Poem for International World Poetry Day and the amazing women of Granby, Liverpool.

Four Streets.


On Beaconsfield Street

Rosa leaves her house, stares at boarded out windows,

Moments later she’s searching out for old tins, brushes and a ladder,

And then she’s painting curtains onto council ply –

Painting curtains

in blue, purple, yellow.

Painting out black –

putting hope back.

Because this is not a war zone,

This is Granby,

This is her home

And she’s just not having it anymore.


She’s not alone –

Around her, doors open,

Brushes brandished.


Next door in Cairn Street,

Eleanor digs and plants,

tends and nurtures green

so that the grey and the bleak will realise that they have no place here.

Ivys and creepers climb,

hold on tight to would be ghost buildings.

Daffodils cheer from suitcases, tyres and bedroom drawers

as Eleanor weeds,

because this is not a lost cause,

This is Granby

This is her home

Not a war zone.


Back at Beaconsfield

paint dries in Liverpool sunshine.

Now at number fifty six, pink polka dot curtains dance in acrylic,

At number seventy

two black cats now sit well glossed

watch the world unflinching,

whilst at the top, at ninety one,

Joan looks out from her living room window

as her son brings Conwy Castle to life;

paints a ruin onto a ruin,

then steps back and says

“There’s your view mother.”


Seasons change.

The wild flowers sown by Helen

on wasted land

in Duycie Street, grow tall.

More street art appears-

the council’s ‘No Ball Games’ sign on the wall

mysteriously transforms into ‘Games Please!’


children start to emerge

like the butterflies

painted in gold onto doors of blue.

And they play,

like they should do.


Over the years the council come,

and they say they’ll paint them over,

Or they’ll knock them down,

But they won’t, though they’ll try.

And then they say they’ll sell them privately,

but the companies don’t buy.


Eleanor, Carol, Maria and Anne

are with Rosa and Theresa’s husband Jo.

There’s a gang of them on Jermyn and Kingsley,

Theresa’s organising where things should go cos there’s a market starting

outside Eleanor’s, it’s crammed with stalls, home-made cakes

and Rosa’s jerk chicken and music to make your heart sing,

Music to make your heart sing!

And Granby beats like it used to, back in the day,

when its soul had a different ska.


Some might say it’s been payback for a riot

30 years of managed decay,

But there’s a group of women who won’t keep quiet,

a group of people who want their say.


Here’s to Eleanor, Rosa, Theresa and Anne,

And to all those who won’t let it lie,

there’s too many years of promises broken

And they’re not just letting these buildings die.


Bring them curtains and hang them in every window

Mend the roofs, fix the floor,

Watch them walk home with their heads held high


Because this is not a war zone

These are our streets

These are our homes.


These are homes.






A sense of place blog about ‘Four Streets’ Granby.

Alison Down. March 2013



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