Sunday Poetry by Jenean Gilstrap: godly voices of galway

Sunday Poetry by Jenean Gilstrap: godly voices of galway
Jenean C Gilstrap
Galway Harbour 2007. Source: wikipedia. Author: Sulmac

Galway Harbour 2007. Source: wikipedia. Author: Sulmac

This past week there has been revelation after revelation in the media of the horrific finding of a mass grave of children at the Irish Catholic home for unwed mothers run by the Sisters of Bon Secours [in French, “safe harbors”] in Tuam, County Galway, Ireland.   The use of the word “grave” here is a misnomer, as the skeletal remains of nearly 800 children were discovered in the spetic system of the institution.  This poem is my personal response to that discovery.


godly voices of galway




over the

pool of death

disguised as

the waters of life

down the dark tunnel

that was the cord

that had to be severed

to keep out the light

cast upon the sin

of the sisters

in black and white

and of the holy fathers

who hid their games of the night

all damning the innocents

to their biblical blight

in the name of

the holy mother full of grace




in the

house of god

that was the home

that was

in fact

the house of horrors

disguised as

the angels of mercy

to mothers unwed

givers of life

sheltered by the

takers of life

who slept with evil

in the bed of damnation

in the name of

the father the son the holy ghost




over the good babies

that were

unblemished unsoiled

with the stigmata

of the cross uncrossed

between the legs

of young love

deserted by

sperm daddies

that were not fathers

and familial ties

that did not bind

in the name of

holy mary mother of god




for the bad babies

that were

crosses to bear

thorns in their crowns

if their lives they spared

babies branded

by their birth

fruits of their

mothers’ womb

tainted by the

turmoil of their


innocence lost

in the sin of love

that went too fast

that could not last

in the name of

holy mary mother of jesus





that other baby

a good baby

born to a virgin mother

who sought shelter

for her birth

seeking finding


in the bleak night

just as the mothers

of these babies

had sought

but did not find


from their plight

in the house

that was not a home

in the name of

the father the son the holy ghost





their own good

for the good of galway

callous hearts clutching

rosary beads

counting one

two three

how many

will there be

four five six

are there more

waiting at the door

seven eight

it’s now too late

for eight

eight hundred

eight hundred

little souls

at the gate

in the name of

their precious





no more

no more

in the name of

all things



View Comments (5)
  • must tell you how much i appreciate all the hard work over here – the new look and format are just great! and as always, all my gratitude and many thanks for this great forum in which to express my words. thank you martin cid and isabel del rio!

    • martincid

      Our pleasure; jenean. Sorry if I haven’t written you before but I’m working on something. Great poem as always. Greetings!

  • martincid

    And if you haven’t read her before, dear readers, here it is Jenean Gilstrap section. A fantastic collection of poems for everyone!

Jenean C Gilstrap

Since childhood, Ms. Gilstrap has had a love of words-of writing and other arts. An individualist, she chooses not to follow any pre-conceived pattern for the outlay of these words – rather, she allows them the freedom to forge their own path as they make their way from her heart to pen to paper. Her art work involves both photography and mixed media on large canvasses. She is a weekly featured poet in Yareah Magazine where her works have appeared for more than a year. Her piece The Granite God was the winning poem in Painted Bride Quarterly Sidebar #12 [2012]. Her work has been featured in performance poetry theatrical productions in Louisiana and her short story, Retribution, published in the Helicon Literary Magazine there. She and her gypsywomanworld blog are included as character/story elements in Ghost Key, the fictional work of award-winning author Trish MacGregor. Her first volume of poetry [2013], words unspoken, is available in both paperback and on kindle at amazon. She currently divides her time between her home in Louisiana and the east coast as she completes her second volume of poetry to be published in 2013.

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