When I walk down Leather Lane I hear music.
It reaches me through open windows high
above the street
the goldsmith’s hammer taps a rhythm
as he rounds a ring on the mandrel
with a metallic staccato pinging
A pendant drill whines and whirrs
up a crescendo, down a diminuendo
and fades away to silence.
This is the stone-setter carving precious
metal seats for diamonds to recline in.
Blue flames whisper
softly they mimic a jet engine
as a mounter solders wires and tubes
with a surgeon’s eye – precise, and steady hand
A quenching hiss announces that
the danger of hot metal (seared fingers)
no longer poses a threat.
Diamond papers rustle to the tune
of old timers accented lyrics
“For’ee poin’uh wharra bargin
Polishing motors rush strong gusts of wind,
sawblades sing and files rasp
up and down sheets and bars of silver.
The ultrasonic cleaner buzzes jewels
back to sparkling.
But these softly spoken cacophonies
only reach those with an ear to hear.
Time changes the beat changes time.
New players have joined the orchestra.
Where there were goldsmiths, now there are coffeesmiths
Clinking and tinking no longer a rhythmic staccato
as cutlery, china and glass ad lib in free style.
The jetplane sound now roars directly at street level
as the coffee engines of Prufrock and The Department
of Coffee and Social Affairs fire up
taking off with Heathrowian regularity
Syphons bubbling black gold issue periodic gurgles.
I grow accustomed to the new soundtrack
as I trip down Leather Lane
before slipping into a dust laden hallway
to collect a newly faceted green garnet
or deliver an engraved silver candlestick
to the polisher behind these locked doors
where I can yet enjoy the music of my trade
whilst sipping a Cappuccino.