by Ivor Gurney
I would hope for the children of West Ham
Wooden-frame houses, square with some-sort stuff
Crammed in to keep the wind away that's rough,
And rain, in summer cool, in cold comfortable enough.
Easily destroyed - and pretty enough, and yet tough
Instead of brick and mortar tiled houses of no
Special appearance or attractive show.
Not crowded together, but with a plot of land
Where one might play and dig, and use spade or the hand
In managing or shaping earth in such forms,
As please the sunny mind or keep out of harms
The mind that's always good when let go its way
(I think) so there's work enough in a happy day.
Not brick and tile, but wood, thatch, walls of mixed
Material, and buildings in plain strength fixed.
Likeable, good to live in, easily pulled
Down, and in winter with warm ruddy light filled -
In summer with cool air; O better this sort of shelter -
And villages on the land set helter-skelter
On hillsides, dotted on plains; that the too exact
Straight streets of modern times that strait and strict
And formal keep man's spirit within bounds,
Where too dull duties keep in monotonous rounds
These villages to make for these towns of today -
O Haste - and England shall be happy with the May
Or meadow-reach to watch, miles to see and away.
Last updated July 01, 2015