The Shame of Ireland
I returned at last, not understanding why,to the place of hard dayslost, altered, angry,splintered times.Memories frozen.This was never homeor a harbour shiningthrough the mist.Now I take comfort inthe twilight of shadows.
I went back to one of the Institutions I was in - St. Patrick's in Kilkenny - maybe out of curiosity in 1994. I hadn't been near the place since 1962 and on this return I became quite angry. Child care isn't rocket science when all is said and done and the nuns could and should have been humane. I remembered the childblains, the boils on the back of the neck, ringworm, scabies, runny noses, the hunger and the food meant to sustain us. And from this Institutions I was sent to an even worse one.
I was taken from a home with a feckless father and a mother who had skipped it to England. Plenty of relatives were willing and well able to take us in but the authorities thought it fit to take the three of us - ages, 3, 5, and 6 - and consign us to those places in order to force our mother to return home.
Andrew, i would imagine what you have said here would ring bells for other people who can relate! Sometimes backwards is forwards, another prospective! Your poem expresses that!
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