This is a drawing I did when in self-imposed exile in Hackney. I was rather pleased with the drawing of two men working on the flat-roof on the other side of the wall, top right. But a mouse got into my plan-chest and chewed up the paper – and the men – for a nest. So much for vanity.
The men working on the roof were linked in my mind with the man on the building in the wonderful Jongkind etching. ‘Demolitions dans la Rue des Francs Bourgeois, St Marcel,’ where every line is alive. Jongkind seems to me to reach a peak of energy and expressiveness in his etchings which he never quite finds elsewhere. There is, also in my mind, a link to the two men working or the roof in my poem ‘Two walks with K‘.
Well. However that may be, the mouse won. Nothing lasts in this universe, as the Anglo Saxon poets knew. Or as Dryden later put it, with an etcher’s vigour:
All human things are subject to delay
And when fate beckons, monarchs must obey
Happy New Year (not to mice)