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"Am I alone in my egotism when I say that never does the pale light of dawn 
filter through the blinds of 52 Tavistock Square but I open my eyes 
and exclaim,'Good God! Here I am again!'...?" Virginia Woolf


The Woolfs’ house was on the south side of the Square.

From there the couple ran the Hogarth Press.

The place was razed by a stray bomb in the Blitz –

but they had moved, the year the war started,

to their house in Sussex near the river Ouse.


In the Square’s gardens there is: a cherry tree

planted in remembrance of Hiroshima

and Nagasaki; a stone memorial

to conscientious objectors; a bronze statue

of Ghandi sitting cross legged in his dhoti;

and much else that speaks softly for peace,

for tolerance, for charity, for hope.


Hasib Hussain’s target was the Northern Line

from King’s Cross – but it had been suspended

earlier that morning. He tried to phone

the other three – but got no answers.

He boarded the number 30 somewhere

on Euston Road. The bus – the first three bombs

having already jammed the traffic –

was diverted down Upper Woburn Place

into the Square. Outside the BMA

he killed himself, and thirteen strangers.


He was 18, an FE student,

a member of  his local cricket

and football teams. Late that night his parents,

worried he had not returned from his trip

to London with his friends, rang Scotland Yard.


Virginia, two years after they had moved,

walked into the Ouse. Her body was found

some weeks later. A bronze bust of the writer

is in the south west corner of the Gardens.

‘Am I alone in my egotism…?’




© Copyright David Selzer
3 Responses
  • John Huddart
    May 25, 2018

    An astonishing collection of incident. What riches London accumulates.

  • Keith Johnson
    May 31, 2018

    Set me thinking about shared space, personal time(s) and the morality of presence, absence and replacement [if that makes sense?] Very thought-provoking.

  • Alan Horne
    June 19, 2018

    I like the slightly formal phrasing of this, and also that you treat the bomber as a human being, which I think is essential if we are to combat these terrible events.

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