Where new writing finds its voice
Literary London

Newington Green

John Hegley


In former times
a suburb where Nonconformists
could seek refuge from the crimes
of inner city intolerants
A place where Daniel could Defoe it,
and where others would poet (including Edgar Allan).
It’s where I went
one Sunday, heaven bent
on an hour spent
in the ancient
Unitarian Chapel
But I was to see that the services are infrequent 
(Every second, fourth and fifth Sunday at 11am, in fact.)
Then, I pounced upon a tract which announced
that singer Carol Grimes was to grapple
with the works of Mary Wollstonecraft.
Sadly, I had missed the night.
Gladly, there was another notice which read,
‘Many Beliefs,
One Faith’

Too Right.


Poet John Hegley was born in Newington Green at the Mildmay Memorial Hospital that used to stand on the south side of the Green. I asked John if he would write a column about his birthplace for Literary London, and was delighted when he phoned me a few weeks later to say that, instead, he had written a poem about the Green with accompanying illustration. ACG