Stephen Holding A White Rose

Stephen Holding A White Rose

My Father never spoke of Stephen
other than to say that I had an older brother
who died when he was just a few days old.

My Mother once told me that my Father
never spoke about Stephen because he saw him
after he had died, with his tiny hands folded,
holding a white rose.

A short time after my Mother died,
I had to search her personal papers,
which I knew she kept in the old blue oval bag.

Amongst the few cherished photographs
of dead relatives and certificates of Births, Marriages and Deaths
was a birth announcement placed in the local newspaper:

"To Kathleen and Ray, the precious gift of a son, Stephen."
In the same small envelope, with the COOP number 56758
forever burned in my memory,
"Received: 1 pound,7 shillings and 6 pence Re: baby Stephen dead."

Moved to tears, I resolved that Stephen's story
should be told at my Mother's funeral,
fifty seven years after his birth and death.
My brother Stephen is not forgotten.

by Martin Ward

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