born X mas day
Yer 1885
in the same burer Waping

pa a way
Ma not
being by Trade merchent Sea man
in forn parts:
all so a precher
on Land

i sow him Latter

4 of 9
not all Livig

a hard Thing Ma sad:
mirs Pale a mid Wife
in the back room bed rom
Nor wod she got Thurgh
when a ANGEL apperd over the JESUS pichire

which i got after
it Savd my Life.


so i name Gabriel
which you did not no why shod you
onlie its Secd
Alfred Gabriel Joseph Stoker
Like that.

some recked she was Ling
but she was not
the ANGEL was Trew.

He had a Gold face she sad:
and his Winges Gold flammy
and his ramond of Gold stufes

and in his hand he bare a BIBLE of Gold paper
and his Vois was as the Claper of Thunder over hede
with Gold Litnigg to.

pa rejoyd when he come
and spid the mars Like Candles smut
on the bed room Cornes

Than Ma had Gerge Edie Peg so on
but no ANGEL.


Edie was kind
Gerge fot
Peg the devel Mishif
Hennr did:

when 2 i nerle did
i dont remberer

when the Docter come for Hene Harry
Peg stol the Doters hat
but she was Cott:

he being Old whit berd Like the Old King
smild angerlie
give me

Ma sad ile Tan you my girl
pa a way
and she wolop Pege after

Than pa come in he sade wer is harry
and Ma cride
he past over

and pa Lift his Ey on to HEVEN
its a Merce


all so 2 older:

Ma sad you woned
for the ANGEL blesing
she rade the BIBLE Storres in bed

Adam Eve Nore
Mose in the baskip
Joseph my name
the buring firy firnes
and the ritig on the Wall
Like at the fish Mogres winnod.

so i ha a game
in Mas cubed

i was Norrer
in the Smells
and the flod out
and i wot to Lagh all Trebling
but i did not

Than Ma buss in and Shew me.


pas a venters at Sea as folos
he got in a Tempes at the Cape of Hop
a gret Wale bang his bote at Green Land
and a man eten
pa fell to
Save by a rope
at the noth Pole he saw the Ora Bols sky Liths
at Mala he Lay in fever 9 days
and Leches on his hed
in Arab the King gave a cammel Ey to swolaw

and other:

his presens we a big Mask of the Affic devel
Toy animels of Eximo
and a prete Tin box of Egit for Ma


when 7
pa dishage Sack
by the Capten of the Vanese
his Ship at Dar solom
fiting a niger Lasker boy
did not belve in GOD.

so pa call him a wikt Hethen
wher the niger Took a Long nife
and Cut him at the Sholder
with a Skar to see
6 ins glose rinkle
Like a skin of a Lip

and the Capt sade
no coveting on my Ship
when he give pa is papers at the dock

and pa sad Ye:
its a Sine


2 Yers preching
waking the Land
Streets rodes
at fares Maket days
in the pub to

i went

at Epsom darbie race
pa Holed my Hand
for the Gipes
with a Thin dog
the Spake a forn Langige

on a bus Top
Told the pasegers Stand
prase the LORD
but the wod not:
Hop it sun shine

No more

i need a new pensel
difrit culer


the river Stech of fith
a man fell in pisend
you her the Ships woo in the fog Monings
the say a Gost of Billie Okins
Lost at Sea

pa prech the Sea men and perrosterturts
when a Spanneck chap rob him for his money

which he do not have
by Gun wof
and cut him with a bottle

Ma mend it.

and Ade gone to Dulge for a Twene
i was Oldis:
Than Gerge Ede Pegge and babe Wilf

and mister Cobit a Loger of the rodes
he had a Tato on his arm
a Mer made
it Swim with a Twick.


no Scool to bisie
Lern to read and rite the BIBLE
and drow
all so sing himms
in a good Vois with pa:

Old Cobbit do the Swize box butins
Swoll black wave Like a Sea
Edis wisel pip
in the parler

Throgh a Nith of dowt and Sorew
a frend in JESUS
so on

and pa sade on to us
Ye i have a Sine
to covert Scock Land
and the boy Alf to come to
for his ANGEL bidith

and Ma weep

To morow.


