Friday, September 19, 2008

Sister Karmelita Borg.

Sister Karmelita Borg sits in a Church.
She says nothing. I sit beside her,
equally silent.

She fingers her rosary beads,
in a rigid pinched gesture.
Her contemplation
far removed from the world,
mourning the merciless voice of God.

Like the memory of infinite childhoods
righteously scraped and deplored
against a religious sentence
quickly hushed into silence.

But all I hear is the faint echo
of her sharp whispers moving off
the vast cathedral walls.
A cathedral so indebted it can ill afford
the concrete imitatio of Christ.


Jim Murdoch said...

Since the name was so unusual I looked up Karmelita Borg and found her to be the Mother General in charge of a home for destitute children in Ghajnsielem, Gozo in which some of the sisters had been accused of physical and psychological abuse of their charges.

It is the poem's weakness, that additional information is needed to appreciate it; this is assuming I have the right woman.

The last stanza interests me:

So indebted it [the cathedral] can ill afford
the concrete imitatio of Christ.

I assume by this you're talking about the shame the Church feels for what has been perpetrated by its members.

If this is what the poem is about I find it a bit weak. I don't think you need to be graphic about it but some more powerful imagery could help this for me.

McGuire said...

I did seek out Sister Karmelita Borg. To be honest, I was more interested in the 'vow of silence' aspect. Perhaps I should make some allusion or link toward the claim of abuse that she is presumed to have committed.

It does read rather sparse and precise, like Charles Simic perhaps, only not as well thought out.

Work to be done.

McGuire said...

I'm still not sure about the third stanza. Some of the lines are rather dry and uninspired but I think I'm on the right lines. I just need to find the right words to replace: 'scraped and deplored.'

Work to be done.

Dave King said...

It didn't strike me as not well thought out when I read it. Indeed, I was greatly impressed by this poem. I think it a little gem