, standard bearers

The angel’s hope remains, the grey has bled away

To leave the black, and with it

A brave new day

15. Henrion Sign - Image - Heritage of London Trust.JPG


By Kira Nelson

Inspired by Henrion Street Sculpture


Two roads diverge where the elm trees stood 

Watching on through crossroads 

Winding whispering woods 

Pebble columns, amber grass 

My old stomping ground holding fast 

I see them peer over high brick walls 

The gargoyles in their stately homes 

Past the anchor, marked in bold 

Tucked away, laid to rest 

On long streets paved with molten gold 

I watch on through crossroads 

Sunsoaked, in a coat of new green paint 

For I was born not far from here 

Under the gargoyles’ eye 

Steered off the garden path, my fate 

Semi-Detached, train tracks, London’s gaol 

Beneath poorer, bluer sky 

For I was born not far from here 

Under old Queen Mary’s eye 

Now standing dissonant where the elm trees stood 

Watching the cars passing by 

Wanstead Grotto front


By Kira Nelson

Inspired by Wanstead Grotto


Tear from her breast what she most holds dear

Tears of the nymph drained dry through fear

Children mine, soaked in blood wine

A sacrifice to stem a rake’s demise

Ripped away in screaming silence

To deplore my loss without ceremony

My Atlantis sank beneath the tides

My hero entombed beside me

Locks and chains both drowned to appease

The god who prays for my ills

I signed his page, my life was claimed

To settle scores reaped from sorry council wars

He stole away my birthright and I

Succumbed to deathly canker sores


We were once abed with greatness

Riches won from kings, then lost to paupers

Scenes of the gala, of higher battle and balls

Emblazoned our walls, our gilded funeral shroud

Green-eyed maidens whose gowns swept our halls

Turned keen-eyed vultures gathered at clean carcass

While I watched, heart wrung out, a prideful joy scorned

The gorgon’s eye conquered

Beneath stone skin, I mourned

Chained to these reefs I lie in state

I am Andromeda, we were Prometheus

Raked raw by talons, our eagle overseer

Now devours what it can, leaves angels for dead

They gather my pieces from sodden soil

Where echoes rang of revelries long ended

Where we danced our holy melancholy

Now we, the vermin, remain at song’s end

Poseidon’s victory achieved

Cast headlong into Hades’ maw

Our sigil, my heartache’s enduring legacy

The snakes limp rags in eagle’s jaws


Torn from my breast what I most held dear

Tears of the nymph, stalactites of yesteryear

They dried in the flames, rotted as the grot breathed last

Andromeda remains, chained at half mast

I sleep eternal, conjoined with earthly blood

Congealed, unhealed, worn away in time’s flood

For my life, O Athene, I have no love

Save my daughter and my sons

Paint my embrace in distant skies

And let it brighten their lives to come