for Tim & Helena Jones
A visit to Liverpool after 46 years
completes our university education.
Across the road from stop and bus
that brought us daily in, from hall to lectures,
we find The Sheltering Home for Destitute Children.
Back then, it gathered in the homeless and abandoned –
when cities rode, elaborate with grace, discarded poverty.
Charity swept streets of strays – scrubbed,
schooled and gave them faith for service.
Transported them to Halifax and Nova Scotia.
Job done and sweeter than the workhouse bench!
Concerned with student life, we never noticed.
A generation fed on free degrees and opportunity,
we had the future in our grasp. So much for eye-opening
experience expanding sensibility. We knew the words,
but only Dickens’ comic genius consumed us,
masked by fog upon the river. Older and almost
within reach of wisdom, we grasp it now.
New owners have repurposed the building, for new
journeys. Gold paint shines in the letters
we never saw. Our turn for Canada at last.