Never forgetting the Tuam babies


Never forgetting the @tuambabies
[Written in reaction to the 2014 candlelight vigil held in Galway’s Eyre Square which also coincided with a Justice for the Tuam Babies march on the Dáil. A test excavation at the former mother and baby home in Tuam is being held today]

Tuam Elegy

Between the saplings’ peeling bark,
black iron rails impale the playground –
an easel for the unnamed dead.
The unmentionables.
The unblessed.
Septic pit burials.

Numbers 1 to 796.

White paper garland, spinning and
Paper babbies ring ‘round the iron bars
Hand-in-hand they encircle.
Ring-a-rosy beneath the posies
Wave and flutter
Stick dolls
Cherub babes
Whispered rustles on a summer evening breeze
Skeletal now.
Skeletal then.

Paper pulp on a black iron fence
They shake and shimmy
Holding tight
Hand to hand
Tip to tip and
grip to grip.
796 paper babbies
Your child.
My child.
Skeletal then.
Skeletal now.
Our babies.



About lineatatime

Dublin born and raised, Mari returned to Ireland with her husband and daughter in 2008, after living in the USA since the early ’80s. A former journalist, ombudsman and newsroom administrator she now lives in Mayo. Following the death of her mother by elder abuse in 2010, she often writes about the failures of Irish systems in protecting her mother and also herself as a victim of crimes in her mother’s estate. She writes frequently about oppression, elder abuse and domestic violence– in the forms of poetry, fiction and non fiction in the hopes it will help shine the light on Ireland’s shame.
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