The Willow Child
Stick-thin, blond-haired the freckled waif
Dusty, wasteland grey, soot baked streets,
Terracotta walls: rusty metal bars held us together.
Every breath a struggle for urban life.
Crippled the frail form, clothes and skin
Gripped gaunt his frame, lips stained blue
Life dished out in compartments:
Inhale this, swallow these.
Pills’ magic medicine kept life contained.
A half-corpse child played in sheltered doorway.
Street people pitied the child brought
Conkers, bottles of barley water.
Spent days in hospital, attendance
Freedom in Woodvale Park whilst
Siblings captured grasshoppers.
Sat on the swings, one sock pulled up.