DOMINE DIRIGE NOS | London is a girl with salt water in her veins and flames for hair. She’s a thief in city of thieves, and far too interested in robbing the world blind.
She has been an urchin, in her time. A soldier, a scientist, a spectre of sorts. There are two thousand years of echoes behind her eyes; Roman walls old bones poking through new skin. Her body is a map of scars: burns on her arms, shrapnel working in her back.
She talks to the tower ravens, for all her heart of stone (a literal one too: it’s on Cannon Street), and they reminisce on monarchs past. She has always preferred the writers (whose words cling to her cobbles and catch in her hair) and the artists (who made her in light and shadow).
She is the wild woods grown back in glass and iron.
London isn’t a girl, not really. She has always been calling and burning and falling and breathing fog like dragon smoke.
Bruce Davidson, Girl Holding Kitten, 1960. © Bruce Davidson / Magnum Photos.