Head of Soft Power and External Affairs Department, Communication Directorate
3rd September 2019 London,UK
In praise of London’s parks
Brasilia’s City Park, named after Sarah Kubitschek, the spouse of the President responsible for the founding of the city in the late 1950s, covers an area of more than 900 acres. It has some impressive features, including modernist toilet blocks decorated with ceramic tiles from Brazilian master Athos Bulcao. I was intrigued to see that, courtesy of an organisation called Seminovos, promoting running among the over 50s, it also boasts its own anthem, entitled “Liberty”. Refrain: “Liberty, where do you live? I’m here, I live in the park.”
While Brasilia’s City Park impresses for its size, I’ve found few urban parks around the world to rival the finest of London’s parks. Here’s my modest attempt at, if not quite a stirring anthem, at least a piece of poetry in their honour. It may perhaps be closer to McGonagall than Byron, but it is no less heartfelt for that.
St James’s Park boasts many fans
Of its fine Volga pelicans.
In Hyde Park, if the weather’s fine,
Take a dip in the Serpentine.
Wimbledon Common is so green –
They say the Wombles keep it clean.
Greenwich Park is the place to be
For devotees of GMT.
London’s parks are mighty pretty.
They’re the green heart of the city.
Regent’s Park has a tube station
And large penguin population.
Green Park, distinctly nobly, sits
Between Buck Palace and the Ritz.
Hampstead Heath is the place to choose
For those who favour stunning views.
And leafy Richmond Park will cheer
Aficionados of red deer.
London’s parks are terrific fun.
There’s loads to do for everyone.
If you want rest, or just a lark,
Head on down to your local park.