Posted by: David Harley | September 14, 2020

The Miles Between (the City and the Heart)

The Miles (Between the City and the Heart) [Harley] – all rights reserved

I wrote this in the 1970s, early-ish in my own 25 years in London. While I did spend much of that time in the ‘wastelands’ of West London, Lucy is not my alter ego: my spells in bedsits were by no means the worst years of my life. :) I haven’t actually played it anywhere in the last 40 years that I remember, so the tune is still fluctuating a little, and I’m not quite comfy with the words yet, so still a demo.



Deep in the Underground
Two policemen were patrolling up and down
An old man swearing to himself
Sifted through some rubbish that he’d found
A busker played out fantasies until they moved him off the concourse
And wrote him out of the part
As he whistled up the steps you’d never know that he was falling
In the miles between the city and the heart

Lucy checked her A to Z while the drama was played out
Then took the exit two steps at a time
The street signs and the time and the interview ahead
Were all that occupied her mind
From the top of the steps she saw him sitting by the roadside
Picking aimless chords on his guitar
When their eyes met she knew that he was falling
In the miles between the city and the heart

That night she sat alone in her bedsit in W9
Half-aware of the TV
Determined not to fret about another wasted journey
One more already-filled vacancy
Half-hoping for the phone, even a call from home
To ease the loneliness that crept under her guard
She looked at her bare walls, afraid she might be falling
In the miles between the city and the heart

Impatiently she switched the news off
Lit one more carefully-rationed cigarette
Gave up trying to write letters, scanned some ads in Time Out
And threw the magazine down on the bed
And prayed to someone, somewhere under her breath
“If I’m falling, please don’t let me land too hard.
I can’t go back now, please save me from the wasteland
In the miles between the city and the heart.”

Hat tip to Rebecca Over, from whom I nicked the phrase ‘the city and the heart’.

Rough video version here

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