Scock Land

it raned

i dont rember

pa preching on a hill
with a gift of Tonges
a namile cup for monie

the Throw a cabige


the house

fers the paler with the moggne Chairs
moslie Shut
ixep Sun day vosens:
you Smell the Old brikes Thur the florry paper

done 3 steps
to the kichin
black rage
Tin pots on hooks
the table rub with viniker

prive at Side:

up Stares
2 beds in frowt

Mas rom pas
a big Cream Yewrer on a Thing
Like a goos


the crikie part you Stan wigling
wer the flor bodes Loos

Cobert in Loft


so Gerge do my nose fitnig
Like you see

all mose Swock flat
jeles of the ANGEL
wich it Yews to be Strait
Like that:

but i drone a pichire of the same ANGEL
on a box
not Gold blake
blak Wings black Skie:
wher Gerge rune at
with a devel in his Ey
and hid hit

blod gug evire were

Took to Mas bed
the wormis place
ider done hill
Slep Ther:


i drow the Stores not now to Old
Danile and the King
the pote him in a Lions den gar gar
but the Liked his ear
Jone swolod by a Wale
to do as Told
Jebels the wikid Queen
on a Towr
the thor her done
you get a wosie feel in the bodie
Like on a Swing
and Laseres of the ded
all so Tom Tips boy Sailer
run to Sea
whir the pirets Cote him in a baril
but he wole not Show the Tregers no not he
but Thats difret.


That it yews to be
the got it all rong

being a Old ugel gisser with a chines perano
wich you Tern a hand
it jigle a Song

it was not a munnkie
it was a blow parot


Alf me and Groge in own bed
Edie Pege other
Wilf in box
2 dreams.

firs i saw the devel SATAN
him Self:
with a Spike face
Alf he sade
i Try
onlie a Small pip of er

to week

it hapend a gane

Thes pesil is no good


its all rite
pece full
ixep the Tee vie

100 Yers

the done no


wher Edie Tech to fly
its esie
Like Thes
She holed my hand and junt:

at Old Sters
so we go crox the river
Like a ANGEL
no flaping

its a mirigle
ha ha:
but the men in the botes
Tell to get done

the Try to Stop us
by a foot
with a Long Stike and a hook
Like at the haber dagers you no

Edie smiles
its nice
Sun day close
hand worm:


Than on day pa sad Ye:
i had a Sine
to go on to the Land of Mogro
and prech the pepil Ther
That did evel in the Sith of the LORD
Alf to come to my son
for the hims

but Ma wep saing no
he is but 9
and Little
so pa go on his owen

That we do not see a gen:
onie in a dream some Time
woking for the Land of Moggro
crox the wold
up to Lund Waping
owr Street
at the frot door
up Stares
in the bed room
at the bed

a hoy Alf.


moslie for got
to tired
its the pils

Onel some Ties memres
Like you get a wift gravie
for the kichins
in the Monig
10 a clock
it fanick ater.


its winter
Jake frost

Snow dirtie
and the river dirtie chugs of ice
ikles on the rops dirte to
and Ma get a coff
Like a kie in a door woned open:

a Lady mises Bussen ded
Stut to a door Step
and the Skin her face tore of
when the Lift her

Cobet gone
the peles feck him

Ma Took the Swize box to a man of Wite Chaple
10 bob
its a fare price:
and we woke to a fortine Teller
That no the Tea Lees in a yelow cup

i see a Long jirne
a serprise


so Ma did
flow to HEVAN
being a Long jirnie
wich the forten Teller Told

a blaket on
and her Hair Lose untidie
Like a BIBLE pirson
and her face Cold.


i got the pichire


the Took us a way
wher i been sence:
in the ofinick firs
Than other

Edie Peg mary
Gerge run to wore
kill by a bom
and Wilf a cabin stewer
on the begum Queen

Send a Letter.

JESUS in dror:
i never see the ANGEL
onlie i no its Trow gospil
which it means i wone die
Like a sun clowid over all glomy
its in the Sky.

Send Letters To:

The Editor
London Review of Books,
28 Little Russell Street
London, WC1A 2HN

Please include name, address, and a telephone number.

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences