Making history from a disturbed past!
I recently read the book ‘My Name is Bridget’ by Anna Corrigan and Alison O’Reilly. It ripped my heart out and threw it back. All my schooling and part of my upbringing was Catholic. The catholic faith came from the Irish side of my family. From the Irish blood that flows in my veins, I have a love for Ireland. Culture, history, literature. I have read many books on Irish history. The memoir I have written titled ‘Forbidden Love’ about my Irish grandmother falling in love with my grandfather against the back drop of Ireland’s war for independence. Is no longer a memoir but a novel and will be published this year 2021. While writing this novel I had to do research into Irish history and my own Irish family and from this I learnt many things. Ireland was traumatised from the famine, later failed uprisings, then 1916 and ‘Ireland War for independence’ The Catholic church dominated Irish life. Manipulated an already traumatised nation with shame and guilt. Some of these women were raped. No man was questioned or arrested. Only women and children were badly abused and imprisoned and some were damaged for the rest of their lives. They were the vulnerable in Irish society back then! After thought, Eamon de Valera was born what was deemed back then when no father was around, a bastard. Why did he not step in when he was in power. I think this horrid very disturbed man, should be held responsible as much as the Catholic church. The poem I wrote titled ‘Golden Ring’ came from anger, ‘Feathered Wings’ came from softness of my heart, I wrote the 2 poems in one hour.
(In memory of Tuam mother’s like Bridget)
Outside the home of judgment
belly swollen, legs heavy
abandoned by all.
The loss pain and shame,
fornicated outside the golden ring.
A rape, a married man, or an hour of passion.
You, who wear the ring of gold married to Christ
so that gives you the right.
To call me a whore and my child a sin
because of no golden ring.
Shamed to silence I can never tell,
guilt is stuck in my throat,
memories rise and I swallow the hard truth,
that remains stuck beneath my broken heart.
Brainwashed by the cloth and the habit
to leave what was mine behind,
Yet, they will always be with me
underneath a blanket of guilt and shame.
A warning to you, who wore the golden ring married to Christ.
The future WILL find the cess pits and other humanitarian crimes.
(In memory of the children and babies)
Lay broken in a home with no care
the only warmth you feel are the sunrays on your skin,
the silence and no children’s laughter is deafening.
Lack of empathy no compassion is shown
cold comfort is dished out by the bucket load.
Lullaby to lay you down on feathered wings,
softly, gently send you to sleep.
To another time and place
a future where your pain will be released,
into the arms of the truth sayers in words and songs.
Never to be forgotten and your 796 names
will live on.
By Julie Pritchard, 4th June 2020