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But it was the shadowed street-side she chose

While Victor Gold the bookies basked

In conquered sunlight, and though

Dairy Road Licensed Grocer gloried and cast

Fascinating shadows she chose

The side dark in the shade of tenements;

That corner where Universal Stores’ (closed

For modernisation), blank hoarding blocked

Her view as if that process were illegal;

She chose to photograph her baby here,

The corner with the pillar box.

In his buggy, which she swung to her face.

She took four steps back, but

The baby in his buggy rolled toward the kerb.

She crossed the ground in no time.

It was fearful as Niagara,

She ran to put the brake on, and returned

to lift the camera, a cheap one.

The tenements of Caledonian Place neither

Watched nor looked away; they are friendly buildings.

The traffic ground, the buildings shook, the baby breathed

And maybe gurgled at his mother as she

Smiled to make him smile in his picture;

Which she took on the kerb in the shadowed corner,

Beside the post-box, under tenements, before the

Bin bags hot in the sun that shone

On them, on dogs, on people on the other side

The other side of the street to that she’d chosen,

If she’d chosen or thought it possible to choose.

Child with Pillar Box and Bin Bags

Kathleen Jamie

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