Saint Joseph’s :: Album :: Poetry

Looking down over Belfast, across the river towards distant hills.

The Talisman

When days were darkest, folk took refuge
In quaint old shops that offered comforting
Old-fashioned faith in manageable chunks.
Prayers for pockets, secret saviours
Especially one - to Joseph, patron
Of happy deaths, if such things be
(He died in the arms of Christ, they say.)
And soon we all possessed the same
A talisman to drive death out.
We chanted faithfully, day on day
In school assembly, church and home
While still devouring every word
Of doom-laden missive in daily news.
How many names we recognised
And thanked God they were not our own!
How many Josephs died again
While saviours cradled their shattered limbs
Shielding their eyes from the terrible truth
Preserving their image of being whole?
We wept to see our brothers’ pain
And wept for our own despicable flaw
Forgot so soon, and prayed again
Thy will be done. Let it not be me!

Eleanor Dent

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