Mysterious fevers in Malvern,
fever in Worcester, burning them up.
The brave, sombre child,
does not understand why mama went away.
She comes home frail, damaged, loving,
yet unspeakably sad.
Mama has lost his brother.
The one who would have been his friend.
His best friend. His closest friend.
The boy who would look out for him. Be there for him. Always.
Mama’s loss and tears are stifled.
She is told ‘get a grip’ and ‘move on,’ as if to forget
The tiny child – innocent -
a babe, never in arms.
No grieving for lost babies then,
they shuffled them away
and burned them in kilns.
No one would miss them.
This mother suffers a lifetime of loss.
Who considers how siblings feel?
The learning is painful.
Today such babes are mourned,
Time moves on
and we talk of tragedies.
Not so back then.
Now we think of the sibling,
ignored… back then.
Polly Robinson © 2014