Monday, October 27, 2008

The Richest Stones in Newport

This is Church House at 6 Portland Street, Newport, where the writer WH Davies was born. His was a fascinating life: Newport shoplifter; hobo in North America; London doss-house dweller; literary success. He is best known, of course, for his Autobiography of a Supertramp, which outlined his harsh but romantic life on the road.

The above picture dates from 1930, when he was still very much alive and happily married to former prostitute Helen Payne, in England. The building still stands today, although it is currently boarded up and looking a bit forlorn. Which is a shame because, Davies, in his poem The Richest Stones, said of his childhood abode:

My wandering days have run their course,
And Age is in my flesh and bones:
Of all the temples, domes, and towers,
Where have I found the richest stones?

The little house where I was born,
And where my early childhood lies,
Was built with solid blocks of gold,
And all its walls had diamond eyes.