A poem from strange fruits – At the Shrine of St Jude, Faversham

September 17th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

At the Shrine of St Jude, Faversham
A kneeling bar, cushioned,
before a metal grille that shields
a statue; tealight candles, ten pence
a prayer; a pinboard of photos

of those for whom supplications
are offered – the sick, the dying –
and yellowed newspaper cuttings
of missing persons;

rosaries in plastic pots
like pill jars topped with figures
of St Jude, the near-forgotten apostle,
the patron saint of hopeless cases;

a poster for the visit of the relics
of a saint – Teresa’s thigh and foot bones
in a jacaranda casket, cased in Perspex –
like Snow White’s coffin – capable of healing.

St Teresa is on sale in the foyer,
cloak and halo iridescent on a card,
holy medal pinned above her prayer:
grant me the simplicity of a child.

© Maria McCarthy, 2010

strange fruits – title poem

September 17th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Strange Fruits
Blackberries shrivel on Cellar Hill
though a few late blooms defy the new order:
bletted plums usurped by ripening pears.

A kestrel hovers over the orchard,
the gate staked by an estate agent’s board.
Cobnuts lie scattered like popcorn on the turning

to Lynsted Lane, by the houses that first broke
through the earth in the spring, now de-scaffolded,
exhaling steam through plastic heating vents.

And strange fruits hang in the hedgerow,
Stella cans, a Co-operative bakery wrapper
with orange sticker, reduced to 40p.

Maria McCarthy

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