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Friday, 8 June 2018

For Sale

Between the lost and found a
mislaid marcasite earring. Reward.

Suitcase with child’s clothing,
lost in Dublin or on the 2:30 train
to Cork. Reward.

Lost brooch. Sentimental value. Reward.
Strayed Irish terrier. Reward.

Blackberries wanted.
Top prices paid.
5/- to pickers or 5/6 to sellers.
We collect or pay carriage
for unblemished fruit.

Between the Lost and Found.

Who will adopt a beautiful
six weeks old boy of very
good parentage?

Will Catholic mother adopt Therese,
an attractive little girl, aged three,
curly hair, healthy? Full surrender.

Healthy boy, fair,
very intelligent with happy
disposition for adoption. Priest’s
references essential. Full surrender

The column inches glare.
Black bold type to lure
discerning eyes.
Babies to snatch.
Empty arms to fill.
Bulging pockets to siphon.
Profits to be made.
A donation to the Parish Priest,
or one to the nuns.

They called the Ma’s
Chopped their hair,
changed their names, their
Nightime lock ups.
Beatings kept them in line,
Emotions smacked out.
Anything to make
those Magdalene women

And the men?
The men who spread the seeds?
Unblemished stock.

© Mari Maxwell

Tusla knew of illegal adoptions in 2016

Mari Maxwell received The Story House Ireland's inaugural residency and participated in the Irish Writers Centre's XBorders program in 2017. She Tweets @MariMaxwell17 and blogs at https://lineatatime.wordpress.com


  1. Poignant & brilliant write, Mari. Brava you!

  2. Powerful images, children as commodities, disposed of so easily. And the different treatment of the mothers , the poor Magdalen girls, as opposed to the fathers, with that great image, "unblemished stock". Beautifully balanced poem with the heartless history and bankrupt values of that time and place at its core. Brilliant work.

  3. Mari. Strong brilliant poem. No shying away from the truth, love that. The last line says it all.

  4. Richrd Devereux8 June 2018 at 20:04

    Fine Poem

  5. Thank you so very much readers!!