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these walls do talk

Updated: Apr 10, 2023

Banksy street art — photo by author, taken at a Paris exhibition, November 2022 — Banksy claims no copyright

wallpapered layer after wallpapered layer I peel away the glued-on generations that dwelled in this old house till finally I reach the writing on the whitewashed walls measurements and sums in fat black pencil and sprouting from a triangle mildewed and dark a craftsman’s Freudian graffiti puerile and lewd and so these walls do talk gossip and whisper of creation and construction and long gone lusts until one day the wrecking ball will swing and reduce them

to silence


Of course, they talk. They don't even have to be ancient. Anyone who’s ever renovated an old house, stripping it down to its bare walls, will tell you so. You may not find hidden treasure, though that does happen on occasion, but the stories are there for the taking, little gems of themselves, if you care to observe and listen. The uncovering of a craftsman’s crude graffiti in a late 1950's house inspired the above poem. But what sparked an entire novel was the discovery in an old farmhouse of this:

Though the cottage where this graffiti was found dates back to the mid-18th century, the mural itself is only 80 years old. It was drawn in 1943 by a bored German soldier billeted in the old farm. Want to read more about the mural and the novel? Then follow one of the links below:

  • on Medium

  • or here on my website

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