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Wednesday, 27 February 2013

An Education in Silence

for Julie McClure

This morning, light spilled into the courtyard
like God had opened a window.
The light is quiet and can’t be herded
from dormitory beds to morning mass –
it shines where it wants,
blushing the stained glass windows,
washing the priest’s words.

My mother doesn’t write.
It’s been three years. My hands
crack from the heat of the sheets
as we feed them through the mangle.
The high windows admit one square
of light, on the word repent
and I am silent like the sunlight.

© Jessica Traynor

Stanhope St women to get assistance

Jessica Traynor is a Dublin poet. Her poems have appeared in Southword, the SHOp, the Moth and the Stinging Fly. She has won the Listowel Poetry Prize. Her blog is jessicatraynor.wordpress.com


  1. Jessica, heart breaking poem but beautifully told. The light is free, it really hits home the prison sentence of these women and her hands, cracking form the heat of sheets, the pain of life in those hands and the word repent, I am crying here. I wrote some haiku yesterday on the subject. Love and hugs to you and your mother. Maire x

    1. Thanks so much for that Maire, it's very difficult to try to capture the experience of the women who suffered so terribly in these places and you never want to be disrespectful in trying to recreate someone elses pain, but I do think it's important to try and make some testimony about what these people suffered.

  2. Jessica,

    Sad, but a brilliant write.


    1. Brilliant imagery and word choice and very respectful of their pain! I love this poem.