Our DNA is filled with wondrous
commonplaces, luminous platitudes:
refugees from pogroms in the Ukraine,
refugees from the Famine in Connaught.
This was the house my mother’s family moved to
from 7 Moses Street, off Sefton Park Road,
Liverpool, three years before she was born;
Ma, Da, her two small sisters, her two teenage
step brothers; a rented end of terrace –
with gas, running water, outside privy –
in a cobbled cul-de-sac, where bread
still warm was delivered in the Co-op’s
horse drawn van, and milk in a pony and trap
from a farm only half a mile away
(long gone now to semi-detached estates);
five years before Da was wounded at Mons,
and the lead gun carriage horse he rode was killed;
seven before the boys were gassed at Ypres
waiting at dawn to ‘go over the top’.
I have lived most of my longish life five minutes
from where my mother was born. Accidental
journeys – personal, ancestral – brought me here
to these streets, where no bombs have been dropped,
no invaders have marched, no citizens shot.