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Valerie Kirk

Disraeli Street


Ben Disraeli never knew
he named the street I lived in,
before the Empire struck out.


Draughty villas faced the front,
mismatched teeth with green between;
red roofs, green roofs; no one had
thought yet of blue – why would they?


Trees truncated, hedges honed –
flora had obligations,
gardens had civic duties.
Trees were permitted to grow
as long as they stayed modest;
grass was shaved each fine weekend.


Children had sensible names
(mine was really pushing it);
all weaned off to school at five
whether they wanted or not.
Disraeli Street ran straight there –
no diversions, no wagging;
it was its own reminder
that a detour meant Trouble.


Mothers wore undergarments
that kept their soft bits armoured
Fathers wore bicycle clips
(the cars were for Sunday drives).
It might have been fun to see
Dad making the tea while Mum
sat by the fire just waiting.




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