Apr/May 2009 Poetry

Two Poems

by Kathleen Kenny

Fast Food

Each Friday two of us walk
from Brockley Rise to Honor Oak
take the train to London Bridge
to buy fresh fish from Billingsgate
to feed the sisters.

Away from the confines
of the convent my black-toed boots
shine with relief, dance my feet
like feathers until we leave,
heaving back the fruits of the sea.

Sauntering through the trays of fish
my heart sings to a Latin beat,
my taste develops a passion
in later life for sole, and plaice,
and an attachment to Civvy Street.


IRA Dreams in the Sacred Heart

Every day at six I make
my way to sing in chapel,
though mostly we serve
under rule of silence,
thirty-six women living in peace.

Sister Eugene is a chatterbox
always in hot water
for disobeying the short hours
of recreation
when we are allowed to speak;

the rest of the time
restricted to whispers,
and only on matters of work,
meals are taken silently
listening to the Lord's Word.

At nine we retire to our cells
where no utterance is dared,
heaven help the sleep-talkers
Mother Superior
will have your head.

Sister Eugene dreads the dark:
those visits from her parents
murdered in their beds,
all that they might say to her,
and what she might impart.


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