Kneeling Spinsters

Every Christmas Eve

We drive to the Catholic Church

And we light a candle for your dead sister,

Whose hair was the colour of the straw

Of the nativity,

Whose soul was as bright as the neon lights

That reflect in the cold puddles

Along the wet high street.

And none of us believe,

And none of us pray to their God,

We are aliens

We are intruders here

But we are welcomed nonetheless,

Welcomed in silence by the kneeling spinsters

Who tug at dowdy sheets of linen,

Who set out candles on the wooden altar,

Who have enough belief for us all

Thank the Lord for the kneeling spinsters.

Death at Christmas

She fell face forward

Onto the wet pavement

And she was dead.

And her face was blue

When they rolled her over

As blue as the ocean in winter,

And her daughter screamed

Howled into the glittering street

Full of hopeful shoppers

All of them deaf to her moans,

All of them shrouded in wool

And Christmas fear.

And her aged face was dented

By the grey slab

And there was nothing to be done

And there was nothing to be said