‘Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850 to 1894’, children’s author,
A grand plaque perched on his wall in Mount Vernon
Roaming; here briefly, when in London literary circles.
He lived in Edinburgh, Bournemouth, San Francisco, Paris.
Hampstead kidnapped this storyteller-poet, passing through
‘George du Maurier lived here, 1874 to 1895’, born in France
Cartoonist and novelist; Punch said, ‘very good in parts’
Christchurch, bells ringing, clinging to the steep hillside
Walking along this path; nursery, school, vicarage, prayers
Then more labyrinthine passageways and squares
A stark 1850’s New Court, for the servants to the wealthy
No plaque for Sex Pistols at No. 39, a squat in the late 70s
No water, no light, ‘Hell on earth,’ said Johnny Rotten.
Sid Vicious, they say, carved his memorial there in brick
Yorkstone mazes, cobbled streets, high walls, crooked shadows
Alleyways of Hampstead Village, crazed cottage chimneys
Bright, lit-up doors and windows, startling floodlights, watching
Canopies of flowers beckon friends at the Quaker House sanctuary
On almost every street, plaques; black, green, blue & white
They stare at each other, greeting in a proud celebration
Christmas cheer for all by ‘Sir Henry Cole, Elm Row, 1879 – 1880’
A wreath on the locked door of the Hollybush Pub
A note below, ‘good health to you in these strange times’
In the Vale of Health, ‘Lord Northcliffe’, newspaper magnate ‘1870 – 1873’
Thinking of the Daily Mirror and the Daily Mail, aged 5 to 8 years old?
Rabindranath Tagore here too, 1912; Hemingway, a year in World War II
Elysium over soot & grime, ‘Constable, 1770 – 1837’, painted Judge’s Walk
‘Paul Robeson, 1898 – 1976’, actor, singer, Show Boat, London 1928
And in the early 1930s, looking up from his house to Whitestone Pond
These narrow roads, crooked steps, paths, snapshots
From tiny youth to aged discovery, passing by, passing on
© Christopher 2021 [email protected]