The coming of a new age, of which the buildings round Poet’s Corner were a portent, found a reflection in the poet’s verse. Guillaume de Vere-Tipple was socially conscious to a remarkable degree and had long entertained doubts as to the security of capitalist society, doubts which received striking confirmation when International Nickel, in which he had inherited a large holding, slumped to 11½. Making a clean break with the past, his next volume of poetry, the liftshaft (Faber and Faber 1937) appeared above the signature Bill Tipple, and, as may be seen from the poem quoted below, this reorientation is reflected in the contents:—
crackup in barcelona among the bleached skeletons of the olive trees stirs a bitter wind and maxi my friend from the mariahilfer strasse importunately questions a steely sky his eyes are two holes made by a dirty finger in the damp blotting paper of his face the muscular tissues stretched tautly across the scaffolding of bone are no longer responsive to the factory siren and never again will the glandular secretions react to the ragtime promptings of the palais-de-danse and I am left balanced on capricorn the knife-edge tropic between anxiety and regret while the racing editions are sold at the gates of football grounds and maxi lies on a bare catalan hillside knocked off the tram by a fascist conductor who misinterpreted a casual glance.
The late war dealt hardly with Poet’s Corner. Fortunately the house itself is still standing, but the confectioner’s next door was totally demolished and extensive damage was caused to much of the surrounding property.
After the end of the conflict, in a misguided effort to relieve the considerable local housing shortage, an estate of pre-fabricated dwelling-houses was erected by the Borough Council in what had been erstwhile the shady groves and green retreats of the Littlehampton Memorial Park.
Today Poet’s Corner is up for sale: its owner, Bill Tipple, who on the outbreak of war had been a conscientious objector, but who, on hearing the news of the invasion of Russia, experienced a complete change of heart and immediately joined the