(And who is my neighbour?)

We were just five doors down,
Sharing neighbours, some unknown
As they left with brief case and bowler hat
Headed no doubt for The City.
Unspeaking and self-contained,
Nearby, yet far removed
In their valleys, unexplored
By London Weekend Television.
Knock next door for the poodle
To welcome you with Swiss coffee,
Leckerli and Turkish Delight,  
Not only on Christmas Day,
Where the fence might as well have been down,
As we were there so much
That we had to rush home
For Neighbours at 5.30.
Those up the road were different
As Spurgeon baptised theology
In reformation history bristling with conflict.
And truth was covered with controversy
While Luther and Zwingli, who were neighbours
And certainly should have been friends,
Battled it out, head to head,
Before Jackie Chan appeared on screen.
But 203 were the true neighbours
Where even tropical fish felt at home,
And the sounds of a Bach cantata floated
Over the aroma of a Balti curry,
And Norwegian biscuits were shared
Around a Latvian Bible and Copenhagen harbour
When someone called from Toronto -
Far away, yet still a neighbour.

To Marylla Simpson, and the Mitchell family who lived at 203 South Norwood Hill.

Click here to read the story Jesus told to answer the lawyer's question: 'Who is my neighbour?'

May 2012