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Tuesday, 20 August 2013

A Savage Orthodoxy

Mercedes Sosa and Misa Criolla;

the wind outside frigid, blustery.

Pan-pipes bring the Andes into my

high-ceilinged bedroom.

The front door rattles.

Good Friday is roaming outside

my house.


Once, when young, the poultry farm shriekings

on Good Friday morning

were the howling ghosts rising up from their graves.


At my First Communion breakfast,

I vomited saveloy and raspberry fizz-

why wasn’t it the body and blood

of little Baby Jesus?

The hymn they sang made me sick inside,

it was  so beautiful,

and life so transitory,

the light on our mothers’ faces

supernatural- a chrism.

Though, now I understand,

it was ordinary motherlove,

not the Transubstantiation.


Misa Criolla fills me with the same fearful beauty-

reminds me of the six-inch spikes on the grille

that we saw my sister’s best friend behind

when she became a Carmelite.


Beauty and cruelty,

compassion and ugliness,

mixed together to create una mescla,

a misa criolla!

A savage orthodoxy.

Mercedes Sosa "Kyrie"

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