In Bleeding Heart Yard…

pulses quicken at fog-muffled
footsteps on the cobbles.

Along the soot-soaked lanes,
pawn shops and tenements topple,

and blackened windows
weep tears of grime.

They see it all: every good deed
and every murderous crime,

pickpockets, pimps and paupers,
desperate drabs and abused daughters.

The dross of life oozes, sobbing and mumbling
from the murky shadows between the crumbling –

but there’s no escape for those who’ve been scarred
by a sentence spent in Bleeding Heart Yard.

Kim M. Russell, 29th May 2018

Bleeding Heart Yard from Walter Thornbury’s Old and New London, 1873-8 – image found on Wikipedia

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Poetics: Street Names, also linked to Imaginary Garden with Real Toads Tuesday Platform

Our host this Tuesday is Sarah, who wants us to think about street names. She says that they’ve always interested her and she particularly likes those names that capture a fragment of local history that would otherwise be lost, and are often strange, quirky and inspirational. It’s these names that she wants us to use as inspiration for our poems.

Sarah has given us two lists of street names, some from her local towns and  some from London, and would like us to imagine what the street is like, who might live there and how the name came about. She asks us to be whimsical, dark, quirky, funny and mysterious!


40 thoughts on “In Bleeding Heart Yard…

    1. It brought Quilp to mind, the ‘little hunchy villain and a monster’ from The Old Curiosity Shop, especially when he kisses Little Nell. “Ah!” said the dwarf, smacking his lips, “what a nice kiss that was – just upon the rosy part.”


  1. Wow. I wonder if this street was in the part of Clerkenwell in the 1870’s, part of Dicken’s writing. You describe this very well. Oh the parts of London that used to be – Whitechapel, Bethnal Green…the sorrows those walls could tell about. A great use of rhymes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I see I wasn’t alone in thinking about Dickens when I read this. I’m also a fan of how you used alliteration and vivid words here. It rounded out the piece beautifully.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It really is, ha ha, (Mark or Walter). The rhyming stanza made it all stand out for me. I wrote a longer response, but i pushed the cookies thing when it popped up and it dumped it my comment. Arrgh, really loved the description of Old London

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Luckily, London isn’t as fog-bound as it was back then when people were killed by it. Up here in North Norfolk we get a lot of rolling sea fog and mist.


  3. This is not so whimsical as it is dark, but it surely does make one think. There are others still in such situations as you imagined on Bleeding Heart Yard. Bleeding Heart Yard is less than a half mile to the south of the Charles Dickens Museum at 48 Doughty St (London). All that is about four miles south of St. John’s Wood where the Beatles hung out and did their recording. Paul McCartney’s London house is also in St. John’s Wood, that is where we stayed with out daughter and family when we would stay London.
    Thank you, Kim, for writing of this. I may have been there but it wasn’t outstanding or I would have remembered.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Apparently there’s a popular restaurant in Bleeding Heart Yard but I’d not heard of it before. From what I remember, it’s tucked away. It’s said to be haunted and it does have a creepy feel to it – if you can find it!


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