Tag Archives: Arts and Crafts


Isn’t this aubergine beautiful.

It’s mis-shapen (according to the supermarket) and therefore cheaper than the uniformly straight, uniformly purpled aubergines which cost twice as much.  Pretty difficult to tell the difference (THAT should be the new moniker….’Tell the Difference’….) once it’s bubbling along with the lamb in a tagine for supper.

Anyhow, it got me thinking about the big, beautiful, imperfect houses which I walk past every day and which are slowly being deprived of character and turned into Barratt houses….if you want a spanking new house then go and buy one and leave the characterful ones to those who appreciate a scuffed skirting board and less than perfect plaster.

Arts and Crafts

It fell down last March.

A too-warm day and the blossom out on the cherry, early,

in the front garden.

Paths and lawn and drive dull-churned to screed

and gravelled runnels

where the lorries had pushed their way in,

shaving the stone pillars as they reversed,

spewing diesel,

shoving branches ’til they cracked.

It’s just a tree.

Just a wall.

But a young man built that wall,

hot august burning his young neck to leather

cradling the stone in his arms like a child,

finding the right fit.


The house was careful, crafted, waxed and nurtured.

It was settled and bedded into the earth

and breathed deeply, rhythmically,

suiting its people,

its rippled glass glowing comfortable yellow light.


It’s screaming now.

Men important in yellow hats pose and peer and nod safe agreement

and the man with the sleek car whose doors close with the thunk of wealth

stands and strokes his prize.

I can hear it from the door,

open like the shriek of a mouth:

the rip of wooden panels levered from brick

hurled into a skip, nails clawing the air,

the smash of splintered porcelain

crazed nickel taps lying in shock

and the milk green bath that cocooned us

and comforted us and heard our childish gibber

lies exposed and shamed.

Window sills singed with stubbed out cigarettes

and branded by the dust white heat of a mug,



They heave in limestone and marble and halogen

and clear untroubled glass

to dress its nakedness.


It felt its disgrace too hard and

started a low grumble

which grew to a screeching din enough to cleave open the earth.

Clay and flint exposed for an instant til

the house cracked and tilted, drunk, and fell

wall against wall

roof against cellar

to a satisfied mound of lime spewing rubble.



A paint chart still flapping, floundering in dirt.





Filed under gardens, poems, poetry, writing