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Poetry Pleases: The Delph

Enid Turner was sorting through some old snapshots when she found a photograph, taken outside the home of her grandparents, of a teenage girl on a motorbike, which resulted in a flood of memories. The girl was called Ida. Enid named her beloved celluloid doll after her. She still has the doll.

This poem is a backward glance to the time and place where the photograph was taken.

Just in the dip of the ground the old house stood,
My first remembered home, The Delph.
Perhaps once it rested in a hollow in a wood
Bounded by streams, hymned by choirs of birds.

I never knew it then. It changed through passing years,
The small house with steep wooden stair,
And at the top two bedrooms, close-cuddled by the roof
Offered flock beds and simple comfort.

The room below, where we sold milk at the door,
Flagged floor, rag rugs and rocking chair.
Family life together, grandparents and my mother
And me, pale stick-insect child.

The hunched terraced houses with squinting windows
Slowly crushed the little house
And shattered even the memory of a long-lost quiet
From open doors in the raucous street.

The school yard behind, the coal yard at the side,
No bird song, no rippling stream,
But the little house a haven in a frightening world.
Stick insects hide from predators.


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