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Poetry by Deirdre McGarry

Our streets are deserted, just full of sunshine and birdsong,

the noisy silence of our world without us.

We have hunkered down in our caves.

Pestilence and plague stalk the land.

In a supreme act of non-violence we have retreated quietly

and are doing nothing, cocooning at home.

There is no fighting except for the few in hospital

fighting for breath, fighting for life.

There is caring a plenty.

My own granddaughter, nursing in a Covid ward in a Leeds hospital

feels helpless, so stands and holds the hand of a frightened old man.

She feels his grasp holding onto her, his only human touch in days.

And I am proud she has broken rules,

and not moved on from machine readings,

has stopped to be human.

Because love is all we have left now in our armoury.

Arthur in Wexford in a simple linen robe

unbloodied, barefoot, dragging a heavy cross,

strides through our empty streets

untroubled by the sneers and snide remarks he usually endures

from busy good Friday shoppers.

This year he is alone. And his image brings me great joy

because he reminds me my Jesus is facing all the demons of hell

in our empty streets for me today .

He carries our cross – still.


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