I love cities. I love the challenge of trying to capture something of them in poetry. This series of poems was produced as part of my 2016 #LPKidsPoetry residency with Lonely Planet Kids. It’s a kind of city mystery tour. In poetry. There are nine short poems, inspired by nine cities around the world. As you read each one you have to try and guess where we are, before moving onto the next. The clues are in the poetry.
When you think you’ve worked it out, click the ‘Where am I?’ toggle after the picture to reveal the answer and see if you’re in the right place. Happy travels!
Where Am I? 1
The sky’s alive with metal; giant arms that grow and build
the towers that cannot settle, until the heavens are filled.
The Catalan man and visionary who made the Holy Family
created me a park bench seat; a gothic serpent of the sea.
If you can tell me where I am, I’ll be rather thrilled.
Where Am I? 2
I start my day at a famous gate once dividing west and east.
I view the scrawl upon the Wall, an icon of freedom and peace.
I potter past Potsdamer Platz in a clapped out classic Trabi.
I grin at the Grimmest fairytale, and checkout Checkpoint Charlie.
Oh I like to be beside the Spree. Can you locate me please?
Where am I? 3
My face is framed by clouds as it peers out from a silver bean.
My loud cheers help the Cubs on to achieve their sporting dream.
The Metro plays the blues as I go riding on the loop,
re-reading juicy details from The Tribune’s latest scoop.
Can you tell me where I am, now I’ve told you what I’ve seen?
Where am I? 4
I cheer on racing camels as they pummel desert track.
At The Top, the tallest tower takes me to the stars and back.
A water park propels me through a tube of toothy sharks.
I drift on dhows at sunset, seeking spice in souks at dark.
Can you tell me where I am? I’d quite like to unpack!
Where am I? 5
A shard of glass stabs skywards, several footie pitches high.
Can you guess where I am standing, in the blinking of an eye?
The power of this location strikes precisely once an hour
while royal diamonds twinkle from a raven laden tower.
This city is a game of Monopoly. So tell me, where am I?
Where am I? 6
I see a steely tower lighting up the bedtime sky.
High on medieval cathedral I meet evil gargoyle’s eye.
I take a bike ride Seine-side, and glide past Bateaux Mouches.
I slide flaky half-moon pastries into my bouche
in pretty city patisseries. So tell me where am I?
Where am I? 7
I’m one guest in a million for this Latin sporty host.
A cable car transports me up a rocky sugar loaf.
I came with the aim of ‘ahh’-ing the girl from Ipanema
so I’ll see if I can find her at the feet of the Redeemer.
Can you tell me where I am? I’m in a city by the coast.
Where am I? 8
This city contains a country and attracts the crowds to pray.
La Dolce Vita fountain blesses everyone with spray.
As chefs make doughy pizzas and frothy cappuccinos
the piazza is a rainbow of gelato and bambinos.
I wonder if you might know where I’ve come on holiday?
Where am I? 9
I wake up in a capsule, and say hello to Kitty
in a café. In the centre of this gaming friendly city
I can while away a whole day criss-crossing at a junction
that brightens up the universe with LED and neon.
I dine along with Tron. Where am I? Can you tell me?