Saturday Poem

Those are not saints in the political undergrowth
those are badgers who think they're saints
—Artis Merril

Worst Nightmare

There were days when you’d shove
your hand into a cupboard in search of a cabbage
and come upon the head of Alfredo Garcia

others when you’d thread a needle
and imagine you were darning a hole
out of which the evil of the world could escape

and times when you’d press a knob on the oven
and conjure the six million
naked, shorn in the shower.

But at night the curtains drawn,
the door locked and bolted
you felt safe, yourself and your care.

No matter how many horror stories
you sidled into your mind
you never imagined this nightmare –

you lived in a democracy, yourself
and your care, under an elected government,
who cherished each citizen

far from the laboratories of jackbooted men.

by Celia de Freine
from Fiacha Fola
publisher: Cló Iar-Chonnachta, 2005
translation: Celia de Freine