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May 11, 2011 ·  By Shay Cullen


By: Fr. Shay Cullen

Hovel on the hill.

The mud packed floor,
the hovel on the hill.
Walls of cardboard
sheltered the still life form.
A Little child in a paper dress
and cotton wool stopping up the nose
as if to halt the sobbing,
stem the flow of pain
that traced it’s path with tears
on a mother’s cheek
glinting wet in the flickering light,
of a candle low burnt and feeble
gutted like the life so wasted
by the hunger and the pain.

Waiting with the patience of the dead
in a plywood box of scraps
and straightened rusty nails-
the best the neighbours had
so accustomed to the dying and the
scattering of the grain.

What was I to do
but bless this little corpse,
toss a single token
and give it due respect
to take away the stigma of the poor,
these the wretched of the earth
the abandoned and the broken?

Could a blessing banish
the hurt and how they see themselves
or cry out for them
to ease their anguish and their loss

or bring a sharp a rebuke
from God above to our churchly heads
for allowing our forgetfulness
in the meaning of the cross?

No embalming just decomposing
the neighbours stay away
the collection jar is empty
as the mother’s vacant stare.
Here is nothing but poverty profound
here is everything for us to learn
if we want to look around.

Shay Cullen


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