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A little boy being put to bed with the help of staff at the Strawberry Fields orphanage in Liverpool.  

circa 1950
Strawberry Fields Children’s Home, 1950

 

Three orbs aglow with light and warmth –

the light-bulb, the saintly nurse, the beaming

boy line up for the camera. She stoops,

pretends to be tucking him in.

 

Around them the darkness pauses whilst

the camera’s packed away, the nurse straightens,

heads for the door, puts out the light.

 

And only then will the boy scream quietly

in the motherless dark. We hear nothing,

see nothing. Another boy will arrive at dawn,

left on the step by a boozy dad.

 

Lennon’s secret heaven bloomed too late.

They are all dead now. The iron red gates

submit to the chalk signatures of the gangs

of fans who get off buses, out of taxis

where there is nothing left to see.

 

A bride comes to pose by the gatepost in her

gown for her groom’s lens. Does he glimpse the faint

round blobs of faces watching through the bars?

 

 

© Stephen Devereux

Picture 10007440, photograph by Maurice Ambler, circa 1950

 

 

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.