The Good Irish ShepherdsI worked in silence in the steam,
purifying surplices, God's own labour.
Pretty as a picture I was, dragged
from our front gate, ma and da
praying for my soul, urging penitence
because the priest had called me dirty.
Under a lash of leather, driven
to confession, soiled by the sperm
of Untermenschen wed to chastity,
I wept. Behind barbed wire and bars,
my baby torn from my bursting breasts,
I was beaten, shaved and shamed.
Outside, the boys were merrily bombing
the Black North's prods to freedom,
Americans were tracing Irish roots.
In the Belgian Congo the Army were killing blacks
fed through terror of the Sisters of Mercy;
while in the Magdalene archipelago
we wept for years that were lost to us,
and wished that there were even more
we did not understand.