The Hamlet of West Hampstead
I called on Bernard and Erica Kops the other day. It was prompted by my recent post about the peace poems leaflet of 1962, in which Bernard's celebrated poem 'Shalom Bomb' first appeared. I dropped Bernard a line, and was invited round for tea (and chocolate cake).
Bernard, now 94, is working on a play - 63 years after his renowned 'The Hamlet of Stepney Green' was first performed at the Oxford Playhouse. But Kops believes that his poetry is what he will be most remembered for. He said that his own poetry sometimes moves him to tears - not for the beauty of the words but for the beauty of human life that the verse represents.
Then he read me a poem - I wasn't expecting that! It was 'After the Car Crash' from his recent collection Love Death and Other Joys - about a walk with his grandson around the communal garden on to which his flat opens.
Benard, Erica (she's 87 and the couple have been together for 67 years) and I went for a short walk round that communal garden - and fittingly it was alive in the afternoon with children playing and running around, a scene which brought the couple great pleasure.
Two of the Kops' four children live looking on to this wonderful green area. Never mind Stepney Green - this is Kopses' Green:
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