Saturday, 16 March 2013


Abrakedabra !
and a plume
of white smoke,
Habemus Papam.
We have a Pope!

Through crimson
curtains he emerges.
Cassock and cape
like fresh snow.

The conclave
gushes behind.
All blood red
and sanguine.
They are umbilical

Connecting me to my grandmother –
who polished her front step
with a tin of Cardinal Red
reciting her forty-day-prayer,
in rhythm with the bristles of her brush -
her incantation
a crucifix of indentation -
up and down,
side to side,
going nowhere.
The end result gleamed but was slippery
like dripping.

Do you know the pope
wears red shoes ?
I do – for the blood of the martyrs
or maybe as a mark
of the elite.
Do you know he wears
a fisherman’s ring?
I do – for St. Peter who cast
his net into the sea,
or maybe to dress his hand
with gold and diamonds.
Do you know he gives out a Plenary
Indulgence on special occasions?
I do.

And then to my surprise the pope raised his hand
And drew the world to his palm
And I remained there.

Clodagh Beresford Dunne lives in Waterford. She writes poetry, plays and short fiction. She is the recipient of a number of awards and her poems have appeared in The Stinging Fly, The Moth and Southword - she is presently compiling her first collection of poetry.