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

September 17th, 2011 § 0 comments

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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

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