I saw Christ nailed to a tree
In an East London churchyard
Weather-beaten from looking,
While the adjacent graveyard
Played host to a thousand
Sloping stone soldiers.
There, daffodils bunched together
And it made me wonder
Why the graveyard should display
Such a profusion of yellow
When the churchyard itself
Was barren of colour
EXTRACT FROM MY BOOK ‘THE SHINY RED HONDA’:
Religion was taken seriously in those days. Every season brought is own festivities and duties. March, for example, usually signified the beginning of Lent and weeks of fasting and devotion. Each of us owned our own prayer books and rosary beads, mother’s missal was stuffed to bursting with relics and Holy pictures. Blessed Martin himself had never been kissed as many times as had that faded picture of him she carried around with her. She had great faith in his powers as a healer. Whenever one of us was sick she kissed his picture and placed it on the afflicted part of our body. Holy water, Lourdes water, water from the healing well in Mothel lurked in every corner of the house and was dished out like tonic. As soon as sickness appeared she reached for one of her bottles and administered three sips to us. Never mind that it tasted like bog water, it still had to be swallowed.
The coming of Lent heralded a change of attitude in the lives of almost everyone in the community. From the priests whose sermons became more vociferous to the women who beat a path to the altar daily now, their eyes downcast, their heads shrouded in black veils. Continue reading