We were number 23, and there were fifty-four.
After number 32 they were new and small.
We had mint, apple trees and hens,
they had little flower-beds and maples.
Everyone knew everyone.
We played in the street,
wheeled prams, threw balls.
Auntie - off shopping, wore hat and gloves,
wicker basket gracing arm.
She would stop at number 17,
deliver home-made lemon curd,
commiserate with problems. Then,
chatting to number 9, regale in sympathy
the troubles plaguing number 17.
Soon everyone would know.
When someone died we stood silent
in the house, in the street.
Blinds were drawn, street-play curtailed.
The Cortege, slow, deliberate, held our respect
passing our houses slowly.
That was then.
Now number 23 houses no hens,
no apple trees, no mint. It has
much concrete, trendy chairs,
tubs and arches - climber covered.
Cars fill the street. No children
playing ball, grouping, giggling.
No prams paraded by elder sisters.
Who now lives in number 17?
Number 9 is now two separate flats.
Beyond number 32 the concrete abounds.
After school there is no street-play.
Computers beckon, and solitary players
gaze enchanted at the lives of others
while their own passes them by.
I’m glad I was born ‘then’,
and played in the street,
and took eggs to neighbours.
Poems should rhyme and have rhythm.
This one reads as prose,
but where is the lilt of life today
down that street? No-body knows.
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