Peter Phillips (pictured) was musing on a plan to write
about Hampstead Garden Suburb in spring when he had
a phone call from the residents' association chairman.
Lewis was asking him to pen a poem to mark the suburb's
centenary this year.
had on my desk a collection by Arthur Jacobs including
the poem NW2 in Spring—so there was serendipity about
me reading the poem at the same time as that phone call."
a suburb resident of 35 years, who lives in Asmuns Hill,
had always planned to write about spring flowers and
saw a way to connect suburb founder Henrietta Barnett's
religious faith, faith in the building project, and
faith in horticulture.
saw a way to make a metaphor for Henrietta Barnett's
faith through flowers via an imaginary conversation
with her husband Samuel," says Phillips, who has
been writing poetry for more than a decade and has published
was delighted to be asked to celebrate the area he feels
word that keeps popping into everyone's vocabulary about
the Suburb is community. If you live here for
a few years, you can't help but feel part of it and
did you say, dear?
hundred years, Henrietta.
you like to be there?
can't think that far,
so much to do tomorrow.
yes, I know Mr Parker and Mr Unwin
be dead—and so will we.
I tell you—please listen Samuel
do remember to rest—
asked them what flowers they enjoyed?
Unwin said daffodils and Mr Parker crocuses.
said I hoped to plant
bulbs in our Central Square
would try to ensure
be set out
beautiful order and symmetry,
like their houses. Then I saw
glance at each other and smile.
I have made them smile, dear husband?
wouldn't you like to be there—
all your fruit trees?
It's one thing to have a life's duty
another going back when one's dead...
world does so hurry along,
I couldn't endure that.
I know our architects' flowers will flourish—
gossiping like schoolgirls,
caring for them—
our churches hum to the hymn of Easter.
you think Mr Parker and Mr Unwin
be pleased with that?