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Children playing in Southam Street, London.    

1956
Ten seconds ago

 

Ten seconds ago this street was their

familiar desert.  Then, suddenly, there

were three objects to stare at.

 

The bubble car might have fallen

from space.  The kids gather round

its frog’s face, its fighter pilot’s cockpit

like fish nosing a new wreck.

 

The boy on the trade bike is as familiar

as the car is strange.  Only when he slows

to a stop do they notice him, unwilling to

bike past the strange machine.

 

But the women at their front doors look

not at the miracle of the car from the moon

but at something stranger still — a man

with a camera at the end of their street!

 

Only the child in the foreground stares at him,

holds a toy to his eye, photographs him back.

 

 

© Stephen Devereux

Picture 10011540, photograph by Roger Mayne, 1956

 

 

Stephen Devereux writes poetry, plays, essays and short stories. He has had his work published in many magazines, journals and websites in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Australia and USA. He has won or been shortlisted in many competitions. He was born in rural Suffolk and worked on farms and in factories until going to UEA as a mature student. Since then he has taught in schools, colleges and universities in the North West. He lives in Liverpool.