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53 WILLIAM STREET

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.

 

 

 

© Copyright David Selzer
